Here in the Bay Area, famed around the world for liberality and forward thinking, we have for years, been quietly conducting a fanatical witch-hunt. The target: trees. Yep, we have demonized trees, specifically the eucalyptus and her neighbors the pine and acacia. Now FEMA, UC Berkeley and the City of Oakland intend to purge our landscape of ALL these dangerous green criminals by clear-cutting and poisoning. And, oh, yes they do, just by the way, get $5.9 million dollars of federal money to play with in the process, which I’m sure has nothing to do with their motives.
The alleged tree crimes:
• “Causing” the 1991 Oakland Hills fire --- Wow! I’ve never actually seen a tree “cause” a fire. It would be interesting to see one do that.
• “Exploding when they catch fire” --- So will our houses, but I haven’t heard any plans to bulldoze all the houses in the area, although I suppose that might be a next step. You never know what innovative plans FEMA, UC Berkeley and Oakland might have to keep us “safe”.
• “Being non-native” --- Hmmm…. Exactly how long does it take to be a “native”? Some of these trees have been here for 100 years, which is far longer than most of us have been here. Apparently being “non-native” is only a problem for all other living things except ourselves?
Meanwhile the despised trees, not realizing that they are a serious threat to our well-being, have for generations, provided us with oxygen to breathe, shade from the sun, captured the fog in summer to water the dry land, held the hillsides in place in the wet winters and sheltered an abundance of wildlife. Oh, yeah, they are also beautiful and fragrant and a buffer against global warming.
But who cares? We must be “safe”, right? And these are just junk species, right? Who cares if the hills turn to deserts in the summer and mudslides in the winter? Who cares if the wildlife is killed in the process?
After all, we don’t have to see the suffering and dying of the birds and deer, so what is that to us? So what if it contributes to global-warming? So what if it is a little harder to breathe? So what if the poison drifts a little and kills a few pets or a few kids or a few weak old people? We can be happy that UC Berkeley and the City of Oakland got millions of our tax dollars.
We can rejoice that our parks and hillsides are dead zones of stumps, woodchips and poison and that we are “safe”. So who cares?