Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Acts of Eco-Terrorism

I guess it's fair to start off with an admission... I am a tree lover.

My heart makes a little lurch from sadness when wind blows a tree over or someone does something stupid and hits one with their car.  I can't help but think those shattered branches must be painful.  And it makes me unhappy when they get torn up for urban development.

Ok.  There are exceptions.  Notably these 3 trash trees that were so prolific in my yard and neighborhood back in Utah (and I'm sure other places, too, but I'm hoping not in Georgia!).  Most people called one of them either a Chinese Elm or a Siberian Elm.  I was told once that neither of those is correct but my hatred for that kind of tree is so strong I almost immediately forgot its right name.  This is the trash tree that drops those zillions of seeds in late spring that look like over-sized oatmeal.  And every blasted one of them that touches ground sprouts.  They can grow as much as 10 feet a year so within a single growing season you're dealing with a good sized tree.  Another one that was found very frequently in that area was called the Tree of Paradise.  It had big yellow cones of flowers in the spring that produced copious amounts of pollen that for many people that brought on allergies of a crippling scale.  And it smelled bad... not like something died bad, but very unpleasant.  It also dropped seeds that sprouted with extreme ease and grew quickly.  These sappling trees, when you tried to pull them, slipped their bark off all wet and slippery and they emitted that same foul odor.   The  other tree to garner my ire is a Box Elder more for the nasty, cannibalistic, red and black colored bugs it attracts en masse than for anything else.  These trees are some I'd be happy to live without in my world and I've happily hacked many of them down.

Does that make me an eco-terrorist?

I guess it's possible the answer to that question depends on your point of view.  The trees probably felt terrorized.  But I wasn't protesting anything... just getting rid of trash from the yard.

Eco-terrorism is not new.  For my whole life I've heard of rogue environmentalists turning animals in fur farms loose and driving huge metal spikes in pine trees to damage logging equipment.  It's dangerous and I don't advocate doing it any more than I like to see the devastation of clear cut deforestation following a logging operation.  But it's a fact of life that both have happened and in some places continue to happen to this day.  Man is hard on his environment.  Oftentimes much harder on it than is needful for the continued existence of humankind.

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I do have to admit, though, this is the first time I've seen this form of eco-terrorism:  illegally ripping up a piece of developed land to plant a tree.  And I don't support it either.  In all likelihood, that tree will be removed and destroyed and the road will be patched and life will go on.  All this activist will have accomplished is to waste the money to buy the tree, the time and effort to get it planted, the time, effort and wages of the city workers to remove it and patch the road.  And in the end, the tree is dead.

It's sad.  No one wins in this situation.  Or maybe that's the point... no one wins but it does get attention.

I think this is the most dangerous kind of eco-terrorism because it tugs so hard at the heart.  Part of me wants to applaud and hope the tree will stand as a monument of protest to urban sprawl but I just can't bring myself to encourage all the other idiots out there.

So I'm showing you and rambling on trying to say don't do stupid stuff.  There are better ways to make the world a better place and get your point across.   Get more creative and stay legal.

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