Sunday, 6 July 2014
A good friend of mine lives in a rented house on a large suburban lot with many mature trees. The trees literally surround the house. They offer privacy from the other neighbours, they offer a windbreak from storms, they provide shelter from the sun during the summer and help keep the house cool. They provide a nesting area for many wild birds and squirrels and provide shelter from aerial predators.
However recently she said that her landlord paid her a visit and announced that he was going to have all the trees cut down, to be sold for the wood. Obviously the property is merely an "investment" for him: as soon as the city changes the zoning restrictions from small agricultural to residential multi dwellings, he plans to sell. He isn't interested in selling to a single family because apparently there's no money in that. He wants to sell to a developer who will give him top dollar and tear everything down. By removing the trees now, he's making more money in the end because he will not only get the money from the wood, but also more money from the developer who won't have to clear the property.
I don't consider myself a "tree-hugger" but I have absolutely no respect for people who cut down trees for no apparent reason. If a tree is diseased, dying, or in danger of falling, that's fine. However I've often wished I could cast a pox on anyone who is willing to destroy a mini ecosystem or knock down a perfectly good house on a large lot in order to build a McMansion or a condo tower; not to mention any public official who approves such projects. I've seen it happen too many times in the suburbs of my city: promises are made to preserve wooded areas for the benefit of the residents, and then suddenly the land has been sold for development without public consultation.
It's a real slap in the face for residents - present and future - and detrimental for the environment. All these people seem to care about is the almighty dollar and not the well being of the people and creatures that love the trees.
Update: The landlord followed through and had all the trees taken down, and now the property is a mess of torn-up ground and stumps. My friend plans to get some measure of "revenge" by turning the property into an urban farm/garden.