For the second day in a row, I’m trying to work while listening to the sound of chainsaws and a wood chipping machine. New neighbors just moved in across the street, and the first big thing they’re doing is cutting down a huge amount of trees on the property. Young and old trees alike are being hauled down and chopped to bits.
The house across the street is perched on the edge of a 15-foot cliff next to a creek that roars with meltoff in the springtime. It’s a tall house with an old, thin foundation that’s built within the side of a gorge. Tree roots have helped to hold the slope together, and they will for a while longer, until they start to decompose. Then, the sunny soil will wash away, bit by bit, whenever it rains.
There’s the bigger problem of climate change as well. Global warming continues, despite hype intended to distract from the problem. Last month was the warmest March on record.
My children have been watching the destruction from the front porch, and they’ve asked me to do something to stop it. I have to tell them that I can’t stop them. Being neighborly means not saying anything when somebody does something legal-but-ugly. Besides, property rights trump the collective sense of our community’s value. We’ll have to look out at a bare, sun-bleached plot of wreckage.
So, what can we do? We can plant yet another tree on our own property, and we can support others who are working to plant trees elsewhere. Look at the following organizations if, like my family, you’re seeking to offset a neighbor’s anti-tree stupidity.