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Score one for the Trees

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
August 23, 1999

 

As a champion of indigenous species, even I have to admit to a great deal of satisfaction with the news that a circle of Tipuana trees have been granted a stay of execution by the Carlsbad City Council. Realizing that these Bolivian natives add more to the neighborhood than the asphalt threatened by the trees, the residents of Carleen Circle have successfully presented their case for preserving their community's character.

Estimated at between 30 and 40 years old, this gathering of Tipuanas is older that some North County cities, therefore it only makes sense that they be given the respect they are due. Regardless of what professional tree trimers and city staff say, the role trees play in creating a community is vital, and differs in response to the community in which the trees grow. Large trees being deeply rooted in the American conscience, should be protected regardless of their place of origin.

I have no idea if native bird species have any use for a Tipuana tree, and I'm sure that is the furthest thing from the resident's minds, but that's another column. Considering that man is now able to alter life in numerable ways, would it hurt if human beings altered their way of life just enough for trees to freely root? In a world where the needs of other species are rarely considered, perhaps aesthetics will have to suffice for a reason for being.

With the preponderance of Sport Utility Vehicles and four wheel drive everything else, a few roots pushing up through the asphalt should not be a big deal. In fact these roots should be seen as natural speed bumps. If you are of the opinion that asphalt is the answer, I invite you to consider the fact that the civilizations responsible for our modern system thrived without this tar-like gravel substance.

Trees on the other hand are intricately linked to all human cultures, save perhaps those in the arctic. Aspen, Colorado; Joshua Tree, California, and Laurel, Florida are but a view cities that found their identity in a particular species. Oak Dale, Cedar Ridge, Pine Valley, Encinitas, Palo Alto, Palm Springs, Palm Beach, and countless others also set themselves among the trees. The trees importance is recognized.

In 640 AD, St. Eligius ordered "No one shall go to trees, or wells, or stones, or enclosures, or anywhere else except to God's church. The "enclosures" were circles of trees or stones, in which a natural shrine was kept. The Druidic faith of pre-Christian Europe centered their rituals within these groves, many of which were replaced with the temples of the invading Romans. Since this moment in world history western culture has actively sought to replace natural spaces with unnatural things.

Trees are the planets lungs, and at the rate we as a culture are adding automobiles and their resulting pollution, every tree should be seen as a life insurance policy. Granted it would be much better if the developer who had originally planted the Tipuana trees on Charleen Circle had truly understood the nature of the non-natives he was planting. But that is no longer relevant. What is relevant is that a group of residents have asked that twelve healthy tree be allowed to continue to contribute to their neighborhood.

Has anyone ever heard of a town named after asphalt or concrete? Has anybody lived in a town or city that took it's name from the latest compact car. If you have please write me, so that I might contact their Chamber of Commerce.

 
 
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