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If only the trees could speak

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
November 29, 2007


Echoes of the Lorax are reverberating through San Diego County. In the rapid rush of overdevelopment, ongoing assaults on mature urban trees is cause for alarm, as is the lack of environmental understanding and stewardship on the part of elected officials and municipal planners.

Made ever more obvious by recent wildfires, the relationship between humans and the natural habitat that surrounds them is a symbiotic one. Science based stewardship is the only ethical choice, yet it is the one our culture refuses to make.

Call me a tree hugger but I can't fathom how people can so coldly cut and and kill trees, discarding their carcasses as if they weren't living breathing things. Being living breathing things, other living breathing things find worth in their existence. Trees are neighbors and often considered friends. Yet they have no right to exist in the eyes of the law. The have no rights and thereby no voice.

If only trees could speak.

The City of Encinitas, the community of Leucadia in particular, is currently being plagued by a terminal case of bureaucratic blight. Along Coast Highway 101 the canopy is being slowly removed. As of this writing Encinitas lacks comprehensive urban landscaping policy regarding mature trees and civic landscaping. Disappearing trees coupled with the dead zone maintained along the North County Transit District (NCTD) rail corridor alter the very nature of the fully established community.

Justified in their outrage, Leucadians are fighting mad. Encinitas Council member, and NCTD board member, Jerome Stocks has a lot to answer for during his attempt at re-election.

In Vista, street trees, and the care thereof, are now the center of debate. Absent from that discussion is ecological wisdom and restoration, although the opportunity is there. The science is there is as well. But like Encinitas, city government is unwilling to do right by the environment. Del Mar has ordinances in place to protect Torrey Pines from view challenged development. That such is even necessary is depressing.

The changing face of human habitat is as reckless as it is wrong. Anthropocentric arrogance and ecological apathy continue to destroy California's natural heritage in the name of comfort and convenience, as coastal communities are clear-cut to accommodate more development, more people and more traffic.

The native species perfectly suited for the parched climatic conditions of Southern California have never been in fashion with the human inhabitants of Scam Diego County. Flora and fauna species are pushed ever closer to the brink with little regard. Elected officials only compound the problem through inaction.

Residents of Southern California must come to terms with living in a coastal sage scrub habitat short on water and long on drought. What and why we plant is now more important than ever. And it is times we demand environmental stewardship o from ourselves and from the the officials given the responsibility to lead.

I'm sure if tress could speak, and people were willing to listen, they would ask only for sunlight, and little bit of water, and a chance to live among us unmolested until weather or old age took them.

If only trees could speak.

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