Public Comment

New: Trees are the Symbol of Our Urban Commons - No clear cutting

By Yolanda Huang
Tuesday June 11, 2013 - 03:51:00 PM

I am an avowed tree hugger. Just yesterday, I walked by the most magnificent tree in my neighborhood, an elm, robust, thriving and huge, growing out of a narrow sidewalk on Telegraph Avenue, near the Oakland border. And as I walked by, I spontaneously leaned against it and hugged it. And the strangers walking by all smiled at me, broad, joyful smiles. 

This is the power of trees. And in reading both the NY Times commentary, ( quoting the Carl Pope’s piece in the Huffington Post, on trees and urban unrest across the globe, I acknowledge that trees are the symbol of our natural heritage, what we all share, the commons. And the natural, organic commons is so precious, and so limited, especially in urban settings. 

This is why the proposal by UC Berkeley, The East Bay Regional Parks, and the City of Oakland to clear cut 60,000 trees in the East Bay Hills, is provoking such outrage. And this also reflects my deep disappointment at the drivel which Norman LaForce published allegedly on behalf of the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society and the Native Plant Society, which in minced words, supports the clear cut. The official silence from these 3 organizations has been deafening. Who are their major donors? 

We teach children in schools, that trees are the lungs of our planet. We learn that the temperature in Los Angeles dropped 15 degrees with the planting of the orange groves, and then rose again when the oranges were ripped out. We see the great horned owls nesting in the eucalyptus in Claremont Canyon. 

I love the words that one person stated at the FEMA hearing on the EIS. Amnesty and legalization for the undocumented immigrants! Eucalyptus are less of the intruder and illegal than most of us. Eucs have been here for 150 years. The animals have adopted eucs as their homes. Wise fire management is not the same as wholesale destruction and a scorched earth policy.  

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