La Tree Hugger should be my chola name. I already have a fake chola name given to me by my friends but it doesn’t fit me as well as La Tree Hugger. By the way, until the night I got my fake chola name I didn’t know I had a special talent for anointing other people with well fitting chola names. I’m just as good as the Facebook quiz. You can take me up on it, invite me for a cocktail and I will christen you with a firme moniker in a barrio baptism.
But back to the point of this post, I love trees. And one of my main criticisms of some of my fellow Eastside neighbors is their need to cut down trees. Why all the tree hating vecinos?
Well they no longer have just me to contend with, The City of Los Angeles recently drafted a law allowing city inspectors to issue a $1,000 fine for anyone who illegally removes a street tree. Read more about it here.
I’m not too keen (una palabra muy fuerte) on legislating things into practice. I’d much rather people make decisions based on the common good and through critical thinking skills than on whether or not they will be doing something against the law.
Whenever I’ve seen a neighbor start to cut down a mature tree, I’ve gone over to ask why. (Yes, I can be metiche neighbor) The answers have been interesting. One neighbor told me a tree trimmer came by and told him the tree roots could be damaging his plumbing. The tree was a good ways away from the house and it was a Cypress tree which doesn’t have a large canopy and hence, less spreading roots. I figured the tree trimmer was just drumming up business. I must mention I’m being very generous in extending the term ‘tree trimmer’ to this guy. He was more like a tree butcher. By the way, the gorgeous mature Cypress he hacked in half never recovered from the sever trimming inflicted on it. It saddened me to think this tree lived for many generations and it was I who had to witness it’s demise.
This same neighbor cut down a large Queen Anne Palm tree, a healthy tree that occasionally dropped palm fronds. He said the fronds were too messy. Once the tree was cut down, the upstairs tenants apartment became unshaded and they promptly bought an air conditioner.
In my own family, there are members who love to take whacks at trees. The answers are usually the same: the leaves are too messy, the tree is ugly, rats live in them. I will admit there are very good reasons for removing mature trees but for the most part, I’ve come to see the hatred of trees as a psychological need for some men to conquer nature. I know this is a really broad statement and I say it half in jest but practically speaking it makes no sense to cut down many of the trees I’ve seen felled in my neighborhood. Trees not only shade your house, contribute to the neighborhood ecosystem, filter dirty city air but also add value to the price of your home. So if you know one of those people who don’t give a hoot about the environment, ecology or anyone else besides themselves perhaps the promise of future dollars can get them to put the chainsaw down.