Tuesday, February 9, 2010


27 stumps

I've been haunted the last few days regarding the new development at UCLA. In life, we pick our battles to fight and this is one of mine.

In the name of development, 900 new student units, I counted 27 mature stumps sawn off today in the grounds outside Reuben's school at UCLA, this a university that prides itself on being forward thinking and environmentally responsive. I gave up counting after this, the job of photographing was too painful, but I understand that the number of destroyed trees is around 90. I gave up too counting the rings because when you reach 50, the full impact just weighs too heavy.

Why could they have not been saved and replanted. My subsequent wading through reports and speaking to the press officers only confirms that there's a 1:1 replacement project in place with fancy palm trees on the architectural sketches. What effect do palms have on offsetting greenhouses gases? Little. And if a tree is replaced with a sapling, the net number of trees still declines. I find this so atrocious in a city such as LA which is struggling to breathe, let alone in a century such as this.

Talking to one of the teachers afterwards, Reuben had been pointing to an area of the playground as if to say "Where are the trees?". This all happened whilst we were in intensive care for those 8 days and had I been there, I would have been hugging and trying to climb the trees to save them.

In our walks into Westwood Village past them every day, Callum would always sign "trees" and I'd sign "I say hello to the trees we see..." from Signing Time. I didn't have the heart to sing today.

I somehow wanted to preserve a bit and I've put aside a huge sewn off chunk with the view to collecting it tomorrow and having it made into a sculpture. Rarely have I felt such a heavy heart over a disastrous environmental impact so close to home. And why do I feel like a lone eco warrior right now?


Crystal M. said...

We are right there with you!! My oldest Alex even joined the enviormentalist club in high school next year. I is ALWAYS getting angry when a tree is cut down or when animals have to die to build something so useless.
Sorry about your trees and I can tell Reuben will be right there with you when he is older.
Crystal and Eva

Geraldine said...

I hate to say this as it's so sad to see graceful trees like this gone for ever but they make great photos. I often feel like this when people drive along our lane and chuck rubbish such as carpets, nappies, bags etc. out of the window, leaving others to pick it up. We did remove a carpet from the lane once, and were covered in fleas so not keen to repeat the exercise! The woodland animals eat and pick at the bags and suffer as a result. It's usually the work of gypsies, who have been thwarted from setting up camp on one of the many pretty fields along the lane and have decided to spoil the area for others. The farmers have had to place big boulders at the field entrances to stop them.

jennifer.jaxonsmom@gmail.com said...

WOW! These photos are gorgeous and really powerful.

I think you could draw some serious attention to this issue with these photographs... start with Los Angeles...? xoxo

jennifer.jaxonsmom@gmail.com said...

The middle shot looks like a broken heart! xo

Anonymous said...

You are not alone! The pics are powerful statements of how we treat God's creation. Living up north among majestic cedars my heart breaks when reading about such progress! Ever heard of old growth palm trees?

Kristina said...

I saw the 27 stumps tonight. It was the most depressing thing I've seen in quite a while. I can't imagine a reason good enough to destroy those trees. Those trees were there when I was born and I've seen them all throughout my life. I can't believe they're gone.