Re: “Beware, trees can leave cities exposed” (TNT editorial, 11/28)
When it comes to urban tree policy, the recent editorial about DuPont’s misfortune completely misses the point: We desperately need trees in our cities, for economic, social, and environmental reasons.
The editors’ fear-mongering headline—Beware—perpetuates the dangerous myth that trees are inherently risky. On the contrary, most conflicts between trees and other (built) infrastructure result from poor planning (as in DuPont’s case) or lack of maintenance and are therefore avoidable. Tacoma’s Urban Forest Manual explains how and where to plant, right down to choosing site-appropriate tree species.
Let’s be clear: Our true enemy isn’t trees, but rather the distinct lack of trees that has characterized the region in the decades since Weyerhaeuser—which you hilariously dub “a company of tree-planting experts”—began clear cutting old-growth forests in the name of progress. We pay for this lack of trees in many ways, including higher health costs resulting from poor air quality.
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Meanwhile, Tacoma has grown no closer to its much vaunted tree canopy goal while becoming a national leader in paving itself over. Radical changes in policy, investment, and public awareness are urgently required.
We can start by not blaming trees for our failure to value them appropriately.