OPINION: Who looks out for old trees?

OPINION: It was an era where Australia was occupied with World War I, where our new government first adopted the Australian flag, and electricity was slowly being introduced to the country.

It was also around this time that a couple of young mango saplings started to grow in my street.

Last week I watched as these majestic trees were lopped, or removed, as the professionals called it.

I don't usually think of myself as an environmentalist or "greenie"' per se.

I eat meat and some of my clothes' fibre is far from natural, but witnessing over a century of history being removed within half an hour by man and his machines hurt my heart a little.

What hurt more were the older generations around me who were glad to see these trees removed because they "annoyed" them for one reason or another.

I was even told that "trees are one of our most sustainable resourses".

I straight away thought that was an obscure attitude to have; try telling that to the Amazon rainforest that is struggling to sustain itself after man has had his way with it.

I contacted council on the day to find out why these trees needed to be removed.

I found out that although the trees were mainly on council land, the amended legislation passed in 2006 states trees can be removed if they are within falling distance of houses or fences.

This legislation is in place to protect humans, I understand that, but unfortunately these trees were standing on undeveloped land, so it should have been a little more complicated than the quick decision that was made to remove them.

So it seems that after withstanding countless floods and numerous cyclones, the trees' final demise was by man and his need to develop.

I am all for progress, but surely there is a way to approach this without having to knock out whatever history that we have in our modern country?

I wasn't able to sleep that night. Not because of the streetlights that flooded through my bedroom window without the trees, but because the very act that removed these pieces of living history, is just so final.

I also wondered if the impact of their removal would be regretted, now they're gone?

The problem is, it's all a little too late, and it won't be until my children have grandchildren that trees of that size will be around again.

Unlike The Lorax who spoke for the trees in Dr Seuss's book, there seemed to be very few people who spoke for the trees that day, and those that did were seen as "tree huggers" or hippies.

Trish Hamilton is an author based in Hervey Bay



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