A “green” lament

As someone who considers herself an environmentalist, I’m upset with the trendy and liberal use of the term “green” these days. There are “green” builders and building materials, “green” realtors to sell real estate in an “environmentally responsible” way, “green” events, “green” products for the home etc. This is all well and good, except when the term is used to whitewash or disguise an otherwise environmentally insensitive product or approach. Case in point: A “green” builder recently cut down a 100-year-old poplar tree in my neighborhood.

Since I’m not a builder, I may be mistaken in thinking that the “green” builder could have done something more environmentally sensitive than whacking down this ancient giant that had stood sentry over our neighborhood all this time.

Shouldn’t we have laws that restrict cutting trees down that are this old? I guess that’s like asking, “Shouldn’t we have height restrictions for new construction downtown?” Maybe cutting the tree down was necessary, even though—from my uninformed perspective—that tree sat at the corner of the lot and didn’t seem to interfere in the building site. Is it impossible to navigate around such neighborhood treasures? How “green” is hacking down such a grand specimen of nature in order to put up yet another house, however “green” its components might be?

We’ve all recently witnessed the outpouring of concern for the magnolia tree downtown that became the symbol of town politics gone bad. I’m glad that tree had such an outpouring of support that, for now at least, has helped it to remain standing. I only wish that there’d have been someone standing guard and protecting that poplar tree whose life ended so unceremoniously at the hands of “green” builders who are somehow making our world a better and “greener” place.

— Virginia Bower

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One thought on “A “green” lament

  1. dave


    Without more specifics to your case, it is quite hard to say if this was “necessary”. It is doubtful that the builder in question would go out of his or her way to cut down a tree that didnt need to be cut down. Common sense tells me it was probably required for practicality purposes-perhaps for moving materials onto the site.

    Although your point about Greenwashing is quite valid, your specifics about this particular instance are far to vague to make the kind of generalization you are making. Obviously, you are not a commercial home builder.

    Why not just ask the guy in person what his motives were? Or is that too neighborly to do?

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