I recently read about the vandalism or "mischief" involving a gang of youth in Osborne spray painting residential trees. I'm not about to go on about the injustice to the homeowner who now has a gang logo or drawing of various body parts on his front lawn foliage. It's an awful crime - no questions asked - it's also the result of young kids with nothing better to do, and who have yet to develop the level of respect for nature you gain with age.
My house, for example, is actually built around a giant oak tree, which both my wife and I together can barely get our arms around. The tree owns the land as far as I'm concerned, and we're simply sharing the space. I'm a responsible adult, who takes great care in my yard, enjoying the countless hours on my patio enjoying drinks or playing guitar while watching the many creatures that inhabit the great oak. I am thankful for all the trees and cedars that surround my home, and I respect that the 5 years I've been in my home is a only a fraction of the time it took for the great oak to grow to what it is today.
Now... going back to my point earlier that the vandals are mere kids is important. Why? Because they really don't understand the consequence of their actions, or those that did were victims of teen peer pressure. What I can't understand, and who I think the true criminals are, are homeowners such as my new neighbour.
She moved in only a year ago, and did a number of beautiful renovations to the exterior of the house and yard. Then one day I see a crew of tree removers working in her yard to remove a giant fir that truly brought out the character in her plot of land. I proceeded to go next door to ask the reason for removing the tree, assuming it was diseased and a threat to her house. Nope... she just felt the yard would look better without the tree.
How can anyone feel that entitled to just cut down a tree that has been a part of the community for so many years, just for looks? Does she plan on living there for the next 60 years? - likely the life of the tree. To me, this is the true crime. I am never more proud of Winnipeg then when I fly over for business or pleasure and see the vast urban forest that makes up our city. There are countless benefits to having so many trees, and then idiots like my neighbour just cut them down because it MIGHT make their yard look better.
Trees are good Winnipeg. I hope that anyone reading this blog will take an extra moment to really consider the impact they'll have on their yard and community if considering removing a healthy tree from their yard. I'm not a tree hugger, I'm a tree lover. Oh, and if by some small chance my neighbour is reading this, or you think you're my neighbour because the story matches your actions, let me close by saying "killer!"