What does it teach kids to slaughter a grove of mature trees in a city whose urban forest is already in crisis? A city which will need a new generation to help fix serious environmental problems like cleaning up Puget Sound and dealing with cancer-causing pollution?
The Seattle School District is going ahead with the destruction of nearly 70 mature firs, cedars, and other trees for an Ingraham High School expansion. The move is an outrage, and the school district is foolish to act without consideration for the larger picture. We have to reverse development practices that have had such a damaging impact on the city's tree canopy. Get creative. Take it as a given that such groves should live on. Such cutting should be illegal.
The School District can cut the trees without permits. Mayor Greg Nickels has both presided over policies that have permitted too much tree destruction and has also moved to mitigate and reverse the damage caused. In this case, he is rightly unhappy with the district because their actions set back the city's own recovery efforts. They also set a terrible example for the private sector, which is a major culprit in Seattle's deforestation. According to a statement released by his office:
Mayor Greg Nickels is deeply disappointed in the decision by Seattle Public Schools to cut trees at Ingraham High School without further city review or public input. The school district should stay within the regulatory process and act in good faith. We expect good stewardship of our trees from all our residents and from the school district.
The district, of all entities, should recognize the importance of "good stewardship" and citizenship. Someone needs a remedial course in "Civics."