(As testimony to the Seattle City Council Feb '09)
Like many of us, I have friends who are afraid to admit they are tree-oholics. They like to consume trees,
and three trees more is well, just the happy hour special to them.
Now the City has been trying to control its tree-oholic problem for many years, passing laws codifying which are the cheap malt-Alder liquor trees,
what’s a fine Willow wine, and where on a plot map to find them.
And the Master Imbibers Association Chamber of Consumption all will tell you
that they would love to control their tree-oholism,
and that they are doing all they can to stop consuming so many trees,
but please don’t try to codify levels of consumption.
They are doing their best under the circumstances to control their consumptive behavior.
Now the current proposal will allow your typical homeowner up to 3 big tall boys a year, you know, consuming a couple of big-leaf maple malts
and a bottle of Big Red Cedar gratis,
you would think would be enough tree consumption for any homeowner each year.
And if a homeowner or builder wants to throw a big tree consumption party,
you only have to get a permit, and you can consume all the tree-ohol you want.
No restrictions, just get the permit saying, we can’t make a buck on this property unless
you let us consume all the tree-ohol because the trees are in the way of the party house.
The law does not actually force the developer to save trees in order to get any variances,
even to save even the biggest healthiest great-grandma heritage tree.
So, even the weakest of restrictions to codify our tree-oholic problems seems to threaten them.
We really don’t want to admit our consumption problem can be controlled with variances and incentives.
We don’t want to admit we have a tree-consumption problem at all.
You would think with all the problems from consuming too much tree-ohol,
Seattle’s toxic street runoff to streams killing Sammy the Salmon,
the loss of Woody the woodpecker’s homes in big diameter trees, and where is Betsy the backyard bird going to go with the elimination of Seattle’s tree canopy?
Will this law protect great ‘ol granddad Douglas the Fir? No, not really.
But it will make our tree-oholic friends look at their problem a bit more, while not actually stopping their behavior!