Woodinville needs a Lorax
I was shocked as I drove through downtown Woodinville past DeYoung Park. The mini but might evergreen forest was gone and only a few sentinel trees remained. My excitement at the news of the park’s planned revitalized was shatter by the fall of the trees. I never expected they would cut down those trees as part of the “revitalization.” Was there no other alternative? Why did I feel so dazed, sad, angry? Why should I care about a few trees chopped down amongst parking lots, roads, and roofs. Did I suffer from some green affliction or forest nostalgia? In fact, I was suffering from something only recently defined called “ecological grief” - grief felt in relation to experienced or anticipated ecological losses, including the loss of species, ecosystems, and meaningful landscapes due to acute or chronic environmental change.
There is some solace in knowing that what I was feeling was legitimate and shared by others that witness changes on the land and even in their home town. I’ve chosen to speak up about my grief to stimulate conversation among the community. I’m sorry I didn’t speak up sooner during the park’s planning stage and perhaps I could have spoken for the trees – what they mean to me, to my community, to my granddaughter who gazed up into their towering canopy. Those trees germinated long before Woodinville was a city. Perhaps, new trees will be planted in the park that will one day inspire my granddaughter’s granddaughter. But until then, let’s treasure the gems of our city, speak up about what we value, and limit ecological grief manifested in lost places, experiences, and culture. Let’s not hope for the best or make the best of it, but rather do our best to produce a community with desirable human-nature relationships that are our identity. And there is much work to be done.
Ronda Strauch, Woodinville