June 06, 2011

Am I a tree hugger?


’ve always produced great consternation for those who have tried to pigeon-hole me. My more liberal-leaning friends consider me a right wing nutjob. My conservative friends think I’m a bleeding-heart liberal. My non-religious friends think I’m a religious fanatic. My fundamentalist Christian friends worry that am too accepting of different people’s lifestyle choices. This is nothing new. I don’t think I try to be a cause for consternation, but I am not willing to be false. If I think it—I’m likely to say so. If I feel it—it is likely to come out in some way.

So when our neo-conservative friends find out that Kim and I like trees and would prefer that they be left standing, they express shock and dismay. We have even seen friendships dissolve when we had the audacity to say that we liked the trees that blocked some of the view of such beautiful scenery as the highway or the black-top parking lot. Go figure.

But we have never experienced a neighbor who would go to these lengths to kill trees on our property. We’ve had landlords who would do it. Um, excuse me... We’ve had landlords who did it regularly. But the property belonged to them so their antipathy toward vegetation on the property was not truly our concern. But when this neighbor poisoned this woman’s tree, he reached a new low in un-neighborliness.

Read for yourself: Man accused of poisoning neighbor's tree through root on his property.


  1. Believers in the Creator should have an appropriate reverence for the work of His hands and, therefore, be the world's truest conservationists.

    The balance that keeps them from being the nut-job-radicals that come to my mind when someone says, "tree-hugger", is the biblical record which makes it abundantly clear that the plants and animals of creation are here for the benefit and enjoyment of the highest creature, man. They may be used but should never be abused.

    As a land-owner and steward I choose to leave (or plant) one tree for its aesthetics and cut another for firewood. I sometimes will thin a stand of trees for the benefit of animal life and the long-term health of the stand itself.

    Thanks for the great article, Rich. One thing I like about you is your independent thinking and individuality.

  2. Thanks. You've stated well the balance presented in the bible. Another layer that I usually add to what you've said when I discuss this with people is that I don't believe in government coercion in such matters. I don't think the government at any level should step in and demand that a land owner remove trees or retain trees. Sometimes there are reasons of community impact, but I think the government should be very careful when applying coercion that it is absolutely necessary. And in order to keep the human desire to control others under check, I would prefer that the government simply stay completely out of the loop and allow the land owner to retain or destroy trees on his property at his own desire. And he will have to live with the consequences of his own actions, which should prompt the land owner to choose to do the right and responsible thing.

    Thanks for commenting!

  3. You're not a tree hugger for two reasons. First and most importantly, a tree hugger will go to all sorts of lengths to prevent a property owner from cutting down his _own trees_, and you acknowledge the property owner's right to do this. Second, a tree hugger wants human beings not to build even necessary things like homes or apartments if it means disturbing the pristinity of nature, whereas your objection is to cutting down trees for lesser reasons.

  4. I don't know "Indwelt" personally, but he said the exact words I was thinking. Balance is key, and that balance is reflected in your life, Rich, in that you look at all angles and choose the one you think is best (or make your own). It's one of the things that makes you... you. And it is possible to be a conservationist without being a radical.

    (Way to go, Indwelt! Well said. Now please get out of my brain!) ;)

  5. My dear friend, A. Kay - Thank you for your kind encouragement. The fact that you and your husband have been friends of mine for so long means that you must be very strong and patient people. :-)

    And, by the way, you'd really like Indwelt. And if you were ever lost in the woods, he'd be the guy to show you how to survive.


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