Originally Posted: 2007-11-01 4:28pm
Open letter to Berkeley tree-sitters
Dear Berkeley tree-sitters,
Let me begin by stating that I like trees. Some of my best friends are trees and I generally support the peaceful coexistence of humans and trees. Similarly, I worry about carbon dioxide emissions and their impact on global climate. I also work on the UC Berkeley campus, and I often walk or ride along Piedmont Ave. on my way to or from work. Thus, I encounter your encampment on a near-daily basis. I see your slogans chalked on the sidewalks. I see your Tibetan prayer flags. I pass through clouds of your collective body odor and exhaled marijuana smoke. Having observed your actions for quite some time now, sometimes I wonder if you've ever considered just how much damage you're doing to legitimate pro-environment, pro-leftist movements everywhere.
Let us examine a few key points that may help you understand why your effort to save the oak grove manages to be futile, ridiculous, ignorant, destructive, and offensive all at the same time:
(1) Consider what you are fighting for.
How many trees does UC intend to destroy for its construction project? (Answer: 38). Is the coast live oak an endangered or threatened species? (Answer: No). Will the removal of these individual trees have any significant impact on the health of the overall population of the species? (Answer: No). Consider how many collective man-hours your campaign has devoted to saving these trees. Has it occurred to you that your time may be better spent focusing on (for example) the huge swaths of the Amazon that are cut down by loggers and developers every day? Are you choosing to protect 38 trees because you really think it is a significant, meaningful cause? I hope not--because that would be ignorant. It seems much more likely that you choose this battle because it is relatively convenient and riskless. Honestly--why don't you sac up and take on a *real* environmental offender?
(2) Consider your conduct.
Do you intend to win the hearts and minds of the people with catch-phrases like "Guantanamo Berkeley" chalked on the sidewalks? Do you really think you have anything in common with the prisoners currently incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay? Perhaps in a momentary flash of sobriety, one of you will realize just how offensive it is to draw a comparison between your fenced-in encampment and an actual prison.
(3) Consider the backlash of your actions.
You are the source and embodiment of all negative stereotypes that conservatives hold against liberals. If you're going to stage a protest, are you capable of doing it in a dignified, respectable manner? Hint: smoking drugs in the trees does not exude dignity. Also, consider periodic showers. Rather than winning popular support from pedestrians who encounter your encampment, you are actually contributing to their mistrust and ire toward environmentalists. Perhaps you are Republicans dressed up as hippies deliberately trying to damage public opinion of the left?
(4) Consider your hypocrisy.
Is that your 60's-era VW minibus parked next to the "Stop driving" message chalked on the sidewalk? Do you know what the gas-mileage on that thing is? (Answer: ~14-18 mpg) Have you considered investing in a catalytic converter? Perhaps you are also the same people who spray-paint "driving" on all the stop signs in Berkeley. Do you think your graffiti will trigger a massive, group epiphany in passing motorists and cause them to suddenly abandon the automobile as a mode of transportation? In reality, your graffiti (and your very presence) only detracts from the natural beauty of this campus and the surrounding town.
In summary, do not think for a moment that you exist under a shield of popular support. You are wasting your time on a futile, meaningless cause. If you're going continue living outdoors and imparting your naïve views on pedestrians, I suggest that you move your operation to People's Park (or perhaps the sidewalk of Shattuck Ave) where you can peacefully co-exist with the rest of Berkeley's hobos.
Go home. We're sick of you guys.
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