The trees of Burnaby BC

Dear Trees of Burnaby,

I am writing to let you know how much appreciation and reverence I have for your long lives to date, for your ecosystem services to humans, and for your provision of the necessary habitat for lives other than those of humans. Since I was a preschool child, I have always had this reverence and gratitude for trees. When I was a child, there were three or four gigantic poplar trees in our yard. These balsam poplars were not just large trees: they were primeval growth. Poplars at least three meters around! I thought of them as my grandparents, and in the absence of my human grandparents they actually did serve the role of grandparents. I would no more have allowed my human grandparents to be cut down to make way for a linear pipeline than I would those trees, and by extension you, the trees of Burnaby. Trees, science informs us, and indigenous knowledge or science informs us, are alive. They aren’t just dead sticks. They ‘mother’ their young, they even mother and mentor those of other species, they communicate with one another. They will even keep sending nutrients to stumps. Trees can’t just be “removed” and “replaced” by some nursery sapling. This treatment of forests and trees as mere objects or in the case of a pipeline impediments has to stop. We can’t keep cutting older trees:

I am therefore 110% against cutting you trees in order to make way for more extraction of carbon dioxide. It is too late for more carbon release. We need to start living in the present and the future instead of the past.

Thank you for listening.

Dr. Pamela Banting

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