Fighting the East Bay Clear-Cutting of 450,000 Trees

Nearly half a million trees are likely to be felled in Berkeley and the East Bay Hills of the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s an extremely destructive project planned. The land managers sought Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding for this project, and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was published. We wrote about this project HERE. The good news is that people responded: There were around 13,000 comments on the draft EIS. The bad news is that the Final EIS, released recently, still plans to destroy hundreds of thousands of trees, increase fire hazard, destabilize slopes, and use huge amounts of herbicide. It will be a disaster for the environment and for wildlife habitat.

People are fighting back to save the trees and the environment. As TreeSpirit says on their website, “Can you even imagine 450,000 trees being cut down?”

THREE WAYS TO FIGHT BACK

We are aware of three separate initiatives, and we urge you to give them your support.

HCN Save the East Bay Hills Trees sm1) The Hills Conservation Network (HCN) is raising funds to take legal action. They are a registered charity, a 501(c)3 organization, and have been fighting this battle from the start. They have a GoFundMe page where you can help by contributing toward the legal fund. Here’s the link: http://www.gofundme.com/SaveEastBayTrees

2) SaveEastBayHills has a website about this project saveeastbayhills.org where you can go to the ‘Take Action’ page to which details about what you can do to write to the decision makers to protest this project.  SaveEastBayHills is led by Nathan Winograd, who also cares about animals and has been a force in working for no-kill shelters.

Treespirit fundraiser to save east bay trees sm3) TreeSpirit Project is working to get the word out, because most people still don’t know what’s about to happen. An informed public is going to be crucial to stopping this horrible project. They’re raising funds for publicity. Here’s a link to the page describing what’s happening, and a planned photo shoot. http://treespiritproject.com/sfbayclearcut/

They also have a GoFundMe fundraiser going on: http://www.gofundme.com/SFBayClearcut

TreeSpirit Project is the work of photographer Jack Gescheidt, who creates beautiful pictures of unclothed people (all volunteers) in forests to draw attention to the vulnerability of trees. (HERE’s an example from Sutro Forest.)

TreeSpirit Project has the support of Kevin Danaher of Global Exchange, who wrote on his Facebook page: “If people knew the huge numbers of trees to be killed, they’d not stand for it, and so the numbers are not revealed, nor discussed. Several citizens groups, including my friend Jack Gescheidt’s TreeSpirit Project, have uncovered and now disseminate these mind-boggling numbers. We kindly urge you to, also!”

WHAT YOU CAN DO

There isn’t much time to save these trees; felling is planned to start this fall. It’s a disaster in the making, and all based on an unreasonable prejudice against eucalyptus and a large number of myths that have been propagated.  Please do what you can:
1) Make a contribution as you can to the HCN legal fund and the TreeSpirit Project publicity fund;
2) Write to the decision-makers listed HERE, protesting the project: http://www.saveeastbayhills.org/take-action.html
Thank you to all our readers for their involvement. Without your help, thousands of trees would already be felled.
[Webmaster: This article has been updated to correct some information.]
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4 Responses to Fighting the East Bay Clear-Cutting of 450,000 Trees

  1. Why in hell is there any reason to destroy these trees that have probably stood longer than most of us. This is disgusting to see the rape. Who is going to get rich if this proceeds.

  2. One of the main reasons this deforestation plan has gotten so close to happening is: the majority of East Bay and Bay Area residents don’t know the HUGE NUMBERS of trees involved. If they did, they would either be shocked, outraged, or AT LEAST QUESTION the necessity of it. Which leads directly into the myths and exaggerations about eucalyptus being any more “dangerous” than other trees – and the community conversation thus begins. So spread the word, everyone, and esp. the 450,000 trees number, so we can save this huge amount of our precious urban forests for future generations, for our children, for wildlife, for global cooling, for Bay Area cooling, for ourselves. – Jack Gescheidt, Founder, The TreeSpirit Project

  3. Apart from a lawsuit…nothing less than demonstrations in front of the Oakland mayor’s office, the East Bay Regional Park District’s office, and the home of the President of UC Berkeley, will be sufficient. Petitions and letters have their place, but the park “managers” and the elected officials have chosen to ignore the pleas of 13,000 East Bay residents. What we are faced with on one level is hubris, if not corruption rising out of vested interests. But on another level, it is more dastardly than that: For to kill the life of half-a-million trees–trees that work for us silently, patiently and fearlessly, every day of their lives–is Genocide. It is time to take to the streets!

  4. Pingback: War on Nature in the SF Bay Area | San Francisco Forest Alliance