black saturday, Daily Prompt, humor

When is a tree not a tree?

What is the difference between someone who cares for the environment and a tree hugger?

When I was a teenager we lived in the country, it was only a small property and part of a larger estate. Not quite a gated community like movie stars live in but a community none the less. In our little community very few of us had fences, let alone gates.

The community was overseen by a body corporate, they collected fees for road maintenance, collected fees for skip bins (no council rubbish collection) and collected fees for and asked residents to go on a rotating roster for ensuring the water pump continually drew water from the creek.

Unfortunately to justify their existence they also did stupid things too. Things like tell residents what colour their tin sheds had to be painted, tell people how high their grass could be and insist every resident join in with the ‘beautification’ ideas.


Now we didn’t have a problem planting tree and keeping our property maintained however we did have a little bit of a problem with being told how to do it. When the ‘beautification’ committee told us they wanted to plant trees in every one’s nature strip (verges to some people) we didn’t complain, we thought it was a good idea. That was until they implemented their idea.

Our nature strip was about fifteen metres deep by about ninety meters wide and as a part of our fortnightly garden maintenance we’d take turns on the ride on mower. When it was announced that our nature strip like others would have an allocation of trees planted in it as a part of the beautification process we happily agreed.

Low and behold three weeks later our 15mx90m grassland has little plants in it. It looked good, until we worked out each plant was in fact a gum tree and there was TWENTY SEVEN of them planted. Where they got so many saplings is beyond us and of course our place wasn’t the only place that got such an overkill of trees planted.

When the idea of planting so many trees with the potential to grow well over 30 metres high so close together and so close to houses was brought up at the next body corporate meeting the ‘beautification’ committee could not see an issue with what they did. When it was pointed out to them that planting such large trees, on average three metres apart, the best they could offer anyone was “some might not survive to be fully grown.”


Well at least they got that bit right. Imagine their surprise when within a year our nature strip went from having twenty seven gum trees planted in it to three gum trees and about twenty shrubs. Sadly I don’t think they ever believed dad’s excuse that the kids ran over the sapling on the ride on lawn mower by accident but there was little they could do about it by then anyway.

In a sad twit of fate thirty years on when the worst bushfires since the 1930’s tore through the area the ‘beautification” committee had all moved on, all moved to city areas and all forgotten about what they left behind. Because they had moved on none of them got to see the devastation that planting so many gum tress so close to houses caused. None of them got to see how such a dense population of trees in such small areas fuel an already raging fire to the point of it becoming impossible to defend. And none of them got to see the number of houses that were lost because they insisted that the only way to beautify an area is to plant trees that can grow up to sixty meters high.

So the difference between someone who cares about the environment and a tree hugger is obviously that the later has a negative IQ and can’t see common sense because of it.

1 Comment

  1. Interesting read on the difference between someone who cares about the environment and a tree hugger. A good response to the prompt. I also responded to it and you may like to see mine. It’s now buried in many posts. Here is the link:

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