Dear Mr. Paulson, Re Your Recent NY Times Op-Ed about Mass Extinction

10/4/21  Dear Mr. Paulson,  You arguably are one of the most powerful, famous, and networked men in the world, with many important accomplishments. I am the completely ordinary, middle class, volunteer steward of 53 acres of publicly owned, remnant floodplain woodland situated on the banks of the Des Plaines River. Based on your eponymously named Institute’s website, you apparently spend much of your time as a “thought leader” working to somehow combine free-market growth with the urgent necessity to mitigate carbon emissions and save biodiversity, while I spend many days studying, thinking about, and working, hands-on, to protect and increase the biodiversity of this small patch of actual land. For example, this very morning, before breakfast, before I was aware of your op-ed in the New York Times discussing solutions to the epochal, mass extinction event humanity is causing, I read a report about the likely effects of climate change in Illinois, including the poor adaptation prospec

Children Need Trees and Shrubs, Too

My brother told me this sad story: He is selling his house, which has in back a patio, a strip of grass, and a small wooded area with native flowers and bushes, paths, and places to sit. A prospective buyer came through and liked the house, but she was worried. Where would her children play? She discussed cutting down the trees, including some young oaks, in order to put up a swing set and gym. He tried to explain the value of a small natural area for wildlife and humans (reconciliation ecology in action). Children need nature, and what better place to find it than the back yard?

Trying to sell a house in this economy is sad, or certainly difficult enough, but my brother and I shook our heads over this prospective buyer's truly sad lack of imagination. Had her children been along she might have been surprised at their reaction to the backyard--most likely it would have been incredibly positive. My brother was relieved not to be selling to her.

Comments

Gloria said…
I hope he finds a buyer willing to allow the trees to stay. We have found that the grand children find much to interest them in our gardens with no open space large enough for playing ball.
I think he will, most people would value trees, I should think. Wild backyards are where many children first get imprinted by nature. Of course, then they grow up to be nature lovers :)

Hope this happens to your grandkids.
knapperbill said…
Hi Adrian. I think you make a valid point here about kids and nature. I'm an elementary educator, and it seems as if kids become more separated from nature every year. I hold outdoor education summer classes, and am always impressed with their natural inclination to begin climbing trees. They just simply need to get outside! Great blog, by the way. You have many thought provoking topics. Love it!