Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Redwood Logging and Consumption

One of the great things about living in Northern California and falling in love with the redwoods is the constant presence of logging trucks. All summer long, trucks filled with redwoods and other lumber (Doug firs?) can be seen driving around every main road in the area. Day in and day out, trees are being harvested somewhere in the county. What makes this scenario great in my mind, is that it's a constant reminder of why these trees are harvested in the first place. For me, it causes me to challenge long standing, and unquestioned behavior patterns in my own life. The main one being consumption. The trees are harvested because we the consumer continue to desire the wood, plain and simple.

To watch the cut redwoods delivered to the saw mill every day would be equivalent to watching trucks filled with granite leaving the Sierra. To watch mountaintops leveled every day and the granite used for some desired product somewhere. Maybe it would be like watching trucks filled with wildflowers leave the San Gabriel's, or the sandy soil slowly removed by big rigs over time. Maybe it would be like trucks filled with barrel cactus or Joshua Trees leaving the desert.

As long as the redwoods continue to grow, I suppose they have a fighting chance. In a game where a tree needs time to reach maturity, every time I see a logging truck drive down the road, I feel like the game has been "reset."  "We just have to wait another 500 years, we just have to wait another 500 years, we just have to wait another 500 years."

What would a world look like where all living things are allowed to reach not only maturity, but full unadulterated expression? I don't think we humans are capable of that right now. Heck, we can't even do that yet with our own children. I still would like to believe that such a world is possible.

Until then, I have to wonder where these redwood trees are going after the saw mill. The battle for survival is still strong. The forests are continuing to re-grow. Humans, as stewards of the earth, still have time to get it right I hope. By "getting it right," in my mind, is allowing the redwood forest to exist, mature, and express itself fully wherever and whenever it decides to grow.

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