Letters to Seattle Met August 2014

Apologizing to future generations and the debate over the city’s trees.

August 1, 2014 Published in the August 2014 issue of Seattle Met

In the July issue, senior staff writer Kathryn Robinson penned an open letter for posterity (“To My Future Grandchild”), a mea culpa of the havoc we, as a civilization, have wreaked on the environment to the certain detriment of future earthlings. 

Inspired by the rhetorical approach, reader Dee Tezelli reached across the decades and generations with her own grim prognostications: “Don’t you wish your great, great grandmother also warned you of the ugly things that we’re coping with in 2014? Would it have helped if I knew that I could be assaulted by a mere child who wanted my smartphone or my purses? And perhaps even get killed for it? While we’re at it, I also want to warn my unborn grandchildren that by 2050 there will not be any small handcraft careers such as shoe or watch repair. Or there will not be a print book that they can turn pages to read. Changes of all kinds, environmental or cultural, are bound to happen. No warnings will stop them.”

Speaking of the environment, elsewhere in the bin, in response to a post on our politics blog, PubliCola, about the city’s disappearing tree canopies and the movement to address the problem, two activists sparred. Incredulous that “Seattle’s canopy has decreased from about 40 percent of the city’s land area in the 1980s to about 23 percent today,” urban planner David Sucher parried: “It’s absurd. Just think about it, if you can remember that far. It makes a better story to push certain policies but it is not based on facts.” Countered tree activist Steve Zemke: “The goal of no net canopy loss in the current comprehensive plan and getting to a 30 percent canopy cover for Seattle is what is currently proposed by 2037…. Not responding will certainly over time mean even fewer trees.”



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