I Am The Lorax

I know it’s been a really long time since I’ve written again and I have tons of things I could tell you, but today’s blog is going to be a bit of a rant. I don’t normally go off on a rant, but the sight I saw today made me realize if I don’t raise my voice now, later it might be too late.

I was walking downtown today to pick up some necessities and the quickest way to get there from my apartment also happens to be the most scenic. There is a series of trails that run parallel to the railway lines that run through Brockville. I’ve always enjoyed this walk as it is wooded, shady, cool and you can usually spot a squirrel, rabbit or a raccoon if you’re lucky. The trees are filled with birds singing their songs of the day and all in all it’s a nice piece of the woods in the middle of a small town. The trail ends in a field just before one of our many Tim Hortons and just past an old rail way tunnel which over the years had been left to become run down and the old tracks flooded into a sort of reclaimed creek.

The only sketchy part of the path is an old abandoned building, the windows have long ago been smashed and boarded over, teenagers have tagged it with graffiti and the walls have started to cave in. The surrounding brush made it seem like the building was fenced off by nature, so to me it was less scary to pass it after sunset. Today when I got to this part of the trail I felt like something was horribly wrong.

It had been a long time since I had walked the trail, as it does get snowed in during the winter, but when I got to the abandoned building something seemed off. I slowed my pace trying to put my finger on it. ‘Was there a fence blocking this off before?’ I asked myself and instantly shook my head. That wasn’t it, but why did the building seem closer to the path and creepier than normal?  I shook off the ominous feeling I was getting and kept on walking. I just assumed because it had been so long since I had been on this trail that my mind was playing tricks on me.

As I reached the exit point I looked down towards the railway tunnel and spotted a short school bus parked in what I remembered was a flooded creek. ‘That bus shouldn’t be down there, why is there a school bus down there?’ My mind was racing to try to place what I was seeing into the big picture. I stopped dead in my tracks. ‘More importantly why can I see a school bus down there?!’ It was like a slow motion camera zoomed out as mind caught up to what my eyes were seeing. All the brush was gone and all the trees had been clear cut.

I was so upset I didn’t no whether to yell or cry. I marched along the new fence that had been erected,  towards a large wooden sign that I knew would tell me who had done this and why. Sure enough the sign said, “Ford Electric, Lighting The Railway Tunnel Project.”  By this time I had decided I was mad, so mad I was practically vibrating with anger. I had known the city was restoring the tunnel, they wanted to reopen it as part of Canada’s 150 celebration this summer. I am a strong supporter of restoring our heritage sites and building tourism, but I draw the line at devastating the environment for these reasons.

My favourite Dr. Seuss book is The Lorax, the story of a fictional creature who tries to warn against the dangers of clear cutting, pollution and harming the environment in general. Today I feel like The Lorax. I’m shouting at the top of my lungs hoping someone listens. I’m stamping my feet in indignation praying someone sees me and inquires why, this will give me a chance to educate them on the injustice that has been done. I’m mad and hurt that our city would make such a decision….in a world where every tree counts we are clear cutting to make things pretty.

I’m sure I will hear from my friend on city council and he will assure me the environmental impact was considered and that they will plant new trees and make it into a pretty park or something. Or that for every tree cut Ford Electric plants five new ones somewhere. These after math plans are moot. The trees and brush that have been cleared were at least 20 years old or older. New saplings won’t provide shelter to the animals and birds that called this area their home. Sure it’s only one section of the wooded trail, but it’s like the trail has a huge scar cut into its face now. We took natural beauty and destroyed it to suit our ideal image of a tourist attraction.

“I am The Lorax, I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.” Dr. Seuss’ writing is soooo revelant today. If we don’t speak up when we see small attacks on our environment then how can we expect to defend the earth from larger pressing matters. Please feel free to comment and tell me what gets you passionate about the environment. As for this writer she is going to try and make a few council meetings and shed a few tears for the loss of some old friends…yes they may have been just trees…but those trees and I had history.
~ The Incidental Scribe

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