Not us. Our neighbors.
I’m a stickler for hypocrisy. Really really hate it. Did I say really? And yeah, hate is a strong word but that’s how I feel about cutting down healthy mature trees which provide shade, natural cooling and wildlife habitat in order to expose more roof to install expensive solar so you can keep your air conditioner running constantly in an area that stays so cool most of the time it’s only two to three weeks out of the year that you might (note: might) wish you had air conditioning.
We make do, without any problem I might add, (our kids have never once complained of being hot) with shade trees and ceiling fans. And during those hot couple of weeks, which tend to occur in the late summer, I’ve learned to let in all the cool air early in the morning, then I close my double-pane sun-screened windows and my solar shades until evening. When the UPS man comes to the door, he always asks, “Are you sure you don’t have air conditioning?”
“Nope,” I say. “My house stays cool because of ‘best practices!’ (I don’t really say ‘best practices’ but the guy sitting next to me at the ballgame today kept talking to his daughter about ‘best practices’ so it’s on my mind. And it seems apt in this complaint.)
This is what I’ve noticed about my newest neighbors, as opposed to the old timers who’ve lived here for decades without air conditioning and with plenty ‘o’ trees– the newcomers drive Prius-es. The first thing they do when they move in is cut down every gorgeous mature tree on the property and install solar on their roofs and then, da-da-dum, an air conditioner. And they invariably have little dogs that, for some reason, they seem to feel can have the run of the two courts. Because they are little. And have little poops. For reasons unknown cleanup of said poops become our responsibility. (By ‘our’ I mean all the neighbors who are not allowing their big dogs to run wild through the two courts and poop in other yards.)
Oh, and because they have solar and drive Prius-es, they feel totally justified in buying the giantest ass RVs RV manufacturers manufacture, that get, on a good day, eight miles per gallon of gas. Even if it’s a family of two, they are driving around in this, like, mansion on twelve wheels. And because they have to park these giantest ass RVs on the side of the house, they have to rip out shrubs so they can cement over a giantest ass parking space. Thus increasing the heat reflection from their property even more.
Do you see where I’m going with this complaint?
It’s kind of like the way Leonardo DiCaprio drives a Prius AND flies in a private jet. Yet he is blind to the hypocrisy. The do as I say not as I do lifestyle.
Now, just so’s ya know, I have never bought into the whole global warming thing. As a student of history, I believe climate is cyclical on both large and small- local – scales due to factors we are only beginning to understand.
However, I do believe it is in our best interest as a world to be responsible about our energy usage. I’m not a fan of pollution in any form. I am also a major tree hugger. I love trees. They provide much more than shade. They provide spiritual solace, for one thing. Trees are people too, by god!
Our house sits on a 10,000 square foot lot. On that lot, we have, wait… counting… thirty trees, seven of which are redwoods- between sixty-five and seventy feet tall. Cutting down beautiful mature trees to install solar is like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Makes no sense. Now I can see the need for an air conditioner in Arizona and in the Midwest– I’ve lived in both places. But here? It’s chilly almost all the time. Unless, of course, you’ve cut down all your trees so the sun beats down upon your house all day long…