We can drive the giantest ass RV, run our AC day and night, cut down all our two hundred year old trees, and let our dogs poop on your lawn ‘cuz we haz solar!

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!

My jungle.

My jungle.

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…

Ginormous maple tree.
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19 thoughts on “We can drive the giantest ass RV, run our AC day and night, cut down all our two hundred year old trees, and let our dogs poop on your lawn ‘cuz we haz solar!

    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Yes, Greta! You need AC. And if I needed AC I would figure out a way to use solar. When we moved in there was a solar collector on our roof. The first major earthquake we experienced totalled it, and the manufacturer/installer had gone out of business so the contraption was junked.

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  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    I hear you. Silly people. We had solar panels installed on our roof in 2004 – but had to cut down only one poplar on the south side of the house; we then planted dogwoods and other that don’t get too big. The back of the property has lots of big trees I planted 31 years ago (the builder managed to kill all the big trees (4) on the property by piling dirt on their roots – and didn’t have the decency to remove what were dead trees – we had to pay for that the next year.

    Passive is better – but NJ is horrible in the summer, hot and muggy for months on end. Thank goodness for AC. No RV, alas. No dogs, either – just one tiny chinchilla.

    Your neighbors sound like tools (is that the word I’m looking for?). It didn’t occur to them to ask why the house didn’t have AC already?

    You have REDWOODS. I am so jealous.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Yes, Alicia, you do get humidity on the East Coast. I’m sure I’d have air there too. But here? It’s so cool here 95% of the time! Yup. Redwoods! They love the morning fog. This neighborhood was a redwood forest long before they began building homes. It kills me when newcomers cut down these trees! The original builder saved all the redwoods.

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  2. Ray Plasse (@tddfn)

    Julia we see Global Warming in a different light…..BUT…….I know we agree on the pollution of our environment and the solution to (maybe) each is actually the same. Now as far as hypocrisy goes……………that may be a much more difficult problem to solve. 🙂

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      We do differ on our view of GW, Ray, however we agree on nasty pollution and the problem of over-fishing! Hypocrisy will never be solved.

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  3. Marylin Warner

    Brava, Julia! You are so right, and you made your point beautifully.
    We don’t have air conditioning either. For all but a few scattered weeks in Colorado, if we open all the windows very early in the morning, and then batten down the hatches before the heat begins, we’re fine. We finally did have to cut down a huge, ancient apple tree that died from fire blight. It broke our hearts; the tree had furnished red delicious apples for decades, shaded our deck, and caught balloons at every birthday party. We planted a northern red oak in its place, but we planted it not for ourselves but for another generation that will know its shade.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      I understand, Marylin- breaks my heart to have to cut down a tree. We’ve had to remove two because they became diseased. We replaced one. The other had always been too close to the house and it had become a danger so we decided not to replant. We have one alcove area outside the dining room that gets hit with micro-bursts. We’ve lost two trees there- had them sheared right off. Ten years ago we replanted with a short fat tree! The shorter and fatter the better in that particular locale!

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  4. Roberta

    I believe in protecting the environment. But we have to have common sense too. Cutting down beautiful trees for solar panels is one of the dumbest things I have ever heard of. But then…it is California. La La Land as I call it. And I used to live in CA so I have some first hand knowledge.

    I agree with you, Julia about the cyclic nature of the Universe. I do not believe in global warming. Globe was warming a dozen or so years ago. It is not now. Now the globe is cooling.

    The best article I have ever read about this topic is from The American Scholar, “What the Earth Knows ~ Understanding the concept of geologic time and some basic science can give a new perspective on climate change and the energy future.”

    It is a bit long, but easy to read.

    https://theamericanscholar.org/what-the-earth-knows/#.VWzVnVLpzUI

    You can get the same message by watching George Carlin’s bit on global warming.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Roberta– thanks! I would love to launch into all the reasons I do not believe in the current global warming crisis crap. But I am so politically incorrect! And I am an environmentalist and have been forever. The earth goes through warming and cooling cycles. Sometimes cycles last thousands of years, sometimes twenty-five. If one reads history, one realizes that the earth has been much warmer in recent times and much much colder. I always say, remember something as simple as The Calamitous Fourteenth Century and its cycle of global cooling!
      What most people, those who rely upon the popular press, don’t realize is that glacier retreat is normal, especially since glaciers had previously been at an all time (since glacial size had been recorded) high. And some glaciers are growing even now while others are retreating!
      How does one think the Andes mummies got up in the Andes, beneath the glaciers? The area was glacier free at the time!

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  5. Roberta

    EXACTLY, Julia!!!!!!!
    Rather than warming, we may be entering another mini-ice age. Most of North America used to be under a huge glacier – The Wisconsin Glacier. It covered a huge area starting from what is now modern day Canada, down through the Midwest and stopped about 30n miles south of Dayton, where I was born.

    You and I and many others still are environmentalists and still want to protect the earth even though we may not believe in global warming movement.

    There is also the year there was no summer. It was not due to either warming or cooling. I wrote about on my blog a few years ago.

    http://morethymethandough.com/the-year-without-a-summer/

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  6. Jaye

    I’m with you, Julia. My trees keep my house cool (that, and living at an altitude of over 7000 feet–oxygen is for sissies!). One of my pet peeves is lawns. The wasted energy and water it takes to maintain them in Colorado seems almost criminal to me. Xeriscape is the way to go–and wildlife loves it.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      I do appreciate natural landscaping, Jaye. We had a desert landscape in Phoenix. Loved my desert willow! In the back we now have Heavenly Greens. It works out well. People think fake grass isn’t a good idea but it was a great idea for us. And the funniest thing is the way the birds love it! Bugs stay on top – easy pickins – and they pull up the fake thatch to line their nests. We do have some grass in front. Doesn’t take much water to maintain. Otherwise we are California plants everywhere.
      With the drought I do miss the green parks though. The city isn’t watering any of the green spaces.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      I know, Alex! I’m always carrying three bags just in case! I’m so responsible with Jake. I don’t think it’s okay to either let your dog poop in my yard or run loose in the court. Yeah, we all drive pretty slow but on occasion a teenager will come roaring in and one of these little dogs will get injured or killed. Or they will bite someone who happens to walk through the court.

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