So Who Needs Trees?

Letter to the Journal News
(Original publication: September 12, 2005)

While driving in my car, I came upon a sight that immediately caused me to change my focus. Time stood still for a moment, and I was able to glimpse into a world that made my everyday thoughts and concerns less important. It was an ordinary sight, ordinary for Rockland. It was a deer with two fawns, munching away at someone's lawn.

This image was to me symbolic of nature and served to put things in perspective. The deer looked at me and felt justified in continuing to educate her young as to what shrubs were best to eat. Is that what they mean by "eminent domain?"

How incredible to know that 45 minutes from that moment I could be in the city and partake in a very different kind of experience. Knowing that I can return to Rockland makes the offerings of Manhattan all the more incredible.

What if I could not return? What if I stepped into a world without open spaces, without trees? What if like Rip Van Winkle, I fell asleep and woke up to a different world: a world dominated by developers and a population that would say "Who needs trees?" (This was actually voiced at a town board meeting.)

Would I then have to live in a barren desert or a land taken over by multi-family housing and adult-student housing?

Where would we be without trees? What would hold the earth from erosion; what would hold the water from running off; how would we know the wind was blowing; or the seasons changing; how would the landscapers earn any money?

We do need trees. We do need to respect nature and be aware of our responsibility to future generations.

People of Ramapo, please wake up before it is too late. Become a unified group, realize your strength and importance, exercise your right to vote.

Vote to keep what you have. Don't allow downzoning. Don't allow adult-student housing in residential areas such as the Patrick Farm.

The Patrick Farm represents nature and open spaces. How this area is developed will impact on future development in all areas of Ramapo. It is up to us, the taxpayers of Ramapo.

Sandra Solomon, Suffern