Letter to the Editor: New Protective Tree Code Amendments needed NOW

Friday, October 15, 2021

To the Editor:

I am very concerned about the loss of tree canopy in Shoreline and the ultimate implications for our entire community. 

A hopeful event happened on October 7, 2021 when a dedicated group of Shoreline residents presented new protective tree code amendments to the Shoreline Planning Commissioners.

First a wakeup call. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2021 report is available for all to read. “The IPCC's climate change report is 'code red for humanity,'” says UN secretary-general. Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg states, “The climate crisis is not going away. It’s only escalating, and it’s only growing more intense by the hour.”

We are in serious trouble. We need visionary policymakers—it’s no longer business as usual with current city codes for trees, sidewalks, and buildings.

Our cities faced unprecedented heatwaves last summer that caused 112 deaths in our state. Vital information on importance of trees to lessen heatwave impacts and heat-island effects had previously been sent to Shoreline city staff. Instead of rallying behind the best science, Shoreline city staff denied most of these new tree code recommendations that save trees.

The Planning Commission has the opportunity to change the trajectory the city staff continues to pursue for Shoreline that allows far too many trees to be destroyed for development. 

The Planning Commissioners can be the visionary policy makers who do not ignore implications of climate emergency and advocate tree codes and design that incorporates existing tree habitat into the landscape of a building project; these commissioners could advise against the continued destruction of our trees in such an ignorant hubristic manner. 

Trees and development can coexist with informed leadership to guide the way. The new tree code amendments are so needed now to protect our climate fighting heroes – our significant and mature trees.

Nancy Morris


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