Some of the folks who are opposed to the use of pesticides in our public lands have written the following comment on the draft reassessment of blue gum eucalyptus by the California Invasive Plant Council. Their organization is named Communities United in Defense of Olmstead [CUIDO) for a 1999 Supreme Court decision which affirmed the rights of disabled Americans.
We are publishing their comment at their request and extending their invitation to our readers to sign their comment. The deadline for comments is due by July 31, 2014. They are planning to send their comment on July 29th. Please let them know if you would like to add your name and/or organization to their comment. Contact them at: email@example.com or 510-654-1366.
Our next two posts will make more suggestions for possible comments. So, our readers will have several options of topics to cover. And you are free to sign as many comments as you wish. It’s still a free country. Exercise your rights to free speech. That’s what makes them strong.
To: California Invasive Plant Council
Re: Public Comment, Draft Reassessment of E. globulus
July 29, 2014
We understand that you are now reassessing your listing of blue gum eucalyptus as an “invasive species” in California, and that you are inviting public comments.
We represent some of the thousands of people who live near and recreate in East Bay area parks and who vehemently oppose the massive removal of eucalyptus trees in our urban forests. These trees are not “invasive” as you yourselves have conceded; their population is stable. (“It is reasonable to conclude that there is no significant net change in cover statewide.”) Instead you now raise concerns about fire danger and water shortage as pretexts for continuing to scapegoat this species of tree.
Climate change is upon us, and deforestation (which contributes to climate change) in the name of mitigating fire and drought (which are exacerbated by climate change) makes no sense and is counterproductive. We observe every summer that these tall trees capture significant moisture from fog. We witness intense fires all over the west, mostly in areas that do not contain eucalyptus. The scapegoating of this species is a false solution to a very big problem. You are not seeing the forest for the trees.
Furthermore, as people with disabilities, including chemical sensitivity caused by exposure to pesticides, we object to the use of herbicides, which inevitably follow attempts to remove “invasive species.” We are alarmed by the recent dramatic increase in the application of poisonous pesticides to our public parks. This threatens our health and violates our right to access public spaces, a right which is guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Finally, as human beings who love the earth, we cannot allow to go unchallenged the hubris and ethical failings embedded in the idea that we humans have a right to destroy ecosystems. (If any species belongs on a list of “invasives,” it is homo sapiens!) Such destruction is the inevitable consequence of your decision to continue with this listing. The science does not justify keeping eucalyptus on your list of “invasive” species. It is rooted in xenophobic prejudice, and like all bigotry, will cause untold damage.
Communities United in Defense of Olmstead (CUIDO)
(contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-654-1366)
Additional organizational and individual supporters:
Update: On March 13, 2015, the California Invasive Plant Council published its final reassessment of Blue Gum Eucalyptus (available HERE). Cal-IPC has downgraded its rating of invasiveness and ecological impact from “moderate” to “limited.” Although the detailed assessment is less than perfect, the over all rating itself is an improvement. Thanks to those who sent comments to Cal-IPC.