Friday, March 26, 2010

David vs. Goliath Battle for 100 year old Palms

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This fall i moved into a new neighborhood in Pacifica called Vallemar and we absolutely love it- especially the gorgeous large trees that line the neighborhood streets. So it was quite upsetting to hear a couple months back that PG&E was going to cut down up to 11 trees immediately due to issues with the power lines.

Of course the trees were there before the utility poles were put up by PG&E in 1950s, and although there are not as many as there used to be they are still core to the community identity so a good old David vs. Goliath battle to save these 100 year old Canary Palms as begun:

And i hope you can join us in the battle either by:
  • Giving a Tax deductible donation that will be used to relocate utility poles, avoiding the palm tree removal [would $ have helped David in his battle i wonder??]
  • Showing up this Palm Sunday [how appropriate!] from 12-2pm at the corner of Reina del Mar and Nataqua in Pacifica, where kids and adults will gather, collecting donations of books and money for the cause

From a Community announcement by Elizabeth Sendil :
This Sunday, March 28th, in a David vs. Goliath face-off, a group of children and concerned citizens will be gathering in a Pacifica, California neighborhood for a book recycling and fundraising effort to save 11 century old palm trees from being cut down by PG&E. Kids 4 Change, a non-profit children's group which performs charitable services and funding, voted unanimously to make saving the palms their current cause. They will be rallying Sunday with other children and adults to raise awareness about the fate of the trees they love.

The trees, Canary Island Palms, were planted in this urban forest, circa 1906, more than 50 years before the city was incorporated. Stunning in appearance with large fronds that drape majestically from the crown, the trees are threatened not by disease but by poor urban planning. Though they are only one third of the way through their estimated 300 year lifespan, on Tuesday night, Pacifica's Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission voted to allow PG&E to kill the first 3 of these trees because the city does not have the money to move the utility poles or underground the wires which are at risk of becoming a safety hazard. The core issue is that the trees have now grown close enough to PG&E's high voltage lines to present a fire and electrocution hazard. Citizens have argued that this was a foreseeable consequence of placing lines directly above these trees, which have, naturally, grown taller. As of now, PG&E is not willing to fund environmentally friendly solutions such as redirecting lines, extending poles, or undergrounding the wires.

In the past 50 years, hundreds of trees have been removed from the rarefied tree-laden neighborhood of Vallemar, many of which were sick, or at the end of their lifespans. Now the remaining healthy palms are at risk only because PG&E placed power lines directly in their line of growth, and the severe trimming required would kill them. Concerned citizens and Kids 4 Change are now joining with a local non-profit, the Vallemar Conservators, which has been working for decades to save and replace the lost grandeur, has been working hard to raise awareness of this situation in hopes of finding a solution other than removal of the trees.

Anyone who is interested in tree conservation is invited to join Kids 4 Change and the Conservators on Palm Sunday, March 28, for the kick-off event, from 12-2pm at the corner of Reina del Mar and Nataqua in Pacifica, where kids and adults will gather, collecting donations of books and money for the cause. The book sale will take place on April 17th, in the same neighborhood, and all proceeds will go towards saving the trees.

To learn more about the palm crisis go to And to donate or learn more about Kids 4 Change please visit their website All monies raised between now and April 17th will go to saving the palm trees.


Images|Wikipedia|David & Goliath, Caravaggio

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