by Cat DiStasio Cat DiStasio
As appearing in The Detroit News
Before Europeans moved into the San Francisco Bay area, the region was mostly grasslands and scrub, with very few trees, except in sheltered valleys. Starting in the early 1800’s, non-native trees were brought in from other parts of California and from Australia and planted because of how well suited they were to the climate and conditions. The Sierra Club, an organization once known for its careful eco-stewardship, is now pushing for the destruction of some 450,000 non-native trees in the East Bay Hills area. The group claims in a lawsuit against the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that non-native trees are more flammable and pose a wildfire threat, but there has been a large public backlash. Now, a new petition is collecting signatures to urge the Sierra Club to drop the suit, and stop calling for the deforestation of thousands of acres of woodlands and the use of pesticides like glyphosate to eradicate non-native trees…
In the Sierra Club’s lawsuit against FEMA, the group is calling for the destruction of 100 percent of all non-native trees in the area. The project has already used harmful herbicides like glyphosate, which has been linked to cancer and autism in humans. The herbicides have destroyed many of the smaller non-native plants growing in the canopy’s shade, and now the Sierra Club believes that even more drastic measures are required to remove upwards of 450,000 trees as well.