In 1970, Joni Mitchell released the timeless classic “Big Yellow Taxi,” with the famous words, “They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.”
TREE MURDER SONG: pic.twitter.com/UG2ZIwwuTK
— nathalie graham (@gramsofgnats) February 12, 2020
Fifty years later, a new and improved version made its debut at the Seattle City Council’s Land Use and Neighborhoods Committee, where a mob of tree-huggers sang their hearts out to implore officials to “pass the tree ordinance, now!”
Nathalie Graham posted a video of the group performing the “Tree Murder Song” during the public comment portion of Wednesday’s meeting.
“There’s an unwelcome sight in the neighborhood, a developer is being greedy,” a white hair woman led the chorus. “There’s a hole in the sky where a tree once stood.
“Such a lack of light and sound, all that’s left is bare money ground. A magnificent tree was murdered. The mighty dollar cut it down,” she continued.
The woman was flanked at the podium by a man and at least three other women, including one dressed in all green with fake foliage wrapped around her head. The group was reading and singing along from a sheet of lyrics, as were others in the audience who attended with large protest signs.
“There’s a hole in the sky where the tree once was, somebody’s making money,” the woman continued, flailing her arms to encourage the audience to stand during the performance.
“Stand up!” she barked and several complied as she carried on.
“There’s a hole in the sky where the tree once was, somebody’s making money,” the woman continued.
“Laws protect exceptional trees, but the city grants exemptions to these. Instead they reward the developer’s greed, and sanction the murder’s deeds.
“There’s a hole in the sky where the tree once was, somebody’s making money,” the chorus continued. “There’s a hole in the sky where the tree once was, somebody’s making money.
“No more leaves shimmering with gold and light. No more gentle shedding of rains. Nor tulip blossoms rustling in the winds, now nothing remains but that hole in the sky where the tree once was.
“Somebody’s making money,” the crowd went on. “There’s a hole in the sky where the tree once was, somebody’s making money.
“There’s a hole in the sky, in the sky, instead of a spreading canopy. There’s a hole in the sky, in the sky, instead of a 90-year-old tree. There’s a hole in the sky, in the sky, that tree did not belong to you or me.
“There’s a hole in the sky, where the tree should be.”
The Stranger elaborated on the “tree-hugging NIMBY fest in City Hall”:
The public comments were all about how critical it is to preserve Seattle’s tree canopy. People lamented about their oaks and cedars that were ripped out without their consent and how new buildings were put in their place. One woman called for a 24-hour tree crime hotline. While protecting trees sounds great, the tree argument is a way to stall new development. Obviously we want trees! One woman emphasized how protecting trees was the biggest way to combat climate change.
The comments and most of the meeting centered on a resolution to expand tree protections in the city. Essentially, the climate crusaders want to make it more difficult to remove a tree. The Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections recently launched its “Tree Protection Update,” but officials do not expect to conclude that process until December, at the earliest, The Stranger reports.
Washington State is among the most densely treed states in the country with an estimated 8.5 billion trees, not including the wide variety of fruit-bearing trees the state is known for, according to Quora.