Gary Lee Yoder Remembered

Statement from the Sierra Club concerning tree cutting at Sutter

Sutter-Davis-treesThe following letter was emailed to the City Council, the Natural Resources Commission, and the Tree Commission this morning

Dear Council members and Commissioners -

The Sierra Club Yolano Group is aware of the current controversy surrounding the placement of solar photovoltaic panels in parking lots at Sutter Hospital. To be clear, the Yolano Group supports both solar electrical generation and trees and realizes that sometimes these interests will conflict and compete with each other with respect to land use.

For instance, we actively supported Yolo County's rapid expansion of ground-based solar PV systems but adamantly opposed their placement at Grasslands Park south of Davis on Mace Boulevard where it displaced a vernal pool and rare and endemic plants. We supported the deployment of wind turbines in southeastern Sutter County but opposed their placement in the Pacific Flyway near Clarksburg where their spinning blades could kill migrating and nesting birds. In each case there were acceptable alternative nearby locations where the alternative energy systems could be placed without adverse environmental impacts.

It appears that such an analysis of alternative placement sites for the PV panels at Sutter Hospital has not been performed and we support such a process to help ensure that the maximum environmental benefits of PV deployment are obtained. We understand that two city commissions are currently looking at this exact same question, the Tree Commission and the Natural Resources Commission, and that such a review will be completed and recommendations issued within just a few months.

The Davis community has numerous alternative energy and tree experts who can provide valuable input into these investigations for a measured deliberation which expertise should be fully utilized. We therefore request the Davis City Council defer final approval of the Sutter Hospital PV project until this Commission review, along with community input, is finalized and their final recommendations are issued.

Respectfully submitted,

Alan Pryor, Chair

Sierra Club Yolano Group


Nancy Price

“Should Trees Have Standing?
Here I wish to add to the discussion on process and decision-making on the tree cutting at Sutter Hospital.

In addition to eco-system functions such as absorbing CO2, providing species habitat, let’s consider that, actually, these trees have the inherent right to exist?

This legal concept was proposed in a seminal, path-breaking 1972 article by USC law professor Christopher Stone in “Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects” published in the Southern California Law Review where he taught at USC’s Gould School of Law for 50 years.

Stone argued that individuals or groups should be able to apply to the courts for legal guardianship and the right to litigate on nature’s behalf for which we are the guardians for present and future generations. Stone recently died in early May and was remembered in articles by so many working in environmental law.

I propose that in Stone’s honor, these trees should be protected and named the Christopher Stone Grove. Let’s create it as a more attractive place where people can rest, heal and restore themselves. Let’s relocate the solar panels.

You can learn more about the history and current status of the Rights of Nature movement and traditions of honoring and protecting Mother Earth by Indigenous cultures around the world at the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and learn where the rights of nature law has been applied to save trees, rivers, lakes and much more, including the "Rights of Nature" being written into constitutions.

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