A huge area around the Augusta exit 109 and far beyond was brutally and expeditiously clear-cut in the spring. Truckload after truckload of mature, healthy trees were hauled away. Eventually, the public was informed by the Department of Transportation that this operation was necessary to ensure safety on the highway i.e. from crossing wildlife and breaking tree limbs during winter storms. I call this “operation overkill.”

Obviously, no thought was given to an alternative, less-destructive measure, most likely because cost and time were of the essence. Alternative landscaping hasn’t been given any thought either. Vast areas of exposed dirt are now overgrown with hip-high weeds, like a dump site. Is this the proposed “butterfly garden”?

These newly created open spaces are a most unattractive entry to our state capital and other towns. Not only should every bit of the uniquely beautiful Maine landscape be preserved, every tree should be seen as an important carbon filtering screen. In fact, the goal, even in this seemingly green state, should be reforestation and not clearcutting.

Climate change is for real, but only the youth worldwide seems to “get it.” With their movement “Fridays for Future” they are trying to rouse the adult world and governments into making climate change a priority and to take real and long overdue action. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year old Swedish climate activist, recently addressed Congress urgently and sternly with the scientific facts of climate change and the appeal to stop the talk and start to act in protecting the environment for future generations. Are people in Augusta paying attention?

Unlike other parts of the world, here in Maine we have been spared forest fires and catastrophic weather events. Let’s be grateful and let’s preserve what we still have at all cost.


Christ Stewart


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