We love our parks. So why vote no on Measure FF, the continuation of a parcel tax to fund wildfire protection and restoration of “natural habitat”? According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, this tax funds cutting trees and pesticide use.
The University of California and the Claremont Canyon Conservancy plan to clear-cut trees in the East Bay Hills and spread harmful pesticides to prevent resprouts. They claim some of these trees are not native and should be removed from the environment to support native plants.
FEMA was stopped by a Hills Conservation Network lawsuit from funding a project to clear-cut and chip 50,000 eucalyptus trees in the East Bay Hills. We believe that FEMA was targeting non-native trees while asserting the project was wildfire protection. Funding from Measure FF would be distributed as follows: 22 percent for the wildfire plan and 30-40 percent for the “Natural Resource Related” category. We believe the project is problematically keeping species believed to have been here at an arbitrary point in time and eliminating newcomers.
We believe that species nativism segregates living things and natural processes with human-made borders. We believe it’s problematic to view species moving around the planet as unnatural and harmful.
Dense tree trunks don’t catch fire easily, but anything burns if a fire is hot enough. Removing tall trees that shade the forest floor from hot sun increases danger. Without trees as windbreaks, winds drive fire across flammable grasslands, as seen in every wildfire in the news.
It’s contradictory that this measure is planning to remove trees while worldwide people are planting trees to combat climate change. More than four decades ago, Kenyan climate justice advocate and Nobel laureate Wangarĩ Maathai focused the Green Belt Movement on reforestation and later inspired the creation of the United Nations’ Billion Trees Campaign. This year, China reassigned 60,000 soldiers to plant trees on a landmass the size of Ireland. NBC reported in August that “Pakistan plans to plant 10 billion trees to fight climate change.” National Geographic wrote, “India Plants 50 Million Trees in One Day, to help the country fight climate change.”
You can stop some of the destruction here by refusing to help fund it.
East Bay Pesticide Alert has opposed these dangerous plans and is part of the Coalition to Defend East Bay Forests. We support our parks, but along with the Alameda County Green Party and other groups listed in the official voter handbooks, we refuse to sell off our hills, residents and wildlife in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Join us in voting no on Measure FF!
Maxina Ventura is a chronic effects researcher for East Bay Pesticide Alert.