Yesterday morning as I was waking up, my boyfriend Ken walked in, opened my window, and told me that it was 65 degrees and that the forecast said it would reach 75. This is great in terms of having a pleasant afternoon, but not in terms of what it indicates about global warming.
Within a few minutes, through the open window, I could hear the sound of a very large machine, punctuated by the occasional sound of a falling tree. There were already two large clear-cuts on our road, and I could tell this new logging was close. I took a walk.
The newly logged area is about 3,780 feet long and starts about 1,925 feet from our property. I measured it in my 5-foot paces and then multiplied by 5. When I showed up, about half the trees were still standing, in contour strips across the property. I got the tiniest smidgen of hope that the clear-cutters would log selectively, rather than clear-cut, and leave at least strips of trees, roughly on contour, thus helping natural forest regrow on the land and probably increasing its value in the meantime. As of this afternoon, about half the trees were still standing, and the machines were at rest. My smidgen of hope has grown into a sliver of hope.
Monday is the day we get a van-load of free pre-dumpstered produce from Relay Foods (things coming out of Relay’s inventory, that otherwise might have gone in a dumpster, had we not taken them.) So our neighbor and ex-Twin-Oaker Jim Adams was over to claim his share of the haul. Seeing my sadness, he suggested writing to the Central Virginian newspaper about how valuable it is to have a mostly wooded county, and that we shouldn’t give that up for a few peoples’ profits. And I plan to write such a letter. Jim inspired me to think that I am not powerless in the face of local clear-cutting.
But then another member inspired me more. He told me about the frequent willingness of East Wind, a community we’re affiliated with, to sometimes go into debt to acquire land adjoining their own. He pointed out that we could start a food forest project on a clear-cut piece of land.
The trouble with that idea is, we have very little savings, and we have debt related to our fire recovery. Twin Oaks, Living Energy Farm, and Sapling communities are also not in great financial situations; I certainly wouldn’t expect them to buy the land. So, unless we get both some unexpected financial support, and a good amount of enthusiasm from Acorn members, we can essentially conclude that existing commuities won’t be buying this newly logged land.
But what about our friends? Well, that’s why I’m writing this post.
I envisioned that the three clear-cuts on our road could one day, not too many decades from now, be owned by three groups aligned with our missions – they could be allied communities, or ex-communitarians, or community-minded families. They could be seed growers, chestnut orchardists, permaculturists, well-rounded homesteaders, or other farmers with an interest in sustainability.
Is this dream likely to become a reality? No. But some part of it might.