Loss of Trees and a Changed Landscape


As many of you may know, I live in Maryland.  I’ve lived in Maryland my entire life.  I was born here and I’ll most likely die here, if I have my way.  I’ve lived all over Maryland, from the remote areas in the north beyond Hagerstown, all the way down to Charles County and the lower countryside, and everywhere in between.  I’m less familiar with the eastern shore area, but that’s not really the point.

I can remember when much of Montgomery County was not as developed as it currently is.  I remember when there was more farmland–my grandparents were dairy and grain farmers and very big in the business of Montgomery County, and my father works in agriculture.  Maryland is my home, it’s in my blood and my heart.  This land speaks to me like no other ever has.  Although I have lived in Waldorf for only a few short years, I can even remember when that whole area as well was far less developed than it is now.

Now, when I drive up Ridge Road in Germantown or down Route 5 in Waldorf, I see great swaths of trees and forest area cut down for development.  Off Ridge Road, there is an entire new development of townhouses and single-family homes that are so squashed in next to each other I wonder how anyone feel like they can move.  Rows upon rows of houses, expensive houses, so completely unnecessary in the area.  And I can recall when all of that never existed.  When it was forest.  When it was farmland.  When crops would pop up during the summer and I would ride down the road and admire the way the sun would light the trees.

It’s still not finished.  Some development company is expanding on the first townhome division, and another is adding a new development a little further down the road.  It sickens me to drive that way now and see the trees gone, the dirt churned up and rearranged.  It serves as a stark reminder, to me at least, that humans are fundamentally flawed and stupid.

Waldorf, as well, is now facing the same sort of development.  I’m sure many people are happy for it, and praise these new buildings and houses that are “better” and “more economic” as advancements in developing the area.  But all I see are tall, grand trees that have stood for who knows how many years cut down and laying on the churned ground.  All I see is desolation and a waste.  And for what?  A new movie theater?  So Target can move into town?  So we can have yet another grocery store that we don’t need?

How can we possibly say that this is acceptable?  I can, to a certain degree, agree that housing is necessary.  Maybe not multi-million dollar houses that no one can really afford in this economy, but housing, yes.  That’s fine.  But do we really need huge developments of million dollar homes, or yet another shopping center?  We get so focused on making a dollar and on buying things and having things that we ignore the fact that we are destroying the environment around us.  We destroy the ecosystems that have been in place before we arrived.  With the loss of trees and plant life comes the loss of animal life, all of which creates an imbalance and harms us.  We are harming ourselves, in the end, and it can all start with the destruction of trees and the environment.

It is difficult for me to drive past those areas anymore and see how things have changed, see how the land has been changed, and not for the better.  All those houses packed so tightly into one space has created an influx of cars, which means increased pollution in the area, as well as an increase in traffic and trash.  Disgust and absolute shame in my kind overwhelms me when I pass those places.  Yes, shame.  Shame that I am a human and shame that we are so incredibly stupid to think that we can keep destroying the environment and still somehow turn out OK and make a profit.

Everything for a measly dollar, I suppose.

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