Ancient Tree Blocks Rush Hour Traffic in Protest of Rising CO2 Levels

Photo by Alex Pio

By Alex Pio

Portland, OR — A century-old Elm tree uprooted itself in protest during the evening rush hour, blocking the entirety of SW Jefferson Street.  The tree was quoted in mid-fall, saying,

“Occupy Portland has inspired me to carry out this act of civil disobedience to raise awareness of the current climate crisis and the everyday things we all do to make it worse — such as driving. We all need to re-evaluate our habits and request that our governments do the same to reach definitive agreements at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development this June.”

Its last words were followed shortly by a loud thud.

According to the Oregonian, “Police set up roadblocks at Southwest Jefferson and Broadway to keep the area clear of traffic, but traffic was backed up for several blocks.”  However, the Oregonian failed to mention the motives behind this dramatic uprooting.

Said The Lorax, spokesperson for the Elm,

“It’s come down to pulling stunts like this
To raise awareness about the global climate crisis
And even then,
The corporate-owned mainstream media neglects to cover the actual story
And that’s a big worry.”

Worldwide, motor vehicles currently emit well over 900 million metric tons of CO2 each year, with the United States responsible for nearly half of the world’s automotive carbon dioxide.

Occupy Portland is planning a series of environment-related events for the month of April, starting off with a Tour of Portland’s Worst Environmental Offenders this Saturday, and culminating in Earth Day celebrations.

This nonviolent direct-action was not approved nor endorsed by Occupy Portland, however members agree that it was carried out in #solidarity with the goals of the movement.

  8 comments for “Ancient Tree Blocks Rush Hour Traffic in Protest of Rising CO2 Levels

  1. Illona
    March 21, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Apparently Mother Nature just began some serious protesting. 10 Hours ago THIS happened. http://news.yahoo.com/video/us-15749625/loose-boulder-cuts-path-of-destruction-through-ohio-city-28685001.html

    –apologies for the forced advertisement–

  2. Sasha Barnum
    March 21, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Great reporting guys! Glad to see at least someone has the story right. I just wrote Kate Mather of the Oregonian this strongly worded email, hopefully she’ll get her act together and get the story right next time:

    Dear Ms. Mather,

    While I respect your professionalism I must say I’ve been increasingly concerned about the lack of accuracy in your articles over the past few months. At first I attributed it to coincidental mistakes, however their consistency is worrying.

    Your fallen tree article is a good example of this. While not factually inaccurate, it neglects a large and important part of the story, instead choosing to focus on the sensationalist elements of it ‘almost hitting a woman’. And this is often the case when covering Occupy-related events.

    I urge you to please ensure to include all aspects of the story. Its really kind of embarrassing that a new, independent blog covered this story better than Oregon’s premier newspaper:
    http://www.portlandoccupier.org/2012/03/21/ancient-tree-blocks-rush-hour-traffic-in-protest-of-rising-co2-levels/

    If this is to continue I shall request a meeting with your editor.

    Good day,

    Sasha Barnum

  3. john gardner
    March 22, 2012 at 5:07 AM

    Is there any more info on the march mentioned in this article for this Saturday?

    • March 23, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      click on the links!

  4. Matt
    March 22, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    Sheesh. Really? An elm tree caused a traffic backup resulting in more cars idling and beng on the road for longer causing more carbon to be emitted as a result and then removed itself from the biological cycle of removing carbon from the environment and you call this a protest? It’s statements like this that cause people on the political right to mock movements like Occupy, to discredit them, and to brush them off as “cooky environmentalists”. We can and should do better.

    • March 23, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      it’s satire….sheesh indeed. Someone needs their funny bone examined.

  5. Jo Karelja
    March 22, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Is that a Church that it almost fell on? or did fall on?………..My suspicion is that is was trying to smash the Church in protest of the blatant disregard and disrespect of Women by religion………..

    • March 27, 2012 at 3:53 PM

      Well, if that’s the case, this tree was just lashing out in ignorance. The ELCA (denominational order to which St. James belongs) ordains women and has since the 1970s) and this particular church is a Reconciling in Christ congregation which means they welcome all people regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation.

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