Saturday, December 10, 2005

Study: Those bullied by life bully nature

The rich don't chop down trees because watching the jungle reclaim their upsized backyards appeases guilt over having too much power? The poor take their powerlessness out by dominating nature with the backyard chainsaw?

Wealthy Sydney professionals live in leafy North Shore suburbs because the trees on the streets make them feel comfortable with their power in society, according to a new study.

This week's Institute of Australian Geographers conference will hear that tree cover in city suburbs is closely related to authority and alienation. Jamie Kirkpatrick, a geographer at the University of Tasmania, thinks less affluent urban dwellers often feel powerless in their work and personal lives, so they exert authority by removing the flora around their homes.

Middle-class home owners, on the other hand, want a break from being in charge, and enjoy returning to a wilder, more out-of-control environment.
Bizzare behaviour ... I usually find that getting a jolly good flogging from Mistress Amanda to be a surefire salve when I start fretting about the heady power (courtesy of this blog) that I wield.

Interesting theory, but I don't think this applies where a tree comes between a property owner and their harbour view. The Sun Herald reported on 29/10/2000 that
Professional hit men target harbour trees
WEALTHY residents in Sydney's eastern suburbs are allegedly using "hit men" to poison trees and enhance their harbour views. One of Australia's wealthiest suburbs, Point Piper, has had 41 protected trees poisoned, lopped, or removed without permission over the past 18 months
This must have galvanised some sort of action because there has been only one newspaper report on the subject in the Fairfax press since:
$110,000 fine threat to harbourside gardeners with view to a kill
Harbourside residents have been put on notice that they face hefty fines if caught cutting trees to improve their water views.
Sydney Morning Herald 20/09/2001

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