The Cost of Our Modern Lives

It was snowing when I got up this morning. Winter hangs on for a bit longer. It was beautiful if unwelcome. I sat watching it by the fire for awhile, when there was a knock on the door. Who comes calling at this hour in the middle of a snowstorm I wondered.


It was a young man from a tree company. I hadn’t called any tree company. It turned out that he worked for a company that had been hired by National Grid to do some tree work around the power lines. Brookwood Shire has power lines that cross through overhead. The electric company has a right of way to access the power lines. It is not ideal, but it does mean that we have a bigger lot than most of our neighbors, and we like that.
But the next words out of this young man’s mouth stopped me in my tracks. “We are going to take down those birches in your yard and clear around the wires. We are going to put a herbicide down to keep the area clear”
I can’t tell you exactly what I said. I am sure I could have been more tactful. I do know that I made it VERY clear that he would do NO such thing!

He gave me a pamphlet with his supervisor’s name and number and an explanation of the work and continued on his way.
We have lived at Brookwood Shire for over 25 years. In that time I have had some discussions and disagreements with the electric company about trees. But they have NEVER used a herbicide! A worker told me years ago that they used to but it was no longer allowed. They had also given me a list of trees that would be ok to have under the wires. And birches were on it.

The pamphlet was unbelievable…..IMV.Integrated Vegetation Management is the term they used. Here is a quote: “..By implementing IMV methods, we create stable, low growing plant communities that require minimal maintenance and disruption of the environment. These plant communities provides healthy wildlife habitat …..”

I phoned the supervisor immediately. As I suspected, the herbicide they intended to use was ROUND UP. ROUND UP! Monsanto poison! I informed him he would not be using any Monsanto product anywhere near my property. I also informed him that my birches were not tall enough to be near his wires and I would coppice them before they were. He would not be cutting anything in my yard. He was polite and agreeable. He told me he wouldn’t use the herbicide on my property if I didn’t want him to. I reminded him that if he uses it anywhere it gets into the water and the soil. I do not think that Round Up creates a “healthy habitat” for anyone or anything and it should be outlawed. We agreed to meet next week.

I am confident that I will be able to come to an agreement with this supervisor. I have had these sorts of “discussions” with the electric company before. Brookwood Shire will NOT have any herbicides applied to it. But what about the rest of the power lines? Is this the only way we can have electricity? To poison the environment. To cut down oxygen giving trees? To kill birds and bees? Must we destroy everything? We are not the only creatures on this planet. Our need for electricity does not supersede the needs of other living things.


About patti

I am a retired kindergarten teacher, tending a new kind of garden now, raising chickens and exploring permaculture. I live with my husband, Bill, my beloved dog, Fergus and my cat, Mighty Merlin. We have a small cottage and a tiny bit of land called Brookwood Shire. It is our sanctuary.
This entry was posted in Gardens, Nature, Sustainability and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Cost of Our Modern Lives

  1. What a depressing post. Really, haven’t humans learned anything about the environment? (That was rhetorical, I’m afraid I know the answer.) Is the dramatic loss of species, vanishing of pollinators, global warming…. aaack not a wakeup call? (Again, I know the answer.) I despair. We seriously deserve what we get.

    Keep fighting the good fight and save your pocket for you, your wild birds and your cute chickens (I love those fluffy bums) because the rest of the world is doomed to a future as a barren wasteland.

    • pattigail says:

      I fear you are right. We have learned nothing…we are a plague on the planet I am afraid. But I will keep fighting and trying to educate people….and at least keep Brookwood Shire a sanctuary for me and for its other inhabitants.

  2. chrissi says:

    How devastating. And traumatizing. But I know they’ll have met their match in you.

  3. pattigail says:

    They have no idea! Well this supervisor guy might be beginning to have an inkling!

  4. wspines says:

    Isn’t it amazing that these people who are suppose to be so smart haven’t the faintest idea what round up can do or care. I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I am with you Patti

    • pattigail says:

      Thanks….they make me crazy with their poisons and there attitude…like they have a right to kill anything in their way. How arrogant! I intend to make as much trouble for that as I can.

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