Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Trees Won

It's unusual. I have never gone a full day without writing a feature here (except for surgery). Today, it happened. No feed went out, but my absence was for a good cause.

You may remember that we were out in the woods trying to save rare plants and animals a few weekends recently. A forest was about to be cleared for houses. I am the president of a land trust that holds a 15-acre conservation easement on the property surrounding the building envelope. Our land monitor and I recently discovered that Fairfax County had approved clearing to build a trail - clearing in our easement, clearing we believe is excessive, more clearing than we had expected. Because the developer had expressly stated a plan to clear quickly, our land trust had no remedy to save the land - and the trees on it - other than going to court to request a temporary injunction.

To make a long story very short (perhaps oversimplified), we did that today, asking the court for a temporary injunction against clearing trees - clearing in our easement that we have not approved. The hearing that we had been led to believe might take one hour, lasted from 10:00 am until after 4:00 pm (or thereabouts, I lost track).

The trees won a temporary reprieve, giving us six months (hopefully more than enough time) to negotiate with the developer. It's our objective to protect an environmentally sensitive area. I'm hopeful we can find a solution that works for everyone involved.

This was a rare day for me. The sun came out, and I could have taken swatch photos, had I been home. Perhaps the sun was a sign. Who knows? I had to weigh irreversible harm to the environment (once you cut down trees that are over 100 years old, they are gone) against beauty. It was an easy call, but not without pangs of guilt over the blog.

I expect to be back with you tomorrow, getting some Chanel swatches early. The forecast calls for sunshine.

Photo courtesy of ca.uky.edu

30 comments:

Carrie Meredith said...

You're so wonderful. You really are. *hugs*

Charlestongirl said...

That so sweet, Carrie. Thank you. I could use a few hugs right now. Usually it's the other way around for us tree huggers.

anotherperfumeblog said...

Brava!

Charlestongirl said...

Thank you so much!

Walls said...

Thank you for your commitment to wildlife and nature preservation. We really do need more people like you out there. As an individual whose passion is ecology, I am touched by your diligence. Keep up the good fight! Don't get me wrong, I am looking forward to your Chanel Holiday swatches, but it's important to keep things in perspective.

Charlestongirl said...

Thank you, Walls. We need more people like you too! Passions lead to action.

Cheryl G. said...

Don't worry about the blog, baby. (Though I was worried about you.)Save the trees!

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Cheryl! You are all so supportive, and it means the world to me.

Lena said...

You are very inspirational! Congratulations with your win!

Charlestongirl said...

Thanks, Lena! We sure were anxious.

xiao said...

you're saving another kind of beauty :) *hugs you and trees!*

lovethescents said...

Victory! You are a little, green superstar :-)

Eileen said...

You rock, Charlestongirl! Congratulations on buying our precious flora and fauna the time you need to insure their survival. Remember the film "Silent Running"? I'd hate to invasion a world where what was left of our natural wonders and wild life was consigned to a station out in deep space. A lot of time has passed since that wonderful film was released. Perhaps it's time for people to see it again. Those trees and critters have as much right to a home on this earth as we do. Once again, congratulations!

Sophia1105 said...

Wow, way to go! My thoughts go to you and all the hard effort that's been going into saving that land! I hope the developer acquiesces to your intentions.

Clarisse said...

Charlestongirl, you are a STAR! Bravo!!!!It's just wonderful, my warmest congratulations and big, big hugs:-)♥

Charlestongirl said...

xiao, Lovethescents, Eileen, Sophia, and Clarisse,

I am so grateful for your support. I tried to go to sleep early last night, from the sheer exhaustion of the stress of the day, but I guess the adrenaline was pumping. The first half of the night was fitful. Now, with morning, I realize we have a huge job ahead of us, gathering experts to counter developer positions effectively. At least we can do it on our own schedule, not theirs.

I'm also hoping the County will get serious about supporting us now. They haven't been to date. We are considered pesky tree huggers, I'm sure, getting in the way of our developer-friendly government.

I need about two more hours, and I can start swatching. Yea!

Deb said...

Can you hear my applause all the way from Arizona? Major, major Kudos to you for making the time in your life to do this. This is so much more important than one day of swatches and beauty blogging.....even though we appreciate that too.

Lenora said...

I just had the chance to read this post now & want to commend you for the work you are doing with the environment. What you did there is so much more important than the beauty blog (although I admit that your blog is VERY important to me!) I wish you all the best.

Ava said...

good work, Charlestongirl!

Suselew said...

Congrats! I hope it works out well for the trees (and you) in the end. They are irreplaceable!

Pam said...

Congratulations! What an accomplishment! You lead by example...you inspire so many of us. Thank you.

PerilouslyPale said...

Congratulations! The trees and wildlife need you far more than we did. So happy this went well for you. Best of luck bringing this to a quick and satisfactory resolution.

Suzanne said...

Given the presence of rare plants and animals, might be possible to get the guidance of the Environmental Defense Fund in promoting your cause against the developers.

1875 Connecticut Ave.NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 387-3500

What about local media - Maybe the Washington Post magazine or style section would love to do a story on the practices of developers in over clearing protected areas.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Deb, I think I hear it now. Thank you. :)

Charlestongirl said...

Thank you so much, Lenora, Ava, Suselaw, Pam, and PP! Today, we started to plan our next steps, but didn't get far. Beth and I spent the day catching up with "life." We owe our attorneys some info, but I'd guess they were recovering too. One of them told me he slept in. Wish I could have.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Suzanne,

They won't usually get involved in "little" local land use cases. We are looking to another group, however, for help - one that's likely to help us.

Thanks for the suggestion! I contribute to all the environmental organizations, so I sure know how to find them. LOL

One local TV station has expressed an interest in our case, so I suspect it may end up on the news. We'll see. We're not looking for publicity - just environmental protection.

Mimi said...

Thank you so much for all the work you do. So nice to know that there are still some good people out there that care about truly important things. Please don't worry or feel guilty about the blog; you won't lose us, we understand and applaud your efforts. We'll just sit tight until you can get back to us. Thank you again for all you do.

Charlestongirl said...

Thank you, Mimi. The blog has become such an important part of my day, I felt missing in action as the hearing dragged on. Beth had to blow away a science class she was to teach and get someone else to go get her daughter after school, and I'm worrying about blogging. We were quite the pair, since courthouse securuty takes away all camera phones at the door.

AilurophileNZ said...

Well done!! I think what you are doing is so important! Chanel is lovely & fun but saving forests, trees and the planet - that is important, so I can (& should) wait.

Suzanne said...

Thanks for the note - I would still go with publicity. It can exert a lot of pressure on developers. Especially if it is a David-Goliath situation - and the developer probably knows they are doing something wrong.

I would say there is nothing to lose if the local radio station wants to do a piece. What about the local papers. They may be interested in the story as well.
good luck to you. I love trees and have my fingers crossed for you.