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Ed. Board Thurs. March 31

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Faith Hultman

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Is the recent trend of birch tree thievery evidence that kitschy internet decorating crazes destroy the environment?

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In an article published in the Pioneer Press March 30, the John Myers reported a recent spread in the illegal cutting of birch trees, which are smuggled out of forests and sold as decorations. Thousands of these small birches are cut and taken from both private and public forests without payment or permits.

These thefts were noticed in northwestern Wisconsin last fall and have continued through the winter into spring. The public is being urged by the police to call 911 if they see any loads of small birch moving on the road.

Dave Zebo, Wisconsin conservation warden for the Spooner region, said there has been “significant biological damage,” reported the Myers.

The Spectator editorial board convened on Thursday to discuss whether the recent trend of birch tree thievery is evidence that kitschy internet decorating crazes destroy the environment.

The first speaker said the rash of tree stealing is a “huge offense to Wisconsin,” but is yet another extreme instance where land is exploited for personal use.

“It’s disturbing to me that it is being used for events like weddings, where it’s likely to be tossed out by the end of the day,” the speaker said.

Another speaker agreed.

“Think about how long it takes a tree to grow, and then how long it takes to cut it down, and then how long it takes to throw it away,” the speaker said. “Something’s just not adding up.”

Another member said it is very easy to find other ways to make decorations, and the whole point of crafts is for one to make it by oneself, instead of cutting down nature to do so.

“This is something we need to evaluate before we just go and destroy everything,” another speaker said.

“It’s not as simple as ‘this is natural, it’ll decompose, it’s better than plastic.’ If the idea is to replant, it’s not just time for regrowth, but if you do this rapidly, it really damages the soil. Don’t take things unless you really need them,” another member said.

The Spectator editorial board voted 7-0 in favor of whether the recent trend of birch tree thievery is evidence that kitschy internet decorating crazes are destroying the environment.

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The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.
Ed. Board Thurs. March 31