On Europe’s most romantic boulevard in Târgu Mureș, Romania, these signs were nailed to the trees a few months ago:
“ATTENTION!” the signs scream out in two languages, (mis?)informing the public that these are “sick trees undergoing treatment”. People are warned of “standing around, parking or sitting on benches,” as if the trees were toxic or dangerous.
Given the municipality’s history of chopping off any tree that they can get hold of – and yesterday they began on Bulevardul Cetăţii itself – it is obvious that these signs are not intended as a warning, but to skew public opinion. If these trees were really as dangerous as the signs imply, the boulevard would be cordoned off. It isn’t and of course people still sit, walk, run, eat and park there.
I have noticed in discussions that some people unfortunately fall for this scaremongering. They really believe that these trees are dangerous.
Yet, if you look at them – and if you are in Târgu Mureș, I suggest you go there for a lovely stroll – you will see the trees standing there peacefully, providing shade and fresh air, not looking sick or old and not threatening or harming anyone. These are not even particularly tall or heavy trees, they are hardly taller than lampposts.
Again and again I hear “But what if a tree falls over and kills a child?” – But trees don’t simply fall over from one minute to the next (for those who missed biology in school: they have roots in the ground). People actually fall over far more often by themselves (Palincă!), without the help of any tree.
And what do you suggest if you are actually afraid of falling trees? Killing all the trees in the city? In the whole country? Or globally? No, coincidentally, the trees are only “dangerous” in the area where someone wants to build a house or a parking space.
Also, even the “trees are dangerous” folks only argue that trees are dangerous in a severe storm. Târgu Mureș is not really in a tornado area, so this doesn’t seem to be a regular problem. And there is a simple solution to it: When there is a tornado or a hurricane, don’t go outside! In fact, if there ever will be a tornado, there are more dangerous things that will fly around, yet nobody proposes to dismantle and remove all street signs, advertisement boards, newspaper kiosks and tables and chairs outside of cafés. Why only the trees, the only objects which are firmly rooted in the ground?
The discussion becomes particularly absurd when tree-phobics argue that falling trees could harm cars. I wouldn’t have thought that I need to point this out, but of the two – trees and cars – the latter is no the living being. Cars don’t feel pain. If they are dented, they can be repaired. If a tree is cut, it’s dead. And if you are so terribly afraid of a daily tornado, park your car somewhere else. Or take the bus. – By the way, between trees and cars, guess which of them kill more people in Târgu Mureș every year?
In reality, the trees shouldn’t carry warning signs around their neck – we should.
But for the municipality, it’s quite convenient to divert attention from the real health risks in town, from those which actually kill people and make their lives miserable. It’s sad that some people fall for this plot.