If you follow Cal sports, environmental politics, or the City of Berkeley, then chances are that you have heard about or seen the hippies living in the trees at California Memorial Stadium.
Unfortunately, this is not some giant publicity stunt to draw attention to Wonder-Coach Jeff Tedford and the California Golden Bears.
Instead, the Ewoks have taken to the trees to prevent the University from cutting them down to make progress on retrofitting the stadium and building a new sports complex near the site. The tree-sitters claim that the University is threatening to cut down one of the last old-growth woodland areas in Berkeley.
The biggest problem with their argument is that it isn't an old growth woodland area nor is it one of the last surviving woodlands around.
The trees around the stadium were planted by the University and only four predate the stadium itself: three oaks and a redwood. Those who make a short trek to another shrine to Cal athletics, the Tilden Statue near Haas Pavilion, will find themselves surrounded by a lush woodland protected by the University. In fact, many other wooded areas exist on campus, several with University protections to prevent the flora and fauna from being disturbed.
The University has agreed that some environmental disruption will occur as a result of the new construction, but plans to mitigate the damage by planting three new trees for each one that is removed. Further, it is important to note that the University planted those trees on University land several decades ago as part of a landscaping design. It should be well within the ability of the University to remove the trees. Besides, the stadium is of more historical, cultural, and economic value than the trees in question.
What is most interesting is what groups have entered into the fight: most notably, the Panoramic Hill Neighborhood Association (PHNA). PHNA has a long history of being a thorn in the side of the University, the students living on Southside, the Greeks, and Coops. It is no secret that they have opposed construction on the stadium on the basis of the noise, lights, and traffic in the area. They have latched onto tree preservation because it is just the latest in their many attempts to stop the progress of the University community.
The Panoramic Hill Neighborhood Association doesn't love trees; they hate student life.
In conclusion, Berkeley hippies, Ewoks, and the PHNA are forming an evil axis that hates students, Cal, and college football. They should be opposed at all costs.