The Coast News Group
Observations from the Edge

One last observation: save the trees

(Editor’s note: Bob was a force to be reckoned with. Whether they agreed with him or not, people read “Observations from the Edge.” In the many years he wrote for The Coast News Group, no person or issue elicited more Letters to the Editor than Bob Nanninga. His passion was admirable, his energy infectious. Here at the office, we will miss his unannounced visits, which were always a welcome and entertaining break in our workdays. We will also miss his voice, which was sometimes loud and at times dramatic, but it was always true. The following is Bob’s final column for The Coast News Group, written from his hospital bed days before his death.)

Greetings from the ICU ward. It would seem I needed some critical “me” time after the 2008 Encinitas City Council race. Rundown and profoundly disappointed, I didn’t see the pneumonia coming until I was panting like a dog struggling to breathe on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
Pneumonia is as gnarly as it gets. Everything works but the lungs. Lungs give breath. To breathe is to live. My mind is as active as ever. I want this to be done.
There is Earth Day to plan for, Encinitas Environment Day to organize. Poetry to publish and a novel to be finished. And I still have yet to see Prairie Dogs in the wild.
Lying in bed, news filters back about life and community in Encinitas. It is nice to know the tree people are getting creative. Thank you, Andrew, and all who gave him support during his week at the Orpheus front line.
Trees are the lungs of the planet. Without trees, lots of trees, soon everyone and everything will be
gasping for air, victims of planetary pneumonia, so not good.
With that observation, allow me to self-indulge with a poem written in honor of those who fight and plant trees.
Plant an oak, save the world.

An Ode to the Tree People

Who are the people who speak for the trees
Giving them voice from root tip to leaves
I know they are out there
I’ve heard the tales
Of proud David Chain and Julia Butterfly Hill
A redwood named Luna
Watched her friends fall
Victims of the greed
Now killing us all
Victims of indifference
Trees continue to fall
As the climate changes
And biodiversity fades
Planet is diminished
As the trees fall away
Where are the warriors
Who will fight for the trees
Knowing full well without trees we’re not free
Humans are primates
We came from the trees
Before braving the grassland
And our now history
Thuggish and brutish
Forests were cleared
To make room for the primates
Who hold nothing dear
Happy to cut down
Trees, as long as they’re there
Well, I’ll speak for the tree people
And count them as friends
This warrior undaunted a message will send
In the green revolution
Allies stand tall and take to the trees
Spreading the call
Trees are our future
Trees built our past
Trees must become sacred
If mankind is to last
So all hail the tree people
Those that fight for the trees
Those that understand ethics
Beyond avarice and greed
A battle is coming
Pitting man against man
Man against nature
So do as you can
It’s time to take sides
Not just do as you please
Make no mistake
I stand with the trees.


Michelle Waters February 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm

This is a beautiful poem. Now your energy and exuberance are truly everywhere. We will help plant you this Friday. Love you Bob.

Lisa A February 24, 2009 at 10:31 am

I’ll be helping to plant you under a beautiful tree, and I promise to plant more in your honor. Only native plants, of course. Goodbye, dear friend.

aboxofjosh February 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm

I’ll miss ya buddy.

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