The University of Michigan Shows us How to be Environmental Heros

Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:55:49PM
Categories: Environment & Michigan

The Ross School of Business at the University of MichiganBy: MichiganRoss
What is a university supposed to do when they decide to expand its business school and a 250 year old, forty-four foot in diameter oak tree is standing in the way? Should they knock it down? Choose another area to build the expansion? Or what about uprooting the massive tree and physically moving it 500 feet to another location? Perhaps to everyone's surprise, the University of Michigan chose the latter of these three options.

In a move hailed by environmentalists and questioned by business majors, the university spent upwards of $400,000 to move the centuries old tree down the road to its new location. The money came from the $100 million grant that philanthropist Stephen Ross donated to have the new business school built, so the taxpayers were not on the hook for one penny of the unique project.

If all goes as planned, the tree is expected to easily live another two hundred plus years. This means two hundred more years of shade for students studying before their next exam; two hundred more years of shade for students enjoying a picnic; and two hundred more years of having a place to cool down during those hot Michigan summers.

This project has me thinking about the bigger picture. What if we can start making these unique stories the norm in this country? What if we can convince other schools, businesses, and homeowners to think twice before taking down something that has been there for hundreds of years? Think of the countless trees we could save. Think of the change of consciousness we could have in this nation.

Kudos University of Michigan. Instead of doing the easy thing, you did the right thing. Let's hope other people noticed your courageous act and start to think outside of the box during their next big project. You proved it can be done. Now we just need to make sure others follow your lead.
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I've always thought that our society should be sculpted around nature, and not the opposition that destroys it. Maybe this is yet another example that will push us towards a culture that's inclusive of nature, something more along the lines of what Singapore is embracing, their great plan of an eco-city. Now that would be something if the US took that idea and ran with it.