By NICHOLAS SIRIANNO
We’ve all heard the saying “violence equals violence.” It doesn’t matter how much we as humans set ourselves above the natural world, because in the cycle of life we are just a small piece of the earth. I know what you are thinking: “There are seven billion humans on the earth, how could we be a small part of it?” Well, with regards to how many trees are still standing, how many mosquitoes we wrongfully swat away, and how many species of flowers, mushrooms, grasses, trees, birds, and animals exist, we don’t even compare in numbers!
Humans aside, the earth has enough power to destroy itself. At any moment, every fault line could shift, every river could flood, every volcano could erupt and every lightening bolt could set fire to every plain. Against these forces, humans don’t stand a chance. The more violence we do to each other, the more violence the earth will do to us. There is also another aspect of violence: The more violence we do to the earth, the more violence we do to each other.
Some harrowing acts of violence have occurred and our little college town of Canton is suffering. We all know someone who has had their bike stolen, or their tires slashed. We all know about the fighting that occurred last week. Everyone has heard about the mob that marched down Park St. wreaking havoc on Commons, The Green House, The Outing Club, Ray Ross, Habitat for Humanity, and our beloved bookstore. Why is this year fostering all this violence? It may be a stretch, but this is the most modification St. Lawrence has done to the earth in four years. Trees are gone, cement has been poured into the once lovely grass triangles near the library, our watering hole is now missing a rope swing, and a building so out of character for St. Lawrence has been built next to the stump of our “mother” tree. These acts of destruction to the earth may not ring as heavily in your ear as they do in mine, but if people are going to complain about a “cowboys and Indians” mixer that happened last year, then they sure as hell should stand up for what American Indians based their lives upon—the earth has a spirit.
The more we strip the earth of its harmonies, the more justification we feel in harming the earth. Like I said earlier, we are a part of the earth, and harming each other is in turn harming earth and harming earth is in turn harming each other. This cycle needs to stop! There is talk of removing some of the great cottonwood trees on campus. If you’ve never stood under one of these great trees and peered up into its golden hair in fall, then you are truly missing out. Just from memory I can count three great cottonwood trees. There are two looking over the intramural fields near Java, and one huge one in the forest between University and ODY. If chopping down one great tree behind Whitman caused the violence that happened last week, just imagine what chopping down three beautiful and healthy trees might bring. Still, to this point I encourage that our safety be kept in mind and for dying or sick trees to be removed. The problem is how SLU has been cutting corners and harming what once felt like a home and sanctuary.