A half century ago, in the face of Dutch elm disease, the city of Chicago began to systematically remove elms and replace them with maple shade trees — all in the name of “beautification” (and, in hindsight, an unanticipated — although minuscule — volley against global warming). I have lived in the Las Vegas Valley for 30 years. Annually, there are news reports that confirm the suspicions of local allergy sufferers — myself included — that each successive year brings greater suffering, more lost work time and increased medical interventions.
I’m wondering whether it would be in the best interest of local residents, employers, health insurer, and governmental institutions to brainstorm and perhaps begin a new public health initiative to remove and replace the most serious allergenic offenders — as I understand them to be, European olive trees and fruitless mulberries.
The health and financial benefits would easily outdistance the justification for Chicago’s initiative 50 years ago.