Target: California Science Center
Goal: Demand the Space Shuttle Endeavour be stored in an alternative location in order to stop the chopping down of 400 Los Angeles trees for its 12-mile move
Next month, the Space Shuttle Endeavour is being flown into LAX airport so that it can be transferred to the California Science Center for storage after the now discontinued shuttle program. Due to the sensitive nature of the shuttle’s structure, it cannot be dismantled for travel — doing so would damage important space-faring features. It is also too heavy to be carried and lowered by helicopter. Therefore, in order for it to arrive at the California Science Center it must travel by way of Los Angeles streets. This further requires that the city chop down 400 of its trees so that the shuttle can pass in its entirety.
Many city officials, and especially the California Science Center, are enthusiastic about the shuttle’s arrival and do not feel the cutting down of so many trees to be a problem. The city has said that after the move, it will plant double the amount cut down. However, this is not good enough. Countless numbers of these pines, myrtles, magnolias, and other species are extremely old. They range from 40, 60, to even 100 years old. They are an oxygen-giving species, and despite the city’s offer to plant new ones, said trees will be only saplings. Maturation of many of these will take at least 40-50 years, and many will never grow-up within our lifetime. This is all for a 2-day parade.
The city and the California Science Center must be made to realize the inappropriateness of this decision. Many trees have already begun to be chopped down in Inglewood, with an estimated 265 scheduled to be lost next in the Crenshaw area. Stop this before more trees are cut down by demanding that Space Shuttle Endeavour be placed in a different location.
Dear California Science Center,
Next month you plan to receive the Space Shuttle Endeavour at your facility. In order for the shuttle to arrive there, it will need to be transported across 12 miles of Los Angeles from LAX. This will require the chopping down of 400 trees along the route in order to facilitate the move with the space required.
This is unacceptable. Despite the promise that the city will replace the chopped trees with double the original number, what is being lost is of a value that simple replanting cannot give the city. Many of these trees are extremely old, and the replanted saplings will never see maturation within our lifetime. The landscape is being uprooted, and the lives of countless members of an oxygen-giving species are being lost. The chopping process has already begun, and it needs to be halted before it gets worse.
These trees deserve our respect. There is no doubt as to the potential importance to having the shuttle kept at the California Science Center. The benefits of the clearance, whether allowing for better landscaping and clearance of invasive species or not, do not outweigh the inappropriate nature of the decision. If this is the price that must be paid for a 12-mile, 2-day spectacle and the city’s possession of the shuttle, it is necessary that the Space Shuttle Endeavour be taken to a different location which will not facilitate the destruction of 400 trees. It is up to you to make sure these trees are saved. We urge you, as responsible members of the science community, to reject the placement of the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: nasa hq photo via Flickr