Friday, October 19, 2018

Whole Foods Market Redefines Environmental Stewardship


14 trees are cut down at the soon-to-be Whole Foods Market parking lot in Venice to make way for 'new' trees.

It's disconcerting to return to a place you know well and sense that eerie feeling that something is not right, - like coming home to find your door slightly ajar when you know you locked it tight. That's exactly what happened on Wednesday afternoon when I pulled into the strip mall parking lot off Lincoln Boulevard at Rose Avenue in Venice; something was missing, I thought. Then it hit me...the trees! The trees were gone! Fourteen trees that encircled the lot had been unceremoniously cut down by the contractor hired to begin remodeling the former Big Lots site for the new Whole Foods Market. Only the mutilated stumps remained, festooned with yellow caution tape, - appropriately reminiscent of a crime scene.

Four of those felled were large trees, with leafy green canopies that softened that asphalt nightmare like only trees can. I'm not a tree-hugger, but I'm a tree-lover, and it's painful to witness the indifference with which we destroy these living, breathing organisms that oftentimes have been around for generations and add untold value to a space. We already live in such a diminished natural environment, particularly here in Los Angeles, and particularly at that intersection, - which makes incidents like this all the more egregious.

Granted, sometimes you have compelling reasons for tree removal, but it appears that Whole Foods plans only to 're-landscape' the parking lot, which seems a little less than compelling. Equally disturbing is the fact that this type of behavior stands in direct opposition to the Whole Foods Market philosophy as environmental stewards: "We see the necessity of active environmental stewardship so that the earth continues to flourish for generations to come," they boldly assert in their Declaration of Interdependence on their website.

It's also a very curious way to say hello to a neighborhood where you expect to do business for the next 50 years; or perhaps that particular part of Venice is not in their target demographic of upscale shoppers paying upscale prices for upscale produce, so local residents with an opinion were not consulted. Some of us will be senior citizens before we see trees there the same size as some of the ones that were cut down.

I attempted to contact Whole Foods Market for an explanation, but couldn't get past a public relations consultant who basically told me that the trees were removed to make room for the new trees: "The tree removal was actually a step in the process of re-landscaping the site," said Shawn Glasser of Mirror Mirror Public Relations in an e-mail response to my questions; "At the completion of this project, the site will have an abundance of trees, shrubs, and vines."

As a regular visitor to that strip mall I can tell you first hand that I consider this an aggressive act of ignorance and hypocrisy of the highest order from a company that boasts of itself as environmental stewards. Despite their best 're-landscaping' intentions, they deserve to be taken to task for their anti-environmental actions.

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m.zeno is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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5 comments on Whole Foods Market Redefines Environmental Stewardship

Log In To Vote   Score: 7
By Noa on March 04, 2008 at 08:40 pm

Hi!  I almost never comment on articles but this is a really really good one!  It's exactly the kind of citizen news-reporting I think this website was founded to create- what an interesting story and great information for the community!  Thanks!

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By Digidave on March 04, 2008 at 09:47 pm

I agree - this is a fantastic article and it's exactly the kind of stuff we are looking for on Broowaha. Thanks!!!

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By Lady D on March 05, 2008 at 04:53 pm

Great article. LA Schools did a similar thing last summer and there excuse was the berries on the trees might make the kids sick.

People in my neighborhood wrote a petition and complained. We didn't get much of a response. But at least they know we are watching.

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By Aaron S. on March 10, 2008 at 03:29 am

It makes no sense whatsoever to cut down trees. Landscaping purposes? Who the hell does Whole Foods hire to landscape?  A bunch of zebras?

They should've incorporated the trees into the redesign.

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By TonyBerkman on November 05, 2011 at 10:06 pm

I think Nos said it best!

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