To begin, I would like to take a moment to thank the UH Landscape Advisory Committee. During my time as undergraduate representative to the committee, I first learned of the new recreation center project, and of the threat it posed to the grand old Comose Fig tree. It was the Landscape Advisory Committee that, after unsuccessfully opposing the site’s location, first encouraged me to begin a student petition to save the tree as a final effort. I eventually undertook that endeavor in the beginning of the fall 2009 semester.
The Comose Fig tree was one of my favorites on campus. In addition, it has a nearly century-old history here at UH. It was hard to believe that its destruction was even being seriously considered. At least 2000 people who signed the petition agreed, but even that wasn’t enough to stop this project. “The train had left the station,” and there was no going back, apparently, for those making the decisions.
I hope this will be a wonderful building, but I’m afraid that it will never match the beauty of the Comose Fig tree.
I’d like to think that perhaps this will be the last historical tree cut down on this campus. That maybe the one small victory to come of this desecration is that our collective efforts have put some doubt into the minds of those who would insist on improvement of the campus through development while simultaneously forgetting the campus’s most outstanding attribute: its diverse flora and historic landscape. The historic trees of the University of Manoa should be celebrated and preserved, not destroyed in the name of progress.