The Sycamore Gap tree, otherwise known as the Robin Hood tree, is iconic and perhaps one of the most photographed trees in the world.
As news of its destruction began to surface, cut down in a moment of madness, a wave of sadness and grief washed across the world. This sadness may run deeper than it first seems, for in this seeming sacrilege, perhaps as an impulsive act by an immature lone teenager, we find a story for our age. It's a story in which humanity self-harms through deliberate ecological vandalism and the plundering and pillaging of both nature and beauty.
Many are outraged at the loss of the tree, and rightly so.
But let us be even more outraged that rich elites and corporations, fueled by the myths of endless growth, unrestrained capitalism, and consumerism, are deliberately and willfully causing destruction to our planet in the pursuit of profit (which often exists only in the world of shared myths and meanings), all at the cost of our biophysical reality.
We are outraged at the destruction of this iconic tree. Rightly so. But let us, in a world of climate breakdown, be more angered by the expansion of the fossil fuel industry by wealthy educated elites who profit financially while making unethical and unjust decisions that move us further towards a world of mass migration, mass starvation, and societal collapse.