In the past five years, I have come to appreciate plants, foliage, and the outdoors in a new way: I am filled with newfound respect for the process of watching something grow and the ecosystem that a plant or tree can create. However, I have had to face a harsh reality that these same trees and plants can become unwanted and nuisances because of “liability.” I felt conflicted as I decided to cut down the 80 foot pine tree in my front yard. It was one of the oldest pines in the area; a beautiful structure with its own community of animals and insects. I learned a great deal about life from having this single pine on my property. There were only a handful left, and I had one of the last four on my neighborhood street. My neighbors were preparing to cut down another one of the four, a 100 foot tree in their backyard, and its removal has allowed sunlight to pour into my previously shaded lush garden. The absence of the tree has not brought more sun than the banana trees or elephant ears can handle, but more than many of my ivy and vines can thrive under. Aside from being concerned with how my garden and I will be affected by the tree’s removal in the long run, I have been worried about the lasting impacts on the wildlife that was accustomed to the tree. Squirrels live in these trees year round, birds come and go with the seasons, and insects create incredible networks in and around them. On one hand, I now have less to clean up, and fewer long weekends filled with the tedious removal of pine needles from my gutters. Without the tree, I will pay less insurance for the protection of my house, as the tree posed a risk of liability. But I still ask myself: Why do my fears of liability outweigh the life of the tree and its effect on the environment and community? I do not have the amount of disposable income necessary to cover a problem if the tree were to have fallen, and the insurance premiums could have broken an already delicate balance between life to live and a life to work. What are your thoughts?