Every day, because I am a Eucalyptus tree, I sit peacefully still, waiting for my bark to peel onto the ground. I dream of my leaves suffocating a Chlamydia-ridden Koala, but I am regularly interrupted by Berkeley students vocalizing their endless self-doubts. All I want to do is to propagate a little mini-me or suffocate an obnoxious creature that isn’t even technically a bear, but instead, I am forced to hear story after story about how someone doesn’t feel they belong here.
Well, let me tell you something: if you think you don’t belong here, I don’t know how the fuck I’m supposed to feel. In the 1850s, Leland Stanford took hundreds of my species from Australia and planted us in California with the hope of chopping us down for timber. Shockingly, he’s a complete dick. But guess what, Eucalyptus bark crumbles when chopped. Not only am I part of a foreign species, frequently labeled as “invasive” or a “fire-promoter” or “ugly as fuck” or “something a CNR student wants to spit on, chop down, burn to a crisp, and drown in herbicide,” I also can’t even do what I was brought here for. I am a complete failure, I do not belong here.
At one point, I tried to change the student’s attitudes. I tried to convince them that maybe I do belong here. I tried looking pretty, I made sure I smelled really great, I grew nice and tall. But as the modern environmentalist movement or whatever you want to call it started to spread, the students started to hate me more and more. I went from being part of a peaceful grove, to being labeled as an eyesore, a relic of colonialism and something that is actively threatening California. Well guess what, it’s not my fault a crazy old white man brought me here from across the globe. And there isn’t really any hard evidence that I actually can promote fire. All I want is a little respect. Instead I feel like the most hated organism with chlorophyll in Berkeley.
Next time you feel like you don’t belong here, remember that the college dedicated to natural resources actively wants to burn me to death in effigy and real life. Have some respect.