Column: Green scene

Published 9:27 am Sunday, October 6, 2019

Some may say I’m a tree-hugger, others call me an environmentalist. I would say I just like plants a lot. And trees and animals and basically just nature as whole. Being outside has always given me a sense of comfort. Let me specify: being surrounded by nature has always put my mind at ease. Not so much being surrounded by commercial buildings and heavy traffic.

Growing up in a small suburban town outside Philadelphia, I never really sat down and appreciated how much greenery immersed the environment around me. There were rolling hills of grass-covered fields everywhere and acres of land that housed parks, farms and playgrounds. I wouldn’t say I was sheltered from the world there by any means, but I hadn’t realized there were places that were not completely covered in green.

Moving to Myrtle Beach was somewhat of a reality-check. For anyone who has been there, you know what I’m talking about. For those of you who are hoping to visit one day, it is a great town. The people are friendly, the beaches are gorgeous and there is so much to do. With all that comes one big downfall: there are not a lot of trees. Instead, there are a plethora of malls, parking lots, cafes and roads. Highway 501, the main road that runs through Myrtle, is a whole other topic I’ll save for a future rant.

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I sat in a meeting last Thursday with the Community Appearance Commission of Kill Devil Hills. I learned that many towns in Dare County have ordinances in place that protect the natural environment that encloses the shops and homes here. Manteo’s town ordinance states: “Some trees, because of their size and longevity, contribute not just aesthetically and environmentally as most trees do, but also represent a unique tie to the island’s past. There are even a few trees remaining on the island which have witnessed the entire breadth of the island’s history since the time of Raleigh’s colonies.”

Many other ordinances I have read state something to this effect. That in and of itself brings me back to my little suburban town in Pennsylvania and makes me happy. I was relieved when I moved here and not only saw a beautiful beach, but my little back road is lined with large, healthy trees as well.

I’m a big advocate of conservation, which I know comes as no surprise given this column. My hope for this community is to avoid the amount of commercialization that has engulfed towns like Myrtle Beach. It is great to have shopping centers and an unlimited choice of chain restaurants (side note: the town of Myrtle Beach itself has over 2000 restaurants), but trees, plants and animals are important, too.

Obviously, a few people cannot change the course of our climate. But a small act of preservation can go a long way. For all of you that house little succulents or religiously put ice cubes in your orchids, I’m with you. I think small steps like these will help in world torn between materialism and the sustentation of our planet.

Danielle Puleo is a reporter for The Coastland Times. Reach her at