Last month, Mark Donovan attempted to stop the demolition of a stand of oak trees on the Prospect Road property next to his own.
Though unsuccessful, his fight drew townwide attention.
Now his effort has gone national.
Donovan — a 1985 Staples High School graduate, who now lives in his childhood home with his mother, wife and daughter — was the featured guest on this week’s episode of Chutzpod! This podcast — whose tagline is “Ancient texts for modern times,” and is hosted by activist and actor Josh Malina — covered the futile attempt, and Donovan’s subsequent desire to change local town tree ordinances.
Not for nothing, Chutzpod! is the #1 listened to podcast covering issues around Judaism in North America (according to Apple). On Friday it was #33 in the Religion & Spirituality category.
Donovan’s episode is timely. Tu Bishvat — the Jewish “New Year of the Trees” — begins tonight, and runs through tomorrow.
In “Bring Me a Shrubbery” — which includes a brief appearance by actor and Westport resident Scott Foley — Donovan says, “We live in a community. The community is not one individual or even two individuals. Just because something is legal and you have the right to do something, doesn’t mean that it actually makes it right to do it.” Some things “clearly affect everyone in the community.”
He adds his disappointment that people watching cheered as the trees were chopped down.
“It was not only embarrassing, but just confounding…it was shameful, really…it’s almost like the same victory lap that people take when they kill a dear with a shotgun.”
Donovan’s fight continues. Westport’s Planning & Zoning Commission is drafting legislation to address tree cutting on private property.
(Click here to listen to Mark Donovan’s “Bring Me a Shrubbery” Chutzpod! episode. It is also available on many other platforms.)