Or, ‘This is not a tree’.
Thinking again about, and then past the pollen issue, I wonder if humans had such strong allergic reactions in pre-industrial times. In much the same way that we have been using the world’s oceans as a dumping ground for every substance we don’t want to deal with, we have been pumping fine particulates into the atmosphere in ever-increasing quantities since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
We breathe oxygen. Oxygen shares atmospheric space with pollen and with myriad other particulates; our bodies work to filter out the particulates as we draw in oxygen.
Certainly, pollen poses challenges to the smooth operation of the human body. And planting fewer pollen-abundant trees might help breathing conditions to some extent. But really, now — shouldn’t we also look at the overload of particulates continuously (not only seasonally) streaming into our breathing space from coal-fired power plants, miscellaneous smokestacks, vents, trains, trucks, buses, and cars? And act to place more stringent limits on emissions from all those sources?
Making the natural world the culprit is easy. Calling ourselves to account for the consequences of our much more harmful actions may, as painful as it is, may be the more responsible and fruitful response.