A Seattle activist is performing a one-person sit-in under a tree to protest the tree’s removal as part of a development, as the Seattle Timesreports. The development replaces a single house with four units. The area is zoned for such developments.

The activist says that she’s doing it for the environment, and there’s no reason to doubt her sincerity. But she’s barking up the wrong tree.

Inserting more multifamily dwellings in the city is by far the best way to protect Cascadia’s rural lands, including forests, from the alternative: sprawl. Sacrificing urban trees is regrettable, but it’s a small price to pay, particularly when they’ll be replaced.

In-city growth is also the best way to protect air quality, the climate, and our health from sprawl’s inevitable result: more driving.