Mitchell said this about writing the song to journalist Alan McDougall in the early 1970s:
"I wrote 'Big Yellow Taxi' on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart... this blight on paradise. That's when I sat down and wrote the song."
The song is known for its environmental concern--"They paved paradise to put up a parking lot" and "Hey farmer, farmer, put away that DDT now"--and sentimental sound. The line "They took all the trees, and put 'em in a tree museum / And charged the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em" refers to Foster Botanical Garden in downtown Honolulu, which is a living museum of tropical plants, some rare and endangered.
from Wikipedia/Big Yellow Taxi
© 2016 Joe Symons