It’s Easier to Make a Desert than a Forest
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr Seuss, The Lorax
We are losing our trees. In simple terms, the clearing of forests to make use of the land for agriculture, industrial or urban development has reached epidemic proportions and is affecting the natural balance of the earth’s eco-systems. Global warming and other climate change has already been scientifically linked to the removing of the planets forests, but we still don’t seem to be slowing down in removing the trees. We just don’t seem to accept what deforestation will do to the earth, or we’re too lazy to care. When will we learn that it’s easier to make a desert, than a forest?
Why would that matter? Deserts are pretty too! They are, but they are barren. And they create more work. When you remove the life that keeps top soil in the ground, in the place it should be, it begins to wander. Lower levels of the earth are exposed, usefulness is eroded and land that is not designed for the wandering top soil gets choked. Both areas become barren as they cannot sustain life, barren like a desert. One area has no soil and the other too much. Soil is good for producing plants, plants feed animals – including us – and produce the precious resources that make our lives easier to live. But that soil has to be where it can sustain life, and trees play a huge part in keeping the planet habitable by keeping the soil workable.
All round the world places that have been heavily deforested are now trying out new schemes to stop soil erosion and air pollution that they have never experienced before. Millions of dollars are plowed into barriers and air filters to do the jobs the trees used to do, and do much more efficiently. China has a huge pollution problem and have found the most economical solution is to plant more trees. They are the earth’s natural air filters and can produce some pretty great crops too!
Even urban landscaping is steering away from trees. They are seen as annoyances that block out light from windows, or keep the gardens in the shade too much. ‘Designer nature’ means that trees are often in the wrong spot for the rest of the garden design, so they are removed and chopped up for firewood, being replaced by a quick growing bush or shrub so you don’t have to wait 40 years for it to come to maturity. All this adds up to scientists calculating that our green coverage of the earth is down to a depressing 30%. There’s not much more to be had.
The effects of deforestation are severe.
- WATER LOSS. A tree’s leaves release water vapour and also keep the moisture in the soil by creating areas of shade. When you remove the trees, you remove the process of creating potable water in the water cycle, and create dry land that cannot bear fruit.
- GLOBAL WARMING. Trees use the green house gasses released into the air. By removing our trees, we are removing our ability to neutralize the green house gasses that contribute to global warming
- WATER – FEAST OR FAMINE. Trees hold water in the ground with their roots and their ability to provide shade. When you remove the trees, you remove the ability to keep the water in the ground. So you will get too much water in some areas which causes severe flooding, and not enough in other areas, which causes severe drought.
- Nature has been around a lot longer than man so has had the time to set up a delicate balance between land and wild life. By removing the habitat for the wildlife, you change the complete eco-system and species lose their habitats and cannot find a replacement – what is a suitable replacement for a tree? Nothing. Only more trees.
Preserving our trees should be a priority for everyone. Even though the most trees are removed by businesses and industries, we all need to do what we can to preserve trees in our lives and woods around our homes.
Here are ways we can help The Lorax and speak for the trees:
We have some AMAZING wooded areas around us with great walks and hikes. The best way we can keep them healthy, the same size and full of trees is the use them! Go for walks, picnics, bike rides and spend the day playing healthy games. The more you use woods and forests, the more they are likely to be kept as they are and not sold for development.
Wherever you are and whoever you are, you can plant a tree. Keep any tree that you already have healthy, and consider companion planting. Includes trees in any landscaping you may do. It may only feel like one tree won’t matter, but imagine if you made a tradition of planting a tree every year, for each person in your family – how many would you have in 10 years? You may not have the room to plant 40 trees in your back yard, but there are many places you can plant them, or have them planted for you. Ask around in your family if you can plant a tree in their gardens, contact a local growing co-op and see if they need fruit trees planted or search the net for companies that specialize in negating carbon footprints as they will often have schemes that plant trees.
Look at places like One Tree Planted or Trees4Life but make sure you do your own checking to choose a company that you are most comfortable with.
Be very conscious of what you buy and know where, how and what it is made of. Make sure you buy sustainable wood, certified as eco-friendly from sources that replant our woods and forests.
Many of the foods we eat are very resource hungry to produce. Woodland is cut down to grow crops or animals that are destined for our tables, so we need to know where our food comes from to be sure that we are not losing our forests to produce it. Meat is one industry that is renowned for using up the woodland, so going meatless one day a week goes a long way to preserving the forests.
Growing your own vegetables is the best way to be sure your carbon foot print is low, and your food is deliciously organic.
Try and reuse what you already have rather than buying new. Make as much of the things you need yourself then you know exactly what is in it, and which wood was used. If we decrease the demand for new items there is no reason to cut down the trees for industrial production.
As far as you can, go paperless. This advice isn’t just for the office, think about sending an email or an eCard for celebrations, read online newspaper and reduce the packaging you buy. The more paper you can cut out from your life, and from your office, the more trees will stay in their natural habitat.
Recycle your old paper – then buy it back again! If you have to use paper wherever you get the chance recycle, but more than that, support the sale and purchase of recycled paper. There are so many different choices now, in so many applications that if you look hard enough, you’ll find the perfect one.
As you practise these steps to preserve the woods and forests, be positive! Make it fun and draw people in so that they become inspired to do the same. The more people that become interested in the world around us and do their little ‘bit’, the more trees will be saved. It’s not hard to inspire people if you’re excited and present it well.
After all – everyone needs to a chance to ‘speak for the trees’. Right down to the yellow moustache.