In the contemporary world, man, as a whole, is benefiting from scientific inventions that have considerably changed human life. These inventions are very useful and have now become an important part of our lives, and no doubt their benefits are huge. But we also suffer negative effects.
Among the problems of today’s world are climate change, global warming and increasing pollution. Many conferences are being held, nationally and internationally, to discuss solutions to this environmental issue. Many solutions have been proposed. One is to plant as many trees as possible.
What is a tree? How can we benefit from it? How can it play an important role in the environment?
A tree is commonly described as a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. …Compared with most other plants, trees are long-lived, some reaching several thousand years old and growing to up to 115 m high.
Trees are an important component of the natural landscape because of their prevention of erosion and the provision of a weather-sheltered ecosystem in and under their foliage. They also play an important role in producing oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as well as moderating ground temperatures.
They are also elements in landscaping and agriculture, both for their aesthetic appeal and their orchard crops (such as apples). Wood from trees is a building material, as well as a primary energy source in many developing countries. Trees also play a role in many of the world’s mythologies.
Alfred Joyce Kilmer, American journalist, lecturer and poet, wrote a beautiful poem about a tree:
“I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree.”
The following is a story about how important it is to plant a tree:
Once upon a time a king was passing through fields and was surprised to see a very old man planting a tree. The king stood nearby and asked him, ‘‘Why are you planting this tree?’’
He replied: “For fruit, shade and fresh air.”
The king said, “You are very old, and maybe your health is not very good too, so before it starts giving fruit, shade and fresh air you may pass away. So why do you want to plant this tree?”
The man replied: “Your majesty, I know I am very old and I may not benefit from this tree, but I am not planting it only for myself; I want to plant it for generations to come. I want to give a long-lasting gift to the people who will come after me.
“I believe this tree will be beneficial to mankind. It will be a charity that will last for ages. And as long as people will benefit out of this tree, it will be considered a gift, a good deed and a charity from me to the people and future generations.’’
This story really has a great message – that we should pass something valuable and everlasting for generations to come. We should leave behind us something beneficial, so that when we are remembered people may speak well of us.
Now that the problems of climate change and pollution are increasing sharply, planting trees is more important than ever in human history.
On September 16, Resources Minister George Pullicino attended a tree-planting event held by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat at Salina national park whereby 30 trees were planted, including some olive trees. The olive branch is a symbol of peace and love.
A tree is a gift for life, a gift for generations, a gift liked by all, a gift which has nothing harmful. We can benefit greatly from a tree – from its leaves, fruit, shade and wood. Moreover it gives us oxygen, without which we cannot live.
During its lifetime a tree can absorb 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide. If we have enough trees, it will be a great step forward for our environment.
So, let us all plant a tree, let us take care of trees, and let us save trees, which are a source of life. Let us also serve humanity by planting trees on this beautiful planet.
The Sunday Times: Sunday, 10th October 2010