So, then, what have trees ever done for us? Really, I mean, they’re just there aren’t they. They just stand and do nothing. They shed leaves in the autumn, that’s a pain and when they fall over they do damage, damage to houses and cars. People slap TPO’s on them that’s infuriating too. They block out the sun as well.
I have heard all these statements over the years, as a field teacher with the RSPB, from adults and children. As a landscaper and designer, from adults, as a teacher and support worker from children mainly, but also staff. From children I guess it’s understandable to an extent, it is our job to teach them or at least help them to understand. However, when we hear it from adults that means that either those of us that know and understand, never mind care, have failed in many cases.
We are of course, not all to blame, often as adults we get distracted by the wrong things. It’s all too easy though. We all get attached to stuff, and stuff costs money, and we as we attached to more stuff we need more money and before we know it we are on a downward spiral and lose sight of what’s really important. Throw in a healthy dose of ‘it won’t happen to me’ and it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important.
This observation got flagged up once again for me whilst leading a View Over the Wall Experience a couple of weeks ago. One of my favourite bits of old industry reclaimed by nature was fenced off and about to become houses! The old railway line at Betteshanger Colliery. I have been talking, OK ranting, a bit, ever since. I put up a constructive and positive reel onto social media, including Tictok about how maybe the best way to combat this problem was not to fight the developers, rarely are these fights won. They don’t generally become public knowledge until the damage has been done.
A follower on tictok put up the following on my reel, ‘oww and remind them how good it (the countryside) is for them too – like how trees breathe ‘out’ oxygen for us to breathe in and how our oxygen is converted into carbon dioxide when we breath out and the trees breathe in this carbon dioxide… how we need them – this might help save the trees too.’
So, let’s take the fight to a different battleground. Our own gardens!
The total acreage of gardens in the UK and probably the world is larger than the space occupied by all the nature reserves put together. If we are to stop the world becoming Coruscant (ref Star Wars) then we must mobilise ourselves.
Let’s wrap the new developments in a life-giving force, nature! TREES!
What have trees ever done for us? Well, as it says above, they take energy from the sun, for now a renewable energy source, and using photosynthesis, convert that energy into a process that takes in carbon dioxide and releases Oxygen. We need approximately 16% of the air we breath to be oxygen or we don’t work properly and we convert a lot of it into carbon dioxide. If the tress didn’t convert it back we would have increasing problems with the ozone layer, the planet gets hotter and we all die. Simple as that. As we can already see that speed that the earth is heating up is rising and that process is speeding up. End result is obvious.
Not just Coruscant, but dead planet.
What have trees done for us, they keep us alive.
THEY KEEP US ALIVE!
Never mind that they are the most efficient machines on the planet, they pump sap all the way from below the ground to the top of their tallest branches and leaves with out the help of a computer or a combustion engine. Show me anything else that can do that.
Listen to a tree with a stethoscope, you can hear the heartbeat! Trees have heart!
Or that just spending time with trees, if you are of receptive mind might just be the single most effective cure to may mental health and welfare problems.
They come in so many different shapes and sizes and provide homes for so many creatures, often including us, providing shelter, smells and food at a more basic level.
Look at them from a distance. They are the most amazing selection of shapes, standing tall on our landscape. If you look carefully, they can also show us the way too.
We can carve and create the most amazing ornaments and furniture using the wood from the branches and trunks, enhancing our lives in so many ways…
Show me the person whose life has not been enhanced by living with threes in one way or another. If the world seems intent on cutting them down then the best way to counter that is plant one, and where best, in your garden! (Just not too close to your house).