ENVIRONMENT | ECONOMY
Yes, World, There is (Some) Hope to Sustain Humanity
By realizing the actual economic value of a tree.
Imagine sitting in a park with trees un-present. All that you witness around is skyscraping buildings. Sirens of unending traffic. And everything that makes your park experience distant from the natural environment. You miss trees.
In addition to that, the luxurious attitude of the pop culture where ruthless cutting of trees in the name of development has been significantly impacting the living of the human states. Perhaps, none of us would want to live in an environment where the landscapes lack the serene view outlined by trees.
Almost everyone knows that living plants and trees are valuable resources. It sustains humankind. But, we must not measure the economic value of a tree from only materialistic viewpoints. We must realize the lifetime contributing worth that the trees shower upon us.
Trees purify our atmosphere. They take in the carbon dioxide. Manufactures life-sustaining oxygen. They beautify our surroundings. Trees control erosion of the soil. Replenish the groundwater table. They provide cooling shade in summers. During chilly winters, trees help in reducing the wind flow. Even a few trees in neighborhoods are an essential focal point for family recreations and foster a deeper understanding of the environment.
Numerous studies have indicated that the presence of trees and urban nature can improve the physical and mental health of an individual. In fact, children with the view of trees are more likely to succeed in school. Trees in the urban centers or even rural areas also add to the property values. Trees, thus, play a crucial role for people and the planet where both intrinsic and real economic growth thrives through the mutual coherence between humans and ecology.
Despite the ushering influence of trees on the sustainable development of the human community, many governments remain forced to uproot these trees in the name of developmental projects. To a certain extent, advances as such are pretty understandable. The misery crops up when development at the cost of cutting trees invites a rising number of direct and indirect challenges.
When a tree is cut down, the damage inflicted remains permanent, and to the very extent, their negative impacts are irretrievable immediately. Besides that, their dampening effects remain not only a personal loss. It is a loss where the entire community has to share the undesirable impacts equivalently. Also, the magnitude of the loss remains incalculable.
“A disappearing plant species can take with it 10 to 30 dependent species, such as various species of insects, higher animals, and even other plants,” as mentioned by Peter H. Raven, an American botanist, and environmentalist.
Introspecting the tree loss cover on a massive scale worldwide perpetuates in me a state of anxiety. At a cognitive level, it makes me wonder about what will be the plight of future generations if the wiping of trees continues. Residing in the suburban area, I hardly get to witness tall lush green trees lined up or even visit a forest like the ones observed in Mangroves of The Sunderbans. Even in the countryside where my forefathers are residing, trees are getting uprooted for agricultural expansion, facilitating pipelines, powerlines, and henceforth.
From the developmental perspectives, tree chopping pinpoints like an attempt to modernize the rural areas into urban hamlets where only lifeless buildings exist. During the critical Pandemic episode, we realized how nature extends its warmth and helps us heal issues from the core. Where some countries are still battling oxygen supply shortages, the real value of oxygen birthing from the natural ecosystem like trees and other living plants gains the upper hand.
“The value of a tree or a tree’s monetary worth is its age multiplied by Rs. 74,500,” as per a recent report. It clearly demonstrates that planting a few saplings in place of a 100-year-old tree cannot be equated with the real value generated by the old trees. The simple reason is that the older the tree gets, the greater is its heritage value. Also, we name it economic value. With that, the monetary worth of all the trees differs. A timber tree’s value will differ from that of mahogany. And so on in case of other trees.
The above mathematic stresses that irrespective of anything we must protect every tree from being chopped off because the fresh saplings cannot replace the old worth produced by age-old trees. Simple.
Although the price-worth might remain subject to futuristic changes, what’s vital for us to note here is it’s high time we must start conserving the trees. Let development happen but not at the cost of rampant tree cutting. After all, we are not the sole inhabitants here. Even wild animals, birds, and various plant species share equal rights over the planet. At no cost, we, the social creatures, must disturb their living ecosystem, be it terrestrial, forest, grassland, desert, or marine. Each species must cordially exist in the growth pyramid.
After realizing the tree’s intrinsic worth, are we still going to hold an ignorant attitude towards its conservation? The answer rests on your shoulders.
At my level, even though I cannot fully compensate for the previous tree cover losses, at least from the recent past, I make sure to plant fresh saplings every quarter. More than anything, the activity fills me with hope and enthusiasm.
Whether the landmark is a public school, a small colony, community parks, or a small backyard in your neighborhood, invest your little efforts in planting. It doesn’t demand much from you. Instead, whatever you sow, the fruits of your efforts get reaped back fruitfully. Plus, the benefits serve a whole community.
If uprooting an old tree comes across your mind, then instead of cutting it off, one can translocate it. It retains the tree’s value without ending its life.
Development projects like expanding metropolitan cities, the widening of the roads, constructing highways, etc., via cutting of the trees should be reduced. Instead, these activities must be carried out by exploring alternative approaches. One alternate method can be to use the existing railway lines or waterways for the diversion of heavy traffic and so on for other operations.
All in all, we must pay attention to trees. Take care of them and nurture them with our care-givingness. If we avoid the role played by the trees in sustaining humanity, then no sooner will the world collapse. Like the generation gap, we will become spectators to issues generated by the environmental gap.
As once rightly observed by Theodore Roosevelt, “The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value.”