Remember climbing trees as a kid? Or having a favorite one in the backyard; pulling, tugging and sometimes even breaking branches to get as high as you could go. Or if you were lucky, you had a tree house to confine in. And most of the time, the tree left its mark, leaving you with scraped knees and hands, but you always went back for more, because you loved that tree.
On any other ordinary day, you decide to go for a climb. As you’re making your journey up to your favorite nook, what if the tree began to talk?
Now this sounds absolutely ludacris, but before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, imagining inanimate objects converging to life, let me explain.
I was in my Environmental Ethics course and we were debating the importance of Environmental Justice, and what responsibilities we play in protecting it, and if we should even protect it at all. Then we discussed one of many environmental concerns, deforestation.
You don’t have to be an expert to know deforestation is occurring. In fact, it’s been happening for decades.
But I bet you didn’t know, the rainforest provides nearly half of the world’s oxygen! 50% of the very element that stabilizes and supports our respiratory system is rapidly depleting.
So, what if trees could talk and more importantly, feel? That means they would encompass sentient or in other words, the ability to feel. To put it more blankly, were tree murderers. It sounds horrific but we should call it what it is. Maybe if we thought of trees as having the same ability to feel as humans, we would respect them more. But you would think we would already respect their presence, for giving us oxygen to breathe, but hey, that’s just me.
I don’t want to go on a philosophical rampage, but an important thought arises from this; if trees give us oxygen and we’re rapidly depleting our oxygen source, what does that mean for the human race? I think you know the answer.
But we still haven’t answered the main question. What if trees could talk?
Before you do answer, flash back to being a kid again. But this time, remember what it felt like to sit in the tree. It was rough but familiar and strangely comforting. You knew the tree was strong enough to support you and sitting there felt secure. If your tree could talk, it would hopefully say happy things. How it loved your company every time you visited, and even though you may have traded a few broken branches for a few cut knees, you weren’t leaving each other.
But what if one ordinary day, someone decided they didn’t like your tree and proceeded to cut it down. The tree would feel pain and so would you.
We can somewhat compare this to what is happening to not only the trees, but species habitats. When you take a trees life you’re also taking a home.
I’ve drawn to some sort of conclusion that, if trees could talk, maybe deforestation wouldn’t even be a concern. If trees could talk, maybe they would be able to teach us a lesson or two about Environmental Justice and this article would be completely irrelevant. If trees could talk, maybe we would obtain new found friends every where we turned. But trees don’t talk and to our knowledge, trees don’t feel. But everyone else is feeling the repercussions of our actions, humans and species alike.
The reality is, trees leave seeds and can reproduce. But once we’re gone, we’re gone. And sadly, I don’t think we’re just killing trees here, we’re killing us.