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Saving trees for Earth, and its day of importance

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I’m unnerved when I hear that morbid sound of trees being dismembered, limb by limb, until they’re pulverized into sawdust.

It’s a racket outside my office window in Darien this morning. In the backyard of a home that abuts our parking lot, I can see a red band tied around the trunk of the huge tree, which a tree cutter in a cherry picker kills, branch by branch, without ceremony.

I don’t know why people so easily kill trees, but it’s done with reckless abandon, and watching each limb cut and remain suspended in the air for a while incenses me.

Last weekend, I heard the same jarring, tree-killing sound of a chainsaw in a neighbor’s yard on McKinley Street in Rowayton, and the weekend earlier, it interrupted a visit to a friend’s home in Hilton Head, South Carolina. There, a neighbor had a beautiful, gigantic tree removed just hours after we sat on my friend’s porch admiring its few branches that formed an umbrella over us. We had imagined the home it provided to birds who nest in it and as well as the insects they fatten up on, and all the other animals it provides shelter and food for. It was simply lovely and rooted just a few hundred feet from the ocean’s edge.

Maybe the neighbor called for the tree’s execution in advance of hurricane season; we haven’t a clue, but it was an assault ignorant of the tree’s importance. The neighbor was also oblivious to the benefits of an urban tree canopy, and anyone’s commitment to being stewards of trees, birds and wildlife. That neighbor never considered a conflict with anyone over the removal of a tree, or why there needs to be an open discussion about how crucial it is to leave healthy trees standing to combat the climate crisis on a planet more and more crowded by humans and their consumptive habits.

Trees are the planet’s lungs. They help tackle climate change as they absorb carbon dioxide and clean the air. When we chop healthy trees down, they release the carbon dioxide they had stored.

They also absorb rainwater, prevent soil erosion and cool a surrounding area by providing shade.

The question to ask for Earth Day is how do we increase the awareness of the benefits of an urban tree canopy in every community? We start by acknowledging that trees are not objects that are ours to kill, and that killing them is as bad for the Earth as our reliance on fossil fuels. And we need to fight for better protections for trees from local officials.

As author Margaret Renkl says, “Trees are living, breathing beings whose green leaves belong not to us, but to all the orders of insects who use them as a nursery.  Their broad limbs belong not to us, but to the nesting songbirds and raptors,  Their flowers and drupes and nuts and berries feed absolutely everybody.  And a tree’s shade belongs not to us, but to the furtive bobcat making its shadowy way through our cacophonous world.”

 

Priscilla Feral

President, Friends of Animals

7 comments

Piberman April 19, 2022 at 4:45 pm

A “tree person” plants seedlings, takes care of the ones under your control, encourages “tree culture” on public lands, visits the great eastern forests, e.g. Adirondacks, White Mountains, Pisgah Nat’l forest in George.. Learns how to identify trees by their bark and leaves.

Serious tree persons live in wood homes where all the windows, moldings and doors are stained and varnished. Never painted. Together with all wood stained floors. And really love to work with wood. Building furniture, etc.

Lets not forget without trees the Americas would have remained “undiscovered” and we’d still be living in caves. A world without nests.

In a City where no one objects to our Supt earning $300k + maybe our Leaders can arrange to plant a few hundred new trees each year. And protect Cranbury Park – home to one of CT’s remaining original forests.

M Murray April 20, 2022 at 6:19 am

That’s the beautiful thing about owning property. You get to decide what is best use for your enjoyment. Sometimes it is the shade of the tree, and sometimes it is the light of the sunshine and the clear and open space. Sometimes it is the freedom of worry that a tree will come down on your house. Let the property owner be free to decide what is best for their own property.

Piberman April 20, 2022 at 5:31 pm

To M Murray:

I’ve noticed the “Greens” suggest we shouldn’t make fires lest we add to pollution on the same grounds we ought give up fossil fuels. Greens would have us let downed trees remain on the ground and rot. Ignoring a “discussion” in forestry circles some decades ago about whether “healthy management” of our national and commercial forests required removing sick and downed trees or letting nature take its course leaving the forests undisturbed. Ultimately the forestry experts carried the day recommending that proper forest husbandry means keeping forests healthy. By and large suburban homeowners follow that dictum. Keeping their trees healthy, removing dead/diseased limbs and dead trees.

To those whom love trees and the forests there’s no greater experience than spending a day at the fabled Sequoia National Park north of San Francisco with trees dating back thousands of years. They are a national treasure – a Cathedral of Living Trees.

Audrey Cozzarin April 21, 2022 at 10:11 am

Thank you, Ms. Feral. Nature, left to its devices, always knows best what is needed on this planet. Who are we to decide who and what should die? We need trees, as it turns out. They clean the air and are part of an ecosystem and I encourage you to learn more and more.

Native peoples in this country had nothing in their culture about “owning” the land. They believed WE belong to the land, not the other way around. It was a foreign concept to them. Their respect and reverence for Nature enabled them to survive. At least until the white man came.

Today, not all of us can see that every tree, the air, the water, every bird, every living thing is precious. Including us humans.

Come on Saturday morning to the “Earth Day Celebration on the Green” ( https://norwalkgreen.com/earthday/ ) to hear a powerful historical speech by a Native American. We have to find our collective way to live in harmony with nature, and by extension, with one another. We are part of the earth and the earth is part of us.

Erica Kipp April 21, 2022 at 1:47 pm

I want to address a popular misconception: trees do not release CO2 when they are cut down, they release CO2 when they are burned. Having said that, when we cut down a tree, we remove an important carbon sink, something that will take in and sequester CO2, in this case in order to perform photosynthesis. Norwalk has a rigorous tree-planting program, but we are constantly faced with more requests than we can accommodate. Therefore, if anyone from common council is reading this, the tree advisory committee desperately needs a budget increase!

George April 21, 2022 at 1:49 pm

Why does Priscilla find it necessary to try to tell everyone how we should live, eat, live with mice and just about every other liberal talking point.

If you stand up to her shall play psychologist and tell you how threatened you must feel.

Sorry Priscilla, I’ll grill up some lamb, cut trees, fertilize my lawn and maintain my property how I want. If you don’t like it to bad. No one tells you how to live so stop trying to tell others that they should live how you want them to.

Audrey Cozzarin April 21, 2022 at 6:53 pm

To George,
I pray that you may see what is really going on. Priscilla has the courage to speak the truth–that humans have created what scientists have named as the “Anthropocene era”, a geologic era recognizing that humans are now changing all aspects of the natural world.

We are not God. Please reflect on this. The earth is not “ours.” We ARE the earth. Killing, cutting, and spilling toxins on the earth is not the way forward, not any more.

Dare I say, Listen to the women!

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