Trees and Forests
Do you remember the seventies slogan: “Plant a tree in ’73, and plant one more in ‘74”? We were just waking up to the devastating destruction of the rainforests and the loss of trees in our own country. Rainforests are home to an amazing number of animals, plants and insects, from the orangutan to passion flowers, and to small wasps called fairy flies.
Today, there is good and bad news. Deforestation has been massively reduced in the Amazon, but that hasn’t happened elsewhere. Large tracts of tropical forests, which hold vast amounts of carbon, are still being lost in central Africa and in Indonesia, largely due to palm oil production. In the UK the Woodland Trust is celebrating the news that our oldest woods have won much tougher protection from the bulldozers. But warming temperatures are also fuelling huge fires in forests in higher latitudes, such as in the hills around Manchester and in Sweden this summer.
Ed Echlin wrote in a recent article in The Universe, “As Christians, we have a special responsibility to lead our planet to mutual friendship and symbiosis. We have special responsibilities because we are tree people. People and trees go together (Gn. 1.11; 2.9). I am always struck by the beauty and fittingness of the trees growing on road verges and in human parks and gardens. Together they contribute shade, cover, wind protection, food, and gentle climate.”
Trees play an important part in combatting climate change. By protecting and restoring forests, the world would achieve 18% of the emissions mitigation needed by 2030 to avoid runaway climate change. Trees and other vegetation currently absorb around a quarter of the CO2 humans are adding to the atmosphere, softening the potential impact of climate change. We need to cherish trees.
Plant a tree in your own garden, or work together with others to plant trees in a local churchyard, school, or park.
Check out Green Christian’s Rainforest Fund. Could your church raise funds to help protect trees and their interdependent wildlife? We aim to get 100 churches contributing a donation of £100 or more: http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/100churches/
Please use the article above in your local church magazine. You can change or modify it in any way you wish. Below are some photos which are free to use without attribution.