Why Trees ?

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What's so special about trees ?

"Even if I were certain that the World would end tomorrow, I would plant a tree this very day."
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Well, for one, they are being chopped down at a tremendous rate. Especially, but not only, in the Amazon Basin. The whole issue is a bit of a political hot potato, since there are people who say that they need the land cleared in order to live there. It might also be said that our way of life has helped to force them into their current situation. In the process, they are creating huge conflagrations that are so large that they can be seen (and have been photographed) from the Space Shuttle. The issue here is not who is right, but what is right. What is right is that we must not allow this planet to die because of sins of omission or commission on our part. We all have a part to play, and there is a contribution that each of us can make.

The Dalai Lama has this to say about our role in the environment :

When we talk about preservation of the environment, it is related to many other things.
Ultimately, the decision must come from the human heart.
The key point is to have a genuine sense of universal responsibility,
based on love and compassion, and clear awareness

Quoted in "Embracing the Earth" - New Views of our changing Planet,
by Payson R. Stevens and Kevin W. Kelley,
[The dedication in this book says : "May our one Earth become one world". We concur with this sentiment.]
Thames and Hudson, 1992. ISBN 0-500-01543-0.

It has been said that the Amazon Basin is like the lungs of the Earth. It has also been said that a large percentage of the oxygen we need comes from the sea. As with most issues of debate, the arguments are never clear-cut. (There are still people claiming that smoking and lung-cancer are not clearly linked yet - it's not worth buying into that debate at all. One might simply make the observation that the human mind, ingenious as it is, is capable of fully justifying and supporting anything).

Even if a lot of the oxygen we need for breathing does come from the sea, it is an indisputable fact that the Amazon Basin also provides a very large percentage of the air we breathe. Cutting down these trees makes about as much sense as chopping out your own lungs. According to David Suzuki, if memory serves correctly, the rate of cutting down of rainforest (!) trees in the world is currently about one ACRE per SECOND !!! To get an image of this, David Suzuki suggests the following : "Imagine a dinosaur with one-acre feet, trampling through the forest, taking one step per second, flattening trees as he goes". It's a horrendous picture, which gets even worse when you consider that it takes a human lifetime to grow some of the hardwood trees. In fact, the world's oldest trees are several thousand years old. (According to the Guinness Book of Records, 1993 Edition, the World's oldest recorded living tree is a bristlecone pine named "Methusela", growing at 3,050 m (10,000 ft) on the California side of the White Mountains in the US. It is confirmed to be 4,700 years old. [They must have had fun counting those rings !] ). Even radiata pine takes about 10 years to mature. One should also consider that radiata pine is hardly a high-quality wood and, being a conifer, this tree has nowhere near the leaf surface area (and therefore oxygen-generating capacity) of a hardwood tree. For more info. on bristlecone pines, see "Bristlecone Pine - Oldest Known Living Thing", by Edmund Schulman, National Geographic, March 1958, pp. 355-372.

Let's consider what one acre of tree destruction per second means. One acre is about 4,046 square meters. If one tree takes up 10 square meters of ground space, then one acre could contain up to 400 trees. So the Earth is losing up to 400 trees per second at the moment. That's 400 x 86,400 (seconds per day), or a total of up to

34,560,000 trees per day !!!

It has been said that when the Earth gets down to 2/3 cleared land (ie. 1/3 tree population), the situation will be irreversible. This will be bad for us and bad for the trees. Bad for us, because we will simply cease to exist as a "civilisation". Bad for the trees, because they will get awfully lonely without us !

In the Engineering Group, we have taken note of the oft-heard motto : "Think globally, act locally". What that means to us is that we may not be able to replace an acre of trees per second, and we may think that we cannot single-handedly change the world. However, doing nothing will achieve nothing. We must at least do what is within our capability. Our actions have far-reaching repercussions, far beyond our imagining.

There are many things which we can do to improve the planet. In our case (the Engineering Solutions Group), one thing which we can do is to plant some trees to help a dying Earth. With YOUR help, we can make a difference. Even if you are not in the market for our products, there are several things YOU can do :

Here are some further thoughts from "Embracing the Earth", the book referenced above and in our list of planet resources :

And consider these further facts from the "How and Why Wonder Book of Trees" in our list of planet resources :

No one person can remedy all, or maybe even any, of the above issues.
But, together, we can make a difference !

Please let us know what YOU think about this important issue.
Email :

Contact Details
Autoscan Systems Pty. Ltd.

Street Address : 4/293 Bay Street, Brighton 3186 Victoria Australia
Postal Address : PO Box 112, Ormond 3204 Victoria Australia
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