IF A TREE FALLS IN THE FOREST, AND WE KNOW ABOUT IT...

 

If everyone in the United States recycled their newspapers, we would save 500,000 trees: every week! 

 

Let that one sink in.

 

This quote is from the book On Beyond A Million (An Amazing Math Journey), which my young children are currently studying. (Who needs to rifle through reams of Bureau of Statistics data, when ya got the Childrens Library, huh.)

 

Now, the alarming increase in lack of trees globally is causing some major eco-system problems. Not the least of which being: mankinds possible extinction.

 

According to Simon & Schusters Guide to Trees, the process of photosynthesis (which, in large part, takes place in tree leaves), makes the development and preservation of life possible on earth.

 

Let that one sink in, too.

 

Photosynthesis is, basically, a leafs ability to absorb carbon dioxide (which is being emitted all over the place now with the burning of fossil fuels in cars, in factories); and the leafs ability to give off oxygen. A biggie if youre a species that breathes air, like us.

 

The irony is that the current enemy to all this (a few beavers notwithstanding) is none other than: us.

 

Environmental historian Alfred Crosby once asked: Are human beings to be viewed as part of nature, and therefore as a legitimate element of any ecosystem to which they choose to attract themselves? Or are they, because of their inherent selfishness, hubristic sense of superiority and unrivalled capacity for manipulation, an inevitably alien and malevolent (bad) ingredient in ecosystems that have evolved in their absence. (Well, I dont get all my research from Childrens Library sections.)

 

And weve developed all these problems because weve developed an addiction to news (sports, funnies, business) pages; or rather, read: information glut. But its not just addiction to news. The real problem, I think, has been addiction to: anything.

 

Money, for instance.

 

While in Rawlins, Wyoming last year, Bureau of Land Management representative Mark Williams told me the early pioneers essentially clear cut the entire eastern U.S. (never mind the Brazilian rainforest situation), to create, primarily, as much farm land as possible  to be able to make as much money as possible.

 

No thought of conservation.

 

No thought of moderation.

 

Addiction.

 

So what do we do in the here and now?

 

Share newspapers with neighbors and plant trees.

 

Nebraska City, Nebraska (pop. 7,000) is being part of the tree solution. On a trip there several years ago, we learned Nebraska City had established a Tree Board, marshaled a good number of volunteers and have set out to plant 10,000 trees there over 10 years.

 

However, short of a Tree Board and teams of volunteers, all you really need is: a yard, some baby trees, and some time.

 

Time youve saved, perhaps, from the curbing your news addiction by cutting back on reading your newspapers Forum Section, which generally doesnt provide much in the way of things to read, except of course, this column.