This post is for T in the A-Z Blogging Challenge 2012. Link in the sidebar.
Trees are integral to our life on earth:
"The tree breathes what we exhale. When the tree exhales, we need what the tree exhales. So we have a common destiny with the tree. We are all from the earth. And when the earth, the water, the atmosphere is corrupted, then it will create its own reaction."
(More complete quote below)
Yet, despite the understanding that we need trees to provide oxygen and clean the air we breathe, deforestation is increasing at an extraordinary rate. People the world over are concerned at the rate at which the Amazon and other rain-forests are being felled, displacing native peoples and decreasing viable habitat for native animals. We've been warned that not only is this devastating to those peoples and their traditional lands, but that it has negative consequences for the whole planet.
Forests of all types, from the apparently insignificant Mangrove (see M here) to towering Mountain Ash to the vast tropical areas with their astoundingly rich biodiversity, all play a vital part in removing carbon-dioxide from the air we breathe. As forests worldwide are felled, not only are they unable to continue removing the carbon-dioxide we have emitted into the atmosphere, but they release that which they have been storing, adding to the dangerous levels that so concern the bulk of our Earth's best regarded climate specialists.
When forests are clear felled, it impacts on everything nearby. Fruiting trees, glorious flowering plants, nesting birds, animals and fish are all impacted. Where there was a cacophony of diverse birdsong, hoots, chirrups, coughs and vibrant colour, there is less stable soil, burned acres, muddy runoff, pollution from the burning and increased erosion.
Whilst rain-forests appear rich, the soil itself needs the constant addition of falling leaves and debris to maintain the amazing growth. Mono crops, often palm and corn, are planted in their place and generally need the addition of complex fertilisers and pesticides to be viable. The runoff poisons waterways, impacting peoples and their lands many kilometres downstream. The diverse plant, animal and fish communities are unable to return to what is, in effect, barren land.
Why are we continuing on this path which has been of concern for years? In its simplest term ... money. Palm oil is a remarkable substance. Soaps and shampoos wash extremely well when it's added. It's added to sweets, chocolate, breakfast cereals, margarines, laundry and kitchen detergents and moisturisers and more recently added to some fuels. When you start looking it seems to be everywhere, possibly under a different name, but it's there, and it's cheap to produce and valuable to multinationals.
What can we do? Becoming a savvy consumer can be time consuming and it's frustrating to untangle the web of names that are used for palm oil. One local site I use for information and products is chooktopia here.
Indigenous peoples throughout the world have had an understanding of the principles of sustainability, and have lived sustainable lifestyles, for millennia. Floyd Red Crow Westerman, a Hopi Indian elder described the sustainability relationship as one based on an understanding of spirit and the transience of human lifespans. He describes the problems of sustainability as humanity’s inability to live on earth in a spiritual way. He describes that if humanity is not spiritually connected to the earth and does understand the spiritual reality of how to live on earth, it is likely humanity will not survive. “Everything is spiritual. Everything has a spirit… Water is sacred. The Air is sacred. Our DNA is made of the same DNA as the tree. The tree breathes what we exhale. When the tree exhales, we need what the tree exhales. So we have a common destiny with the tree. We are all from the earth. And when the earth, the water, the atmosphere is corrupted, then it will create its own reaction.” The recognition of spirit and the sacredness of our ecology and interconnectedness with the earth and each other is the first bottom line of a quadruple bottom line principle of sustainability.
Quadruple Bottom Line
Spirit + Social + Economic + Ecological
More on the Quadruple bottom line for Q here.here. My bold)
Last year I wrote about Targets and Teachers for T for my theme on workplace bullying Here and a Tense drabble here .