Earth Matters by Jacqueline Milner – 2011 is the Year of the Forest – January 30 – Cornwall Ontario

Cornwall ON – 2011 is the International Year of the Forests.  I was surprised to find out about this information in a meeting last week. Astonished, because trees play an important part in my life as they do yours whether you know it or not. I was wondering why I had not heard about this some time ago.  Obviously trees are very important to our world and our survival. I find it shameful that the United Nations has to bring such a reminder to the forefront of our minds to get our undivided attention. So because this 2011 is the Year of the Forests and the 41st year that we celebrate Earth Day perhaps from this day forward we can start to consciously live cleaner, do better to incorporate practices which treat our earth, our environment as we would our child, our brother, our mother or friend…with love and respect.

Can you picture your community without trees and forested areas?  Where would the birds nest and rest?   No more apples, pears and lilacs?  Imagine a childhood without a tree to climb or swing from.  No cool place to rest under on a hot sweltering day.  Where would the woodpeckers and nuthatches peck?  Where would the caterpillars crawl and build their woolen nests? Where would the deer and wolves hide and rest? How we would miss the songs of birds, bugs and the wind’s duet with leaves in each of our days.  These are simple wondrous gifts that fill our hearts, eyes and soul with beauty and sanctuary.

Trees and natural wild spaces are as crucial to me as air itself.  Seeing mature trees, brush, and buffer zones cut down in the name of progress is most disheartening.  I believe this is done with little consideration, or understanding, of the benefit that these entities provide us with and the numerous species that depend on them for food, cover, clean air and water.

Chief Seattle said that “All things are connected.  Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth.  Man did not weave the web of life.  He is merely a strand of it.  Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

I guess we could construed this to mean that continuing to clear cut forests is akin to cutting our legs out from underneath us. The United Nations would like us to take an all encompassing view of the benefits trees provide for us.  “Forests provide shelter to people and habitat to biodiversity; are a source of food, medicine and clean water; and play a vital role in maintaining a stable global climate and environment.  All of these elements taken together reinforce the message that forests are vital to the survival and well being of people everywhere, all 7 billion of us.”  Furthermore, forests are essential to the survival of all life that shares this earth with us.

All this being I encourage our readers to initiate a project or new way of being in the world that can benefit our wild spaces which will in turn benefit lives and quality of life around you.  Let us know about your special project.  Our readers would like to know and we would love to share it with them.  You can share this information below or to earthmatters@cornwallfreenews.com

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