FROM TIME immemorial, trees have provided us with two of life’s essentials, food and oxygen. As we evolved, they provided additional necessities such as shelter, medicine, and tools.
Today, their value continues to swell and more benefits of trees are being discovered as their role expands to satisfy the needs created by our modern lifestyles.
Trees are an essential part of the natural landscape as they prevent erosion and offer a weather sheltered eco-system by means of their foliage. They also play a role in the production of oxygen and reducing carbon dioxide – too much of which increases the Greenhouse effect, thereby increasing the earth’s temperature to unnatural levels.
Trees also improve the landscape due to their aesthetic appeal. Thus, it seemed strange to me when a few days ago, the residents of Greens, St George, voiced their annoyance for the Silk Cotton tree which is undoubtedly an icon for their community.
Frustrated residents complained that the tree gives off cotton fibres which get in the way of just about everything. And while I would sympathise with those who suffer from sinuses, it is important to note that this shedding happens about once a year and over a short period.
Far too often, humans have refused to simply adapt to Mother Nature and have instead moulded the natural landscape to suit their preferences, whether it’s covering over natural springs or destroying natural coastlines for hotel development.
Obviously the residents of the Greens community were appealing to the over zealous councils of Government anxious to prove that they are active. It only takes a whisper and the Environmental Protection Department might place their mark of death upon a fine specimen.
Many neighbourhoods are also the home of very old trees that serve as historic landmarks and a great source of town pride, such as the Greens community’s Silk Cotton tree. Additionally, architectural and engineering functions are served by your community’s trees.
They frame landscapes, create beautiful backgrounds and enhance building designs. As a matter of fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency states that trees can reduce bothersome noise by up to 50 per cent and mask unwanted noises with pleasant, natural sounds.
Using trees in cities to deflect the sunlight reduces the heat island effect caused by pavement and commercial buildings. The strength, long lifespan and regal stature of the Silk Cotton tree gives it a monument-like quality.
Therefore the residents of the Greens community should see it as a lasting symbol of the strength of their residents and it will hopefully survive both literally and in the folklore of that community.