Today is National Arbor Day here in the US of A (dates differ in other countries), a day for people around the country to plant and care for trees and if you can’t do that it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the importance of trees and forests. While I make a living thinking about trees, I rarely get a chance to step back and reflect on what they have meant to me. I have loved many individual trees and forests in my life, from those I played on while I was young to those I planted and studied in graduate school, and all have helped shape me and enrich my life. I thought I’d take this opportunity share a few of them with you:
Beyond reflecting on what trees have meant to me personally, I will also be spending part of today thinking the millions of people around the global who rely on forests for their food, shelter, and culture. Forest loss and degradation means more than just carbon emissions and loss of biological diversity, it also means a loss of homes and livelihoods for peoples living in and around forests. In my time at UCS, I have had the privilege of working with folks from groups like Rights and Resources Initiative, Global Witness, Care International and the Center for International Forestry Research who research and campaign tirelessly to see that the rights of forest dependent communities are respected and their homes preserved. These groups do great work and it is worth checking them out.
Go plant a tree!
So, that’s what I’m doing this Arbor Day, what about you? The Arbor Day website lists lots of ways to get involved in tree planting events near you and check out the websites of the groups I mentioned above to find out more about defending the rights of forest dependent communities. And, of course, I’d love to hear your stories about what trees have meant to you. Do you go apple picking every fall? Did you have a tree house growing up? Do you work with forests or trees? If you’ve loved a tree, I’d love to hear about it.
Happy Arbor Day and go plant a tree!