Consider trees. They send their roots into the soil and extend their branches outward. They are fixed in one place yet they reach beyond themselves. In each season they delight us with their colors, blossoms and fruits. They offer shelter to all creatures. The very process of their living gifts earth with the air we breathe. Their giving is all inclusive; there are no distinctions or favorites. Do we notice their variety and all the ways we depend on them? Can we learn by reflecting on their nature? Are we grateful? Do we preserve them?
Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before God.
The fields will be lush and all that is in them and all the trees of the forest will sing.
“This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation. When I look at America, also my own homeland (South America), so many forests, all cut, that have become land … that can longer give life . This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to give us what she has within her.
A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees. Forests create climate, climate influences peoples’ character, and so on and so forth. There can be neither civilization nor happiness if forests crash down under the axe, if the climate is harsh and severe, if people are also harsh and severe. … What a terrible future!
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov
It has been said that trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment rooted in the ground. But they never seem so to me. I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!
Forests … are in fact the world’s air-conditioning system—the very lungs of the planet—and help to store the largest body of freshwater on the planet … essential to produce food for our planet’s growing population. The rainforests of the world also provide the livelihoods of more than a billion of the poorest people on this Earth… In simple terms, the rainforests, which encircle the world, are our very life-support system—and we are on the verge of switching it off.
Charles, Prince of Wales
It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
Robert Louis Stevenson
It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our own life is associated with trees.
The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in their way.
What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.
Forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
The trees are man’s best friends; but man has treated them as his worst enemies. The history of our race may be said to be the history of warfare upon the tree world. But while man has seemed to be the victor, his victories have brought upon him inevitable disasters.
Nathaniel H. Egleston
Now when you cut a forest, an ancient forest in particular, you are not just removing a lot of big trees and a few birds fluttering around in the canopy. You are drastically imperiling a vast array of species within a few square miles of you. The number of these species may go to tens of thousands. … Many of them are still unknown to science, and science has not yet discovered the key role undoubtedly played in the maintenance of that ecosystem, as in the case of fungi, microorganisms, and many of the insects.
Edward O. Wilson
I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all.