11 May 2020
A Moment to Reflect – 12
Picking up on the theme of forests again, the Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote:
“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’s as if he is trying to describe something that he knows is indescribable, a feeling of connectedness with the trees that he cannot explain but which he knows is good for the soul.
Was he aware at that time of just how important trees really are to the life and health of the planet? As we know now, they are in effect the ‘lungs of our world.’ They breathe for the planet- exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But they also do so much more. According to Roger Leakey, “they also function like the skin, heart, kidneys, and intestines of the Earth, while acting as pharmacies, factories, and food pantries for humans.”We know the horrendous and life-threatening damage that the current Covid-19 virus is able to wreak on the lungs and other vital organs of the human body—could it be that through massive deforestation, and other acts of ecological destruction in recent decades, we human beings, have been doing something similar to the ‘lungs of the world’ with similar life-threatening consequences for our planet-home?