The Day of the Tree
What else is a tree than freedom? Sings Gustavo Cerati in his song “Raíz” (Root). While interpretations are for each one of us to imagine, I like to think of it like a freedom of choice regarding the significance each living being finds in a tree.
For an ecosystem, a tree is a regulator, it exchanges matter and energy. Fall strips it off, providing nutrients to the soil for the spring yet to come… The pine is the wind’s larynx, says John Eastman, North American writer. A bird spends days building his nest; the tree’s roots retain water, helping life to flourish. For a middle class lucky guy, a tree might give him shadow to enjoy a good book at sunset. For the ant, it is his ivory tower.
Cat: Hey, what happened to you? Did you fall?
Enriqueta: Nope… I am observing everything I’ve got.
Cat: How? What?
Enriqueta: I’ve got all of this. The sky. The soil. The air. This isa ll ours.
Cat: We are rich.
However, for an adolescent in the desert, a tree implies the possibility of finding water for his family.
I think this is why my grandfather, Wewo (Jorge Pablo Howard for society), said that today, freedom is an economic fact. The environmental marginalized, who spend the entire day fighting against extreme climatic conditions and a total lack of basic resources for living, are deprived of that freedom; the freedom of relaxing under a tree with no greater worry than following their goals and finding meaning to their life. But they are many those who are deprived of exercising that privilege, just because they don’t have the money. Their life is expropriated.
If the tree is freedom and our society perceives it as an economic fact, then the only thing that matters is the wood I can sell from it to the market, and nothing else. But if trees are truly buffers for environmental detriment, an environmental public policy that protects them should arise.
The organizers of Ecoclub Capital, an organization with more than 20 years of career in environmental awareness, invited us to adhere to a city with strong policies for urban trees. Because of the “Day of the tree”, celebrated in Argentina every august 29th for 111 years now, they wrote a Manifest for the urban tree, which we share with you here, to try and revert a horrible number: the City of Buenos Aires has 1,8 mts.2 of green space per habitant, when the World Health Organization established that the minimum proportion has to be 9 mts.2
In the manifest, several benefits of urban trees are highlighted, as well as some ideas, like the precaution of planting native trees in our ecosystem, in order to try and take it to its natural state.
A lot of little people, in little places, doing little things, can change the world, trusts Eduardo Galeano.
A sincere hug,