One Less Tree Each Day From Our Window

 

When I was about eight, my Primary School had the wonderful idea that every child would plant a young sapling around the edge of the playground and playing fields.  It was beautiful.  Each child felt a parental bond to their own tree, and would visit it and felt some small sense of looking after it.  Very quickly, the older boys found amusement in kicking the saplings, which were still fragile, scraping off the bark, snapping the branches off, anything they could find to be destructive.  In response, myself and my friend formed Tree Watch.  With the permission and support of one teacher, every playtime and lunch hour, we would patrol the field, protecting and guarding the trees, repairing any broken branches with splints in the hope they would heal, and ensuring no damage was done during the time that everybody was outside.  We made posters and invented slogans, trying to make the other pupils feel the same passion for protecting the trees that we did.  Of-course, some people laughed, but on the whole it was very successful and the trees are still there today, seventeen years later.

Over the past couple of weeks, the golf-course which backs on to my house has felled two-hundred healthy trees from around the edge of the course.  The reason?  They were blocking light on the greens, which interfered with the golfer’s shots.  The trees, which were all fairly young and not thickly populated, are now almost all gone, leaving ugly, scarred land; bare and covered in sawdust.

Towards the end of last year, the environment secretary, Caroline Spelman, revealed the Government’s intention to dispose of half of the 748,000 hectares of woodland run by the Forestry Commission by 2020.  The plan to sell off our forests was planned to generate £100m, and the Government planned a complete overhaul of the Forestry Commission in its review of quangos.

However, this week David Cameron has admitted that he doesn’t like the plan after all.  Ed Milliband asked the Prime Minister, in the Commons, whether he was happy with the plan to sell off the forests.  To laughter, the prime minister replied: ‘The short answer to that is, no.’  He then indicated that the Government would make a U-Turn and back away from the plan.

No doubt referring to the national outrage and remonstration to the idea of losing the nation’s forests, Cameron said;

‘We’ve had a range of interesting responses to this consultation. What is important is that we should be making sure that, whatever happens, we increase access to our forests, we increase biodiversity and we don’t make the mistake that was made under the last government where they sold forests with no access rights at all.’

Perhaps what the Prime Minister is trying to say, using the phrase ‘increase access to our forests’, is that if they’re sold, what will happen to all the people who enjoy Sunday afternoons walking or bike-riding through the forests, or taking their children to play hide-and-seek through the trees?  The forests are our national nature reserves, in the way that Africa has its national parks and Serengeti, America has Yellowstone, Yosemite, and The Rockies.  Our forests are our nature, our natural beauty, all we have.

 

Milliband, valiantly expressing the feeling of the Briton on the street, railed during prime minister’s questions; ‘Even he must appreciate the irony. The guy who made the tree the symbol of the Conservative party flogging them off round this country. He says they are consulting on this policy. They are actually consulting on how to flog off the forests, not whether to sell off the forests. Is the prime minister now saying that he might drop the policy completely?’

After a few feeble attempts at a response from Cameron, which basically amounted to trying to wriggle out of answering on a discourse technicality, Milliband continued;

‘Everybody knows you have to drop this ludicrous policy. Let me give him the chance to do it. Nobody voted for this policy; 500,000 people have signed a petition against the policy. Why doesn’t he, when he gets up at the dispatch box, not say he is postponing the sale but say he is cancelling it?’

The response was a typically Tory attempt at sneering humour; ‘Once again, he read the question before he listened to the answer. I think the bandwagon has just hit a bit of a tree’, totally lacking any sensitivity to the nation’s deep-set emotional involvement in the issue.

 

If our trees continue to be ripped down, a few at a time, from roadsides, golf-courses and parks, and building of new houses and office-blocks continues at the rapid rate it is, what will Britain look like?  What will happen to Arcadia?  Where will be the green, the orange and gold of Autumn, the birds and squirrels to irritate us, the tree-houses in back gardens for a whole generation of children who won’t know how to scrump apples or climb trees?

If we aren’t that bothered by two trees here, four trees there, a few new houses, a bit less grass, here and there, slowly creeping down every street, in every town, how long will it be before it’s all gone? Not long! Do humans honestly believe we can carry on and never reach the end?  Can we continue flattening Brazilian rainforests and English copses, and never come to the end of them?

If we look out of our window each day and see one less tree and one more building, how many days are left before all we can see is grey?

 

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3 Responses to “One Less Tree Each Day From Our Window”


  1. 1 Dave February 16, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Nice post… and I agree on almost all points.

    I would warn you though, against believing that Mr Milliband really cares one jot about our beloved trees. Experience screams at me that this is simply another ‘touch’ in the fencing match that is prime ministers questiontime. A process that seems more about soundbites and point-scoring than it is about genuine democratic process.

    Both Mr Milliband and Mr Cameron are engaged in a battle for the hearts and minds of the people… with many tricks and gambits offered to win such things.

    Mr Cameron will claim brownie-points for ‘listening to the people, something the previous government never did’ and Mr Milliband will claim it as a victory of his own as ‘Mr Cameron was humiliated by public defeat of his party policies’. To them, it’s all very much a game I fear.

    Leaving us… in the middle… hugging our trees.

    • 2 Vikki Littlemore February 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Thank you so much for comment, and taking the time to read my blog.

      I agree with you completely. I don’t think we can believe ANYTHING that any politician ever says, it’s all just publicity and trying to win favour. I don’t think they can ever really be genuine, even if they wanted to.

      Thanks again, I really appreciate the comment.

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Sylvia Plath said; "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences". My aim in life is to find things and people to love, so that I can write about them. Putting words together is the only thing I can see myself doing. This blog is an outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment on posts, or contact me by the special e-mail I've set up (vikki.littlemore@live.co.uk) with your thoughts.


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The New Remorse, Oscar Wilde.

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

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One less tree from our window each day


Vikki's bookshelf: read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
1984
Twilight
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit
The Da Vinci Code
Lolita
Tipping the Velvet
Wuthering Heights
The Picture of Dorian Grey and Other Works by Oscar Wilde
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman
Moab Is My Washpot
The Bell Jar
The Other Boleyn Girl
On the Road
Brideshead Revisited
Revolutionary Road



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