Tree Hugger

We live in two worlds. In some ways they are at war with each other…and at times the kinder, gentler of them seems to be losing.

A critic of our present day recently said, “Imagine if trees gave off Wi-Fi signals, we would be planting so many trees that we’d probably save the planet too. Too bad they only produce the oxygen we breathe.”

Because of such preferences, the battle lines are drawn.

According to Chip Giller, online journalist and environmental activist, “So-called global warming is just a secret ploy by wacko tree-huggers to make America energy-independent, clean our air and water, improve the fuel-efficiency of our vehicles, kick-start 21st century industries, and make our cities safer and more livable. Don’t let them get away with it.”

OK, so maybe sarcasm isn’t the best weapon, but it sure can make a point, can’t it?

On one side there are the tree huggers trying to “save the planet” and on the other side there are the pioneers of technology, science and modern convenience – the two armies who seem to be falling into ever greater conflict across the planet.

But how about the activists who have been promising us for years – in this ever-busier world – that we can have it both ways… we can have it all?
Can we enjoy all our modern wonders and still keep our planet a beautiful, natural paradise?

Problem #1. Most of us are “whistling past the graveyard,” either in denial the dilemma is real or simply turning away in the hope somebody else will solve the problem for us… if there really is a problem, anyway.

Welcome Arbor Day and Earth Day. As our cover story this week invites you to see, we have also created these wonderful celebrations of all we have to preserve and all we are doing to keep it the way it was created.

The invitation, however, is to more than understanding the issues. It is a call to action,

Problem #2. We’re all just too busy to take action. So here’s where we can start. This won’t take any extra time, it will simply make something better of the time we’re going to use, anyway.

► Hear the wind in the trees. For the techies, it’s called Psithurism, but it’s still worth a beautiful moment while you walk to your car in the morning. Just listen…

► Look up and see the deep blue sea above us and its rolling waves of clouds. Just look up…

► Watch a sunrise and a sunset… just to watch it happen.

If we all merely let ourselves “smell the roses”, even between the driveway and our kitchen door, those problems I mentioned are ready to solve themselves.

It is simply hard to harm what we come to love, or even to watch it happen. In fact, I think we all share a natural instinct to save and protect those things that can move us to awe and wonder.

So, whether it’s because of Arbor Day, or Earth Day, or just because… please give yourself a moment or two sometime this week – even if you have to add a few to your already busy day – to look and listen and smell and touch the wonderful natural world around us. It’s never really very far away.

You don’t have to hug a tree. Just say “Hi” once in a while and notice yourself paying a little closer attention next time somebody wants to shave 10,000 of them off a mountaintop or dump their garbage in a stream or toss something out a speeding car window along the highway.

Maybe we can have it all… if we will care enough to do it right.

Enjoy the day, and of course, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut