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Environment: Let’s put more value on trees

Owing to the crazy turn of events in Zimbabwe for close to a decade before 2009, after which things started to somehow show some semblance of positive change as a result of the established coalition government, the services sector faced collapse and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) was certainly no exception evidenced by the blackouts we were subjected to everyday, with some areas going for weeks on end without getting any supply whatsoever.


Those who could afford it purchased inverters and power generators in a bid to keep their lives going but most of the impoverished people in the country found these “essential” gadgets way beyond their reach and were left with no choice but to turn to firewood, which they did at an alarming rate.

What then boggles my mind is how, after benefiting so much, we fail to show a little love and appreciation for the organisms that literally save our very lives.

What is even more vexing is how the people that benefit the most from the trees do not feel inclined to at least do a little something towards preserving them, say planting a tree every now and then or at least every time they bring down some.

One fact we now have no choice but to face is that if we continue to cut trees at the current pace without taking the initiative to replace them, not too long from now we are going to face a serious case of deforestation and I do not need to tell you just how badly such a scenario would impact us.
Wouldn’t it be such a pity if our children’s children were not to enjoy the vast variety of tree types that we do today because we would have destroyed them all? Or, to deprive them of enjoying a healthy environment because we would have destroyed the best air purifiers?
I have outlined a few of the benefits trees present for us so we could better appreciate them.

Purifying the air
Tree leaves absorb carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide, greenhouse gases deposited into the air we breathe every day, mostly as a result of industrial activities. As a result, they produce oxygen which human beings and animals depend on for survival. This is why trees have often been referred to as “the lungs of the environment”.

Firewood and cooking charcoal
During this age of load-shedding in Zimbabwe, have you stopped to think how it could have been for most of us if there weren’t any trees left from which to source firewood? People in rural areas, the majority of whom have no access to the little electricity occasionally enjoyed by their relatives in urban areas, have relied on the trees for firewood for many years and would have a torrid time if ever the trees were no longer at their disposal.

Making furniture
Business for people in the furniture industry heavily depends on the availability of a wide range of tree types such as the mahogany. As the demands for more furniture keep rising, more trees will undoubtedly continue finding their way to the carpenter’s workshop.

Source of medicine
The buds, the bark and the tree leaves are all used in the making of different medicines. Although chemists today now mostly
use pharmacology (knowing how medicines work in the body) to make medicines, a lot of the ideas were derived from natural sources like plants and trees. 

A source of shade
If you live in Africa I am sure you would not make the mistake of underestimating the power of the shade and I will have to say the tree shade has proven to be the best source of shade, and the cheapest if I may add. With global warming upon us, believe me when I say we are going to need a source of protection from what promises to be a scorching kind of heat. So you might want to start on a serious tree-planting exercise in your home, neighbourhood and workplace if you know what’s good for you.
Trees are further used to make clothing, baskets, rafts, fences, paper and glue and to make carvings and artifacts among their many other uses. Not to mention the natural beauty element that trees add to our environment. Our lives would lose much of its beauty and natural appeal without them.
Hence when we plant or take care of trees, we are actually doing ourselves a big favour as every single one of us benefits. Shouldn’t it therefore be everyone’s duty to plant and take care of trees that exist so that they can better cater for us?
Let’s do the responsible thing and place more value on these organisms if we want to have a healthy future. Let us also make sure we leave future generations some of the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.

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