Trees share with mankind a purpose in the universe: to grow into life, in all its beauty and in the peace of sharing. They settled on Earth millions of years before mankind, on a hostile planet that had unstable temperatures and a lot of geological activity; evolving from simple bacteria into complex species, slowly transforming an atmosphere of unbreathable gases into oxygen, providing the main element for other life forms to develop. Here's the first gift from the trees to mankind: breathe!
Then, on those first sterile soils, trees grew patiently on the development of organic mater: as they grew, absorbing sunlight and carbon dioxide, they turned this elements into matter though a energy efficient process called photosynthesis. This energy efficient process is actually the basis of life on earth. It's a simple fact that we don't think about much: the growing and decaying leafs are the foundations of food for every living animal on the planet, including us, the human specie. Here's the second gift from the trees to mankind: eat!
Trees grow skywards, looking for the sun, expanding their inner walls every year, with the same loving patience that rules their life. From their heart, that runs strong from the roots into the branches that reach space, trees keep getting bigger every year, until when, struck by a skillful human hand, they are transformed into something else. A tree becomes a house, a barn, a tool, a table, a ship, a chair. A tree becomes a fine raw material for the expression of purpose, beauty and art into life. Here's the third gift for mankind: work! Build! Create!
Trees teach us about diversity. Differences are not an excuse for conflict, as we misunderstand today, but are important for growing together. A big tree helps the other smaller plants grow below him, allows life in the form of birds, reptiles and other animals live under its shelter, and many of them, besides nurturing through fruits or foliage, or giving precious fibers, give also precious medicines, which have helped mankind stay away from danger, preserve life or to extend it. Coming from the American, Asian, or African jungle, from the forests, from the different places abundant in biodiversity, the trees remind us of their fourth gift for mankind: care!
But we have neglected many of this precious information and love that trees give us. Instead of recognizing that they have evolved more than us, we cut them, burn them, waste them and even try to modify them with the pretentious vision that we can “improve” them. Mankind has been irresponsible with the use of trees as has been with many of the other gifts he has on earth. We have replaced our forests, jungles and mangroves for battlefields in which we have already lost. But we can still build up part of the complex puzzle of life with the pieces we have left scattered. On the brink of colapse we can still make a pause to redesign our relationship with trees, with earth, with water, with ourselves. Here's the fifth gift for mankind: share!
In this World Environment Day start thinking of the trees you have used, so that you can start planting and caring for trees if you haven't already. If you had, start planning for those trees you will plant and care next, those trees you want near your life, as the guardians and witnesses of your pledge for a better future.