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Feb 15, 2015 5 Min Read

What does “Tree” mean to you?

When you think of a tree, what resonates within your being? Just stop and think about it for a second… is it simply a giganteus plant that provides shade. For others, it may just act as a resource to provide a quick income. Well, to some degree this holds truth but a tree should mean much more that. When I think “tree”, this is what strikes me:

T: Transformation

How does a tree bring about transformation? Look at it this way, wherever there have been large expanses of land that have been deforested, it results in decreased water tables within the ground, degraded soil quality, likelihood of desertification, reduced biodiversity, just to name a few. This is negative transformation. With every tree that you plant and nurture, the transformation is greatly positive. A tree protects the soil, absorbs carbon and gives off water. A tree can help to contribute to harmony between people and the environment.

The sapling of a loquat tree - a kind of fruit tree
The sapling of a loquat tree - a kind of fruit tree

R: Restoration

Every single tree has the potential to restore the vital eco-systems so intertwined with the health of communities. Just imagine how much potential a whole forest of trees has! Reforestation and actual care and protection of trees can help to restore the environment from the negative effects of deforestation, contributing to the sustainable future of generations to come. The restorative effect of trees is evident in the fact that they are grown from a simple seed, they are a gift from nature unto nature – our role is simply to nurture the seed.

E: Ecological Balance

Ecology deals with the relations of organisms to one another and to their physical surroundings. Trees are tied to the capability of our planet of maintaining its own balance by providing vital services for a whole assortment of organisms – from the birds of the air to the fish in the rivers. I believe trees affect how all organisms relate. On one hand, man can stand to protect the trees. On the other hand, man might act out of greed and exploit the environment, valuing the gain from senseless destruction above his community.

Thompson Falls in Nyahururu, Kenya
Thompson Falls in Nyahururu, Kenya

E: Earth

Lastly, every tree that we do away with in an unsustainable way leads to the failing health of the earth. Think about it this way, if cells within our bodies were to begin dying one by one, eventually our health will be so affected leading to death. Every tree within our planet should be regarded as a cell. If the circumstances are right, then similar to a cell dividing itself and growing in number, then trees just as well will multiply, thus securing the earth’s health. Trees are pillars of stability and health in a world in constant flux.

Without trees, we compromise our future on this planet.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the late Nobel laureate and environmental activist Wangari Maathai:

“In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious with the relationship we see today between human rights, democracy and peace” Wangari Maathai

What Does “Tree” Mean to You?

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  1. Trees mean joy!

    Dickens Likhanga
    • Dickens Likhanga
    • Mar 9, 2015
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  2. These are great comments! David I especially like your note about culture and religion. For me trees mean LIFE! I am presently sitting on the shores of Lake Victoria, soaking in the refreshing breeze under the canopy of an acacia, drinking a blend of mango and avocado juice. All these things – shade, fruit, the cool breeze; they all have something to do with trees. Trees are beautiful, life-giving and indispensable!

    Daniel
    • Daniel
    • Feb 20, 2015
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  3. All those are accepted meanings of trees but as a village boy growing up in the village, trees also meant culture and religion, i can remember sitting under a huge mango tree during our Sunday service. What do you think about people starting to view trees as places of worship? do you think tree logging will reduce?

    • david oyaga
    • Feb 17, 2015
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    • David, you’d be happy to know that a great deal of effort is being pushed towards incorporating various religions into conservation advocacy. There are courses being offered in some universities on ecology and religion.

      • Robert
      • Feb 18, 2015
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  4. Tree means life, beauty, shade, fresh air. ‘Tree’ is the heritage I want to leave for my children and grandchildren. I owe them that much.

    • Liz Wasirimba
    • Feb 16, 2015
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  5. A tree means tomme a future for my 10 grandchildren, it also means that it might save our world. We plant trees in our garden every yearno matter what. Trees are the very life of the earth.

    • Susan Drake
    • Feb 16, 2015
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  6. Tree- brings to mind: Fresh. Life. Shelter.
    Majesty.

    • Diane Omondi
    • Feb 15, 2015
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