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Arbor Day 2021: Only God Can Make Trees

Do you still recall the poem entitled, “Trees” published 100 yrs ago (1913) by Alfred Joyce Kilmer, an American writer and poet? I still remember this in my younger days – a simple poem yet well written that acknowledges God as creator of trees. I recall we were asked to memorize this poem and the few lines that stuck me the most were the first, mid and the last parts of the poem, as follows:

  1. “I think that I shall never see
    A poem lovely as a tree”
  2. “A tree that looks at God all day,
    And lifts her leafy arms to pray;”
  3. “Poems are made by fools like me,
    But only God can make a tree.”

As mentioned in my previous blog, re. Earth Day, the month of April is filled with flurry of events promoting the protection of our Planet Earth and its environs, the last of which is Arbor Day which is being held today (April 30th). One of the primary objectives for holding said events is to create and bring awareness on how important it is to preserve and safeguard nature such as plants and trees not only to the surroundings where we live but also to our well being. Said events are also needed to gather people who support and advocate for this cause. The Arbor Day Foundation and the Trees For the Future are non profit organizations which are pro-actively advocating for this cause, especially in areas where Covid-19 pandemic is not that bad. In Africa for instance, these groups are planting 13 million trees to stop desertification in the Sahel and to keep the Sahara Desert from expanding farther south. Another activity they took was to partner with Snoopy to plant 100,000 trees based on their engagements in Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. For every photo of a tree posted in the said social media platforms with hashtag Arbor Day (#Arbor Day), they will in exchange plant 1 tree for each post of their followers or anyone.

Unfortunately, the world is still suffering from Covid-19 pandemic, as such not everyone can undertake earth day related activities (specifically group tree planting, etc.) particularly at this point in time. Surprisingly, Arbor Day in the Philippines is said to be celebrated in June, less than 2 months from now (no idea why it is different from other countries e.g. United States, when the former celebrates Earth Day in April too). Hence, this blog, to give you some tips and thoughts on how we can contribute to make our Mother Earth clean and safe in general:

  1. Certainly, almost everything begins at home or starts from home, within our respective families. The parents being the head of the family have the primary duty to teach their children on how to make their surroundings clean and healthy. Activities such as biking, recycling, reusing, and avoiding buying unnecessary things are just a few to mention. Kids nowadays are being taught in school on how to recycle things (e.g. soda aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles) so it wouldn’t be hard for the parents to ask them to help out sort the garbage for recycling or not.
  2. With the pandemic still lurking in the air, we can do simple things to help the environment, especially those who are fortunate to have vacant lots and spaces in their front and back yards. Members of the family can bond together and do gardening during their spare time. Well, some of my siblings who have enough spaces are into these kind of activities even prior “plantita” and “plantito” were coined. They have been endowed with plants (flowers and vegetables) and beautiful garden to enjoy with. And so, we can also start growing our flowers, vegetables, herbs, and fruits, so we can appreciate them all year round. It doesn’t have to be done outdoors, especially if we don’t have a garden space, growing plants indoors is an option but we just have to invest in plant boxes and containers to make the project successful.
  3. For sure, there are groups of environmentalists in our area where members of family or anyone can volunteer in certain activities in the community such as tree planting. These activities can be fun not to mention the worthy cause and the chance to meet new faces and friends in these gatherings. Planting a tree as we may know has awesome benefits in the long term. It does not only beautifies our neighborhood but it also keeps the air clean. We all know that trees give off oxygen for humans to breathe, and this is how trees play a vital role in our everyday lives.
  4. Participate in any fundraising activities for environment related projects. We can also join groups and support them in any way we can. We can help them by informing everyone about their work using our social media platforms or even writing about it in our own webplaces, as part of info campaign on environment related projects and events focusing on its impact on us and other living things.
my sizzy’s ate inday dory’s plants in their backyard
her bamboo trees serve as the backdrop of her beautiful garden oasis
hope you enjoyed seeing them, there are more but for lack of space….

Going back to the poem “Trees”, we have been made aware that all the beautiful living and non-living things are God’s creations. Just like humans, trees as depicted in Kilmer’s poem do pray to God too, perhaps for good health and to spare them from calamities, wildfire, typhoons and tsunamis. The poem is sending us a message that the earth and its environment (e.g. trees, flowers, birds, insects, mountains, etc.) are God’s gift to all of us, thus we have to have such great respect for them. Just like other God-given gifts and talents for us, we are expected to nurture and enhance these gifts, the environment where we live. While God is the only one who can make trees (and other plants) with just a click of a finger, so to speak, we are however given the know-how and the responsibility to learn about it, to develop, grow and propagate, and to protect and take care of them as well.

You may have some other thoughts, let us know so we can share it with others too. For sure, taking care of our planet and its environment should neither be a burden nor be done only for one day. In fact it should be a lifetime commitment. If we have been so lukewarm about environment related advocacies, hopefully we will try our best to actively participate from now on and start rolling our sleeves and get to grow plants and trees on our own or get to cooperate and work with the rest of the e-group.

the backyard where we are, filled with trees and where football is the name of the game
and where we can sing with the birds that perch on our windows and where we can view various hues of the sky, sunrise and sunset! Such a beautiful environment! Thank you God.

Have a great day everyone!

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