In the modern world of ours even the authorities are chopping down the trees in the name of development. This knol pin points the great damage we are causing to the very existence of human beings by cutting down trees around the world.
Tree’s Role In Global Warming
If the present life style continues, no doubt we will be caught up in this peril. It is upsetting to note that cars, air-crafts, air conditioners, bulbs etc… and the way of life that causes the global warming. If we go on at this rate, the level of heat increases and it will definitely be a great threat to the earth’s species as well as human. Another report says that “the world has just 10 years to reverse surging greenhouse gas emissions or risk runaway climate change that could make many part of the planet uninhabitable.” This is a great warning from the scientist world. They conclude that unless mankind rapidly stabilizes green house gas emissions and start reducing them, it will have little chance of keeping global warming within manageable limits. The result could be a great destruction. The present alarming high rate of oil addiction is a great threat. It is high time that we think seriously for a Great New Deal, that we must start the action needed to reduce green house gas emission before we end up in disaster. We have to seriously consider our present way of functioning and to do something solid to curtail the global warming.
Trees are an integral part of the human race. The benefits we receive from a tree are many. It has been estimated that a palm tree is useful to man in more than 250 ways. It is also estimated that an ordinary tree inhales approximately 14,000 liters of carbon dioxide, and exhales double the quantity of oxygen for human consumption and survival. Sad to say, these days even the civic authorities are cutting down trees in the name of development. But unfortunately, many do not know the consequences of their negligent activities. The massacre of trees means putting an axe to the very existence of human race. No doubt, the continuous felling of trees will cause irreparable damage to the already perishing flora and fauna of our country. The need of the hour is to carefully plan and reduce felling of trees. The truth is that it is more profitable to leave a tree standing than fell it. A recent study says that, “There is a direct loss of over Rupees fifty thousand per year for each tree that is cut or removed from its place. It is also estimated that one tree yields oxygen worth thirty thousand rupees. If we cut trees at the current alarming rate, (Watch the video: The Australian Tree Cutter at the bottom of this knol) soon we will need to install oxygen manufacturing units in every corner of the nations, especially in the urban area which would cost a very high price that no government can afford.
Trees absorb water from the ground, and then through transpiration, transmit this water to air as water vapor. Thus, they help maintain the atmospheric equilibrium. The study says another rupees ten thousand will be spent per tree on the other miscellaneous functions a tree performs preventing soil erosion, providing shade, food, fruit and of course, fuel (provided by the dead branches and manure made of decomposed leaves). In short, the cost of replacing a single felled tree proves expensive indeed! Just calculate the price of the several thousands of trees removed from earth every day all over the world. There is no doubt that this is a serious issue.
What the Religious Texts Says
|A Typical Tree scenery from Texas
Pic. Credit. Jolly Daniel, Portland, Or. USA
Let us have a look at the religious texts in this connection, what it has to say on this:
In the Book of Genesis (the first book of the Bible) after the creation of man, Lord God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”. (Genesis 1:28-29). “He planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:8-9).
|Picture taken by Knol Author/Photo Journalist Vesna Cesnakozelji
used bypermission: http://vesnakozelj.com/gallery-flora
In the Bhagavath Gita (The Hindu scripture), it is mentioned that “A tree’s leaves, flowers, fruits, shades, roots, skin wood, pulp even the charcoal, everything, it gives to humans for their use. In short whatever they have they give it for others and they live a selfless life. How precious and satisfied are their lives”.
In the Padmapuranam, another Hindu Scripture, we read, “The one who plants a tree on the wayside is a blessed man. He receives the blessings from heaven as long as it bears flowers, leaves and fruits”.
The tree was part and parcel of human race from the very beginning. It was so closely connected with human beings. Trees not only connected with human beings but the animal kingdom too depends on trees.
Famous Personalities on Trees:
Poet Kabir wrote “Trees live a sacrificial life; soul body and everything they have they give to others with a sacrificial mind. They are the real munificent, they are the great benevolence. The ones who do service to such trees they receive God’s blessings”.
President Roosevelt said, “How sad will be a childless life! A nation without enough trees and greenery is also like a childless couple”.
|Trees growing in the midst of a tea plantation
at Poopaara, Idukki Dist. in Kerala.
Picture Credit: Bijin Thomas
Jawaharlal Nehru said, “Planting plants and trees and meeting its needs shows a nation’s welfare and wealthiness”.
Goutam Buddha said, “Trees are the best examples of selfless service. For their existence they never demand anything from anybody, instead they provide many good things for the welfare of the people. Even the person who puts his axe on its bottom, it gives him shadow till its fall.
Another famous Malayalam poet wrote:
“The one who pours water with a loving heart to a Banyan sapling, when it grows, it gives shadow to everyone who passes by”.
The Australian Tree Cutter – A YouTube Video
|YouTube Video The Australian Tree Cutter|
| Trees are being killed mercilessly in the forest. The Australian Tree Cutter
Let the people who mercilessly cut the trees take note of the great danger they are causing. Here is a horrifying video which narrates how mercilessly the innocent trees are being killed in machine speed. Watch this video: “The Tree cutter from Australia”.
If this type of felling of trees continues, one can very well imagine the disastrous consequences we human beings are going to face. We need to think seriously on this issue to find a solution soon.
Yet another point to note here is that trees have feelings too like other living beings, it has got its own feelings towards human beings. There are a good number of incidents we can put forward on this line.
Let me narrate one such incident that happened in my own life. This happened many years back and still remains a mystery.
The Pumpkin Mourned a Death
|The Pumpkin Creeper
Days passed by, Chittamma fell sick and died. It so happened that while we were all assembled near her death-bed, sad and morose, that pumpkin, in full view of her, broke itself off the creeper and rolled down from the thatched roof on to the ground below. The fall almost to the minute coincided with her death. Later, this pumpkin was used for her own post death ceremonies on the suggestion of my friend’s father who felt that probably the pumpkin was being kept for this very special occasion. Chittamma’s death and the coincidental death of the pumpkin still remain as a mystery to me.
Few Typical Scenes From My Present Village
|Pictures Credit: Carl Phi|
Here is another similar incidents in response to the above incident after publishing it in a news paper.
Death of Trees An experience of a Reader
These incidents happened few years back. Let me put it in his own words:
“We were living in the village in Bhagatpur district of Bihar State. My father, grand father and uncle planted a mango sapling, a guava sapling and an apple sapling respectively in our family courtyard. Other trees and plants were also growing in the same compound. They have given all necessary care to grow these plants; my mother also actively helped them in watering these plants. It grew well and started giving fruits.
|An Apple Tree
Picture Credit: flickr.com/donsutherland1
These incidents may be amazing and unbelievable to many of you. But no doubt there is some mystery behind the death of these plants and trees.
This type of strange reactions of plants and trees need a little rethinking. May be they are also capable of sorrow and happiness. Sometimes science may not recognize this as fact. There are many references in literature that plants too have feelings. But this is not convincing as poets and writers have a world of their own, where birds and animals’ talk and smile etc.
|A mango tree under the setting sun
At the same time it is more difficult to arrive at a scientific conclusion if our observations are added with emotions and presumptions are drawn with a biased mind.
It would not be out of place to say that plants are at a very low level of consciousness when compared to animals. Pain, pleasure, longing, love, hatred, kindness, contentment and sympathy are the feelings of higher forms of life. Association of higher feelings with a lower level of consciousness sometimes may not appear convincing.
Tree Suicide: A YouTube Video:
Though human beings are trying to eliminate these innocent beings in high speed for their personal interest, the trees love them and extend their limitless service to the human beings till their death.
Yet another interesting fact is that there are some trees which take the extreme steps of suicide. It is believed and established that even some animals commit suicide. “Springbock” animal in the Southern African forests kill themselves. This they do for the existence of their coming generations. Scientists say that they do this for their new generations’ welfare. ‘Spring Bock’ animals are from the deer family, they join in group and suddenly jump into the water and die.
Humans’ commit suicide because of frustrations, love failure, financial instability and even due to dreadful diseases etc.., but these animals, when their number increases they die for the welfare of their coming generations. They are paving the way for their younger ones, this is the scientific communitie’s finding on these animals’ mass death. There are some cases noted that even trees commit suicide. Robin B Foster, from the University of Chicago Press (the chief of biology department in Chicago University) in his ten years research found out that even some trees suicide. A tree named “Rackygaaliya vercikkolor” kills itself a year after its flowering. These trees are mostly found in the island of Baaro Colorado’. In the year 1970 eighteen trees flowered first time and they produced fruits and later suicide. In the year 1974, for study purpose he marked 430 trees out of which 80 flowered and produced fruits and later died. Robin B Foster says, they do this for the existence of its generations.
The Pumpkin story and other death of the trees mentioned in the above incidents shows that they have feelings like human beings.
|Joan K, A Cancer Patient with her book
Instead of being present to feel their feelings we often destroy them for our selfish interests. But there are many exceptions to this, there are a good number of people especially in India give much importance and respect to these silent servants (service providers).
A majority of them in Hindu religion give respect to nature and especially to the trees. Trees have a major role in their daily worship services. In Hindu mythologies trees have been a prominent place and have given deep and sacred meanings. Though it may look strange to some these type of respect is deeply associated with faith. Ancient sacred writings reveal that tree worship was an age old practice in the Hindu religion. Aryans worshiped all kinds of plants and trees, this practice continue to be part and parcel of Hindu worship services till today.
A list of trees and plants worshiped by sacred Hindus
Banyan trees or the Peepal trees (Its botanical name is Ficus religiosa or Ficus benghalensis, is one of the important trees worshiped and featured in Hindu mythology. Peepal tree is also known as “Pilaeshwar Maharaj” (King Pilaeshwar). It also symbolizes the trinity god The Lord Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma. It also denotes life and fertility, this is one of the reason why childless couples take initiative in worshiping this tree. According to the custom this tree should not be cut, and it grows like a giant tree.
|The Great Banyan Tree|
It’s a sacred tree in the Hindu religion, and is worshiped in Chaitra maasa (the first month of the Hindu Calendar)
This tree has a number of medicinal value, and our ancient poets and writers made mention of this beautiful tree in their works. Its flowers, fruits, bark are used for healing different diseases. Especially its bark’s cooling and soothing effect is good to the human body. It is mainly used in Ayurvedic medicines, it improves complexion, relives thirst and burning sensation, expels worms and reduces swelling in the body. It also purifies blood, reduces pain, stops bleeding and gives an energizing effect. This is mainly used for the treatment of excessive bleeding and uterus related ailments.
Here is a home remedy for leucorrhoea: Take the bark of this tree 2 tholas, Milk ½ seers, water ½ seers. Boil them together in low flame till only milk is left out, filter it and give regularly to keep control of the menstrual flow, it maintains a normal level.
Powder this tree’s flowers, mix it with water and take, it is very effective for diarrhea with blood discharge. Ayurvedic books suggest: continuous use of Ashokaarishta (a liquid medicine prepared by using the parts of this tree) is very useful and effective for curing many diseases of women. Take ½ ounce of this tonic, mix it with equal quantity of water and continualy use it after meals. It will stop excessive bleeding in women, reduce leucorrhoea and relive headaches. It is proved and reported that the continuous use of this medicine completely cured leucorrhoea.
Henna Tree (Plant)
|A Henna Plant.
Pic. Credit. hennapage.com
|A Full grown Henna Tree
Pic by Bijin
Anybody knows about this wonderful gift of nature will claim unanimously that it makes any woman beautiful and beautiful one doubly beautiful. It knows no age barriers, no complexion differences, and no regional, caste or creed changes.
|Henna applied hands
Pic. Credit. Muraleedhara Panikar & Nisha
Women-the most sophisticated of them-go all traditional with rich, red mehndi on their hands and feet. This plant grows in hedges and its natural color known as mehndi green, when ground and applied on hand it turns a warm red color.No Indian festival, marriage or any auspicious occasion is incomplete without mehndi giving its final touch. This fascinating beauty and captivating warmth has been existing in the nature ever since man can remember. However, its use as a beauty aid started only in the first century.
| Typical Mango Tree
This is yet another tree to which the Hindus give high respect. Its leaves, fruit and trunk have significant roles in Hindu religious and social ceremonies. The Hindu devotees hang its leaves at their door posts during the time of most of their festivals. It is believed that hanging leaves at the entrance of houses, shops and other business establishments bring good fortune. Its importance is mentioned in the Ramayana, Mahaabhaaratha and puranaas. Mango fruit symbolizes love and fertility. In almost all Hindu religious ceremonies a pot filled with water and topped with fresh leaves of mango trees and a coconut is considered as an important item in the pooja services. The pot symbolizes the Mother Earth, Water the life giver, the coconut the divine consciousness and the mango leaves denotes life. In short the complete set of the pot is called “Poornakumbha” it represents goddess Lakshmi who stands for good luck or fortune.
Mango blossoms are used on Basant Panchami day in the worship of Goddess Saraswasti. The tree is also sacred to the Buddhists because it is believed that Lord Buddha performed during his lifetime the instantaneous creation of a large mango tree from the seed at a place called Shravasti.
| Coconut trees in monsoon season
Its feather-like leaves spread from the top of the branch-less trunk.
Coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is an integral part of Kerala’s history, lifestyle and economy. Its fruit the “coconut” is widely used in Kerala cuisine like aviyal (see this link for the author PV’s knol AVIYAL: KERALA’S OWN CURRY aviyal cuisine) coconut chutney, fish moilee and many other varieties of curries. Tender coconut’s milk is used for making kerala’s famous Appam (a kind of dosa) and Kozhikkari—Chicken curry used mainly on Christmas and Ester festivals. In fact coconuts are widely used in Kerala’s cuisine. Tender coconut’s juice is a famous drink in hot summer season and its tender insider meat is eaten raw.
|The tender coconut is a summer drink, PV enjoys a coconut drink.
Notice the Mango leaves hanged on top of this road side shop.
This is yet another tree which the Hindu households give a special place in their life. The name of this tree is originated from the Sanskrit word “Kalpa Virksha” which means ‘the tree which meets every need of a person in his life’. It is one of the most useful trees in the southern states of India. People use its wood for making houses and bridges. Its whole leaves are used for making thatched roofs. Its strips of leaves are used for making baskets, hats, mats and other beautiful craft items which are an attraction to the visiting tourists in Kerala. Its husk is used to manufacture coir, and is woven into ropes and doormats and other furnishing materials. The shells of the coconuts are carved into different shapes and make craft items which are an attraction to the foreign tourists.
The farmers of this tree make a kind of sweet drink called ‘toddy’ or tuba from the sap of the tree’s blossoms. Its sap
is also used for making sugar, vinegar and other beverages.
In Kerala, every household plants this tree at their courtyard. It is a very common sight to see houses surrounded with these trees. One cannot find a single house without this tree. “Plant a coconut plant and water it for five years, then reap coconut for life” This is a common saying among the people of Kerala. This is true in a sense, that it gives its fruits for years without requiring much manure or water. Once it starts giving fruits, not much service is needed and it produces coconuts for years. A well tended coconut tree produces at least a minimum of 50 to 100 coconuts a year. A solid dried coconut meat commonly known as “kopra” is used for producing coconut oil. This oil is so delicious and Kerala households use it for cooking foods. This oil is also used for manufacturing soaps. and other beauty items. The coconut is an important item in Hindu ceremonial functions and worship (Pooja) services. Breaking of a coconut in the initial stage of any function is considered as very auspicious. Coconut is also offered in temples during worship services. It is also believed that this fruit represents the Hindu god Shiva and the three buttons like mark at the side of the coconut is symbolized god Shiva’s eyes.
Golden Shower Tree (G S T) (Cassia Fistula)
|A GST from Secunderabad, A.P
Pic. by Bijin.
GST and its flowers are depicted on twenty different Indian postal stamps. It is also featured on a 2003 Joint Canadian—Thai design for a 48 cent stamp—part of a series of featuring of national emblems.
|A GST Picture From Kerala.by Rijin Thachanalil|
GST is is widely cultivated in different parts of Kerala as an ornamental plant. When the tree is in its full blooms its flowers are totally covered and sometimes the trunk and its leaves won’t be visible. It blooms in spring season.
This tree’s flower is the state flower of Kerala, India, and also the national flower of Thailand.
GST and its parts like the flowers, fruits, trunk, root etc. are used in medicinal purposes. In Ayurvedic medicine it is known as ‘aragvadha’ or “Disease killer”. Diseases like arthritis, nervous system disorders, blood related diseases like hemorrhages, different cardiac conditions and stomach related diseases like acid reflux are being treated with its fruit pulp.
|Neem Trees growing on the side of a footpath
Pic. Credit: Bijin T Thomas
|A Neem Tree near a Hindu Temple
at Secunderabad A.P
pic. credit. Bijin
Ancient texts like Vedas (basis of Ayurvedic tradition) indicates the medicinal value of neem. Yet another ancient text written by Varahamihira (AD 505) sometimes known as ‘the encyclopedia of Indian Culture.” Had a mention of this wonderful tree.
This tree can be seen in every Indian household. Its leaves are hanged on the entrance of the doorpost and are believed that it wards off evil spirits, and also believe that it is a passage to heaven. In the Indian villages the new born babes are laid on its leaves and believe that it gives them a protective appearance. The brides before marriage take bath in the water filled with these leaves. It is established that Neem trees releases more oxygen than any other trees. In short it’s a miracle tree and can find its mention in the ancient texts.
In the northern part of Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu the people use its dried and powdered tubulars as a stimulating tonic. It has number of medicinal usages; its every part is used for this purpose. Especially in most of the Ayurvedic medicine it is an essential item. Oil made from this tree is used in medicines as well as in pest control and cosmetic industries. Its leaves are an important part used in treating Chickenpox. Yet another belief of Hindu religion, Sithala the ‘goddess of chickenpox’ lives in neem trees. Neem tea is another drink usually used for treating headache and fever. Its flowers are used for intestinal problems. Its barks acts as an analgesic and be used to cure high fever like malaria. Its leaves are used for curing some skin diseases. Some even believe that this can even purify human bodies.
Other than medicinal uses it has got many other uses in India. Some parts of the country people use its twigs as tooth brush. It is also used as a rehabilitating plant in waste land regions. Its pulps are used for producing methane gas. It acts as carbohydrate and a rich base for other industrial fermentation. Its barks are used in mass tanning and dyeing in industries. In some part of southern states, its woods are used to make furniture. In the cultivation of sugarcane, vegetable and many other crops, its cakes are used as a fertilizer. To face the global warming many countries are constantly cultivating neem tree as a major crop. The Worldwide Neem Foundation is playing an important role in making awareness among people about neem and its importance.
This tree can be grown in any soil like clayey, dry, stony or shallow. It requires very little water and needs more sunlight. It grows from its seeds as well as from its cuttings.
|A Banyan Tree is protected!! A scene from my city Secunderabad, A.P.
Pic. by Bijin
Yet another Earth Day—22nd April—passed by, Tree lovers and environmentalists did their part to promote their cause by planting tree saplings and various other connected activities. Let us continue to do this and many other things like avoiding usage of plastic bags, instead buy and use personal care natural products, use only reusable bags, limit the usage of water, like uncontrollable usage of showers, vessels, cloth washing etc. If we take little more care in our daily activities we can control the usage of water and thereby help the mother earth to survive.
|Planting Trees for her future, India’s village women plant saplings,
Pic. Credit. mckaysavage.
|Earth Day Founder
(former US Governor)
Forty one years back in 1970Gaylord Nelson a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin after seeing the 1969 massive oil spill with a much burdened heart initiated this movement. On April 22 that year 20 million Americans participated in that movement. And by 1990 Earth Day went global and the people around the world are aware about it and very religiously participating every year on this day (April 22) with various activities to promote this cause.
|Organic Searches on yahoo|
Social websites and major search engines are promoting this years (2011) earth day in a massive way, yahoo on one of its post (Solar Trumps Recycling: Searches on Yahoo! Indicate Green Living, Organic Trends & Freebies Define Earth Day 2011) on Thursday said that: “This month, searches on Yahoo Green for “solar energy” are up 208 percent while inquiries for “wind power” are up 1,307 percent.” Read more here at this blog post
|Google Logo on 2011 Earth Day|
Google group turned its homepage logo into a nature scene doodle Friday in honor of Earth Day. One of its blog (Google Celebrates Earth Day With Nature Doodle, Wind Investment) the blog author ‘Chloe Albanesius’ said: “The image features a moving waterfall, penguins jumping on an iceberg, pandas nibbling on bamboo, and a lion curled up under a tree. Read more here at this blog post.
|Watch this video and find out the hidden creatures.|
Apart from these search engines there are many other activities are going on through print and other web media. Many are conducting different kinds of Earth Day activities and protests in various manners. Schools, Colleges and other educational institutions too are actively involving in spreading the awareness among people . The environmental activist group “Greenpeace” is already in full strength to get involved with big firms like Facebook and Apple to get reduce the use of coal by building custom data centers that are powered by as much renewable energy as possible, in a recent campaign in this regard they created a big network through their contacts via facebook and other social media networks.
Yet another website already started their campaign to encourage people to join in and take ‘ Pledge an Act, Save Our Planet”
In short this years Earth Day will definitely give a good awareness about it and will no doubt gives an impact to the new generations. Let us all together make note of this and do whatever we can do to save our earth from the coming calamity.
Here is an interesting YouTube video song in relation to tree, This song is sung by Priscilla Ahn “Living in a Tree.”
The latest developments in my city – Hyderbad
The people who initiate removing of trees from this earth should take note that they are putting an axe on the very existence of their life. Let them plant more sapling in its place. Planting of saplings through school and college level will make a big difference to this serious threat. Let us introduce awareness programs in school and university levels. The tree lovers group or forums, and of course the media print and web can play a vital role in this to promote this awareness among people.
A Call From Greenpeace India—Earth Day Give Earth A Hand
Here is an interesting video to watch on this day (The World Environment Day). This is posted by Greenpeace India Organization. They posted a note along with the video it says: “Happy world environment day! Years of neglecting our most precious resource have caused damage all around the world, and it will only get worse if the exploitation continues.”
A Music Video captured at the outset of Amazon Rain-forest.
|Amazon Rain-forest Relaxation Video|
Here is yet another video to watch.
This video gives a glimpse of the rain forest’s beauty as well as a soothing music.
A good relaxation music video in the midst of serious thoughts on the subject tree.
Please enjoy the music and relax.
Thanks for your valuable time.
PS: Read a Malayalam version (a gist of this knol): മരങ്ങളില് മനുഷ്യ ഭാവി! മരം മുറിക്കുന്നവര് ജാഗ്രതൈ!!
- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- World Book encyclopedia
- Tree Suicide video
Images Source Names and Links:
3) Pumpkin. http://www.flickr.com/photos/dvorak319/3929698644/ by. dvorak
5). Trees among tea plantation, Ashoka Trees, Bijin T Thomas, Nellikkamon, Ranny, Kerala
8). Typical Mango Tree: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/245283
9). Red colored mango: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/234992
10). Coconut Trees in monsoon: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1087968
13). Jolly Daniel, Portland, OR. USA.
14). Golden Shower Tree from Kerala. by Rijin Thachanalil
16) http://timesofindia.com http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Trees-get-axe-effect-for-Rosaiahs-heli-hop/articleshow/5806923.cms
17) YouTube: Credit: Blysu
18) Planting saplings. Pic. Credit. mckaysavage.
21) Amazon Rain-forest Relaxation Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43yvlrNl3Xc&feature=related