Last weekend I did my part to save the world – I planted a tree. OK, it might not be quite the level of climate change activism Greta Thunberg calls for, but it still felt good to put something so pure in the ground that will live on long after I was planted in the ground myself .
n the year that the cherry blossoms bloomed more vividly and breathtakingly than ever, the words of Zen Buddhist master Ikkyu Sojun seem desperately appropriate in our troubled world: “The cherry blossom represents the fragility of life, a reminder that it is overwhelmingly beautiful, but tragic is also short.”
In an increasingly polluted world, trees are a precious life form celebrated not only for their aesthetic beauty, but for literally helping to create the air we breathe.
While Ireland has the unfortunate reputation of being the least forested state in the EU, with just 10 per cent forest cover, our obsession with property values would do well to remember that the presence of mature trees can increase resale value by up to 20 per cent can increase.
One of the most unusual forest projects I’ve ever been a part of was planting the largest acreage of redwoods outside of California on the Birr Castle grounds in 2016. The ‘Giants Grove’ was created for Ireland in partnership with Crann Trees and is targeting an ambitious final figure of 1,000 coast redwoods.
Lord Rosse of Birr Castle said: “Sequoias were geologically native to Ireland during the last Ice Age and their return symbolizes global concern for conservation.”
It’s a project we could all emulate, even by simply buying a sapling at the local garden center this weekend to plant in the back garden.
A sign of our affection for these towering treasures spilled out when Trinity College’s majestic Oregon maple fell without warning in 2018, taking with it a piece of the capital’s cultural history. This 170-year-old deciduous deity likely protected the ambitious dreams of Wilde, Beckett, Swift, Burke and Stoker — not to mention the many stolen kisses captured from under its towering branches during Trinity Balls.
Edna O’Brien says: “If anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees – mangled, bare and misshapen, but wildly tenacious.”
The value of trees has never been greater, with Irish timber prices up over 60 per cent this year. The Climate Change Advisory Council says a significant increase in tree planting by 2050 could help offset 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, worth €25 billion to the Irish economy.
Ireland is blessed with stunning examples of treelike beauty – my favorite being the ‘Hungry Tree’ at Dublin’s King’s Inns, where a London plane is gradually swallowing a cast-iron bench.
As you pause under a cool canopy of leaves in the coming summer months, think of Albert Schweitzer’s words and smile: “Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world, there is always something that amazes you, in shape.” of a tree, the trembling of a leaf.”
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/in-a-polluted-world-trees-may-hold-the-key-to-our-survival-41606004.html In a polluted world, trees can be the key to our survival