When the Trees Say Nothing is one among sixty spiritual books written by Thomas Merton, a Trappist monk, who spent most of his years in a monastery close to nature in rural Bardstown, Kentucky. The book on trees is a collection of his reflections on vanishing nature.
A time capsule from the World’s Fair in the 1930’s predicted “One quarter of every major city would be shrouded in trees from parks and the shadow of one skyscraper would not strike the face of another building.”
Central Park in New York’s Manhattan borough was set aside in 1857 with 770 acres of green space for residents to enjoy threatened nature. Central Park has since been expanded to an oasis of 840 acres where people of “The World’s Financial Center” find some freedom from Nature Deprivation Disorder. All urban dwellers whose feet do not touch Mother Earth are afflicted to a degree by NDD.
Lafayette, LA is “Hub City” of the Cajun culture plus the oil and gas industry. Another potential park area has been lost recently with the slaughter of trees at the intersection of Hugh Wallis and Kaliste Saloom roads. One more hotel will rise instead of expanding park space in this prosperous city. In the absence of trees, will a torrent of rain or Katrina-sized hurricane force visitors to remain inside? Will the very foundations of another hotel structure be threatened?
During one 1975 monsoon season in Hong Kong, a hillside 70-storey residential building simply slipped from its moorings and collided with another expensive building. Henry Litton, a prominent HK lawyer was stunned with fear as his luxury apartment complex slipped down the muddy slope and was stopped by a nearby building with deeper foundations. A beam from his damaged apartment fell on Litton’s leg, trapping him for two days. During his “imprisonment” Litton wrote his supposed “final moments” in one legal pocket notebook. When finally rescued, THE SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST editors published what was thought to be his last comments on life in a flourishing British colony.
In the USA of 2015, there are more acres of land under concrete than covered and protected by marshlands. As coastal marshes vanish at the rate of at least one football field per hour, so do small communities of the Gulf area.
Half of every US metropolitan area is paved over by roads, parking lots, gasoline stations and other acres designated for business related to the auto culture. Los Angeles leads with ¾ of the city being paved over. Non-human creatures, deprived of habitat are moving into urban space. They were here before us.
In 2012 US cars and factories spewed out 5.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide. This figure was actually down 3.8 percent. A high-ranking Louisiana official speaking to Greg Roberts of the Baton Rouge ADVOCATE said, “Carbon dioxide is not a poison. It’s something we breathe out.” (17 April 2015)
The carbon dioxide we breathe out is insignificant compared to 22 pounds of carbon dioxide flowing from 300 million cars in the USA. Over 10,000 gallons of gas are burned every second in the USA.
Every mute tree asks of us: “Do you not know we trees are absorbing the gasses you emit and we provide the declining oxygen upon which you depend?
Scientists caution us, the amount of oxygen available to “earthlings” is silently decreasing.