By Darlene Kaiser
Must the concrete bunkers of our society, the cement and skyscrapers, the shopping centers and parking lots cover every inch of earth from Canada to Mexico, from ocean to ocean, before we finally say, "ENOUGH!" Do we have to kill or use up or pave over everything in our way before we realize what we've done?
We humans must learn to leave room for – to love – other species and nature and trees. We must learn to live in harmony and balance with other living things. Most important, we must protect our ancient forests of old growth – those graceful giants – and all the creatures they shelter.
If we don't, your grandchildren and mine won't have the thrill of a quiet walk through these massive silent sentinels with outstretched limbs, welcoming all who wish to visit. We will never see children's faces light up when they tip their heads back in open-mouthed awe to gaze at cathedral-like canopies of green overhead.
Opponents say we can plant more trees. But the truth is this: we cannot replant a forest. And we certainly cannot replace a 400-year-old ecosystem.
Albert Einstein said, "A human being is a part of the whole…Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." Thoreau wrote: "Man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone." Chief Seattle warned: "All things connect. What happens to the earth happens to the children of the earth."
Will we learn from history? Will we listen to these voices from the past? We simply cannot allow more trees, creatures and plants to be wiped out as cities spread.
Our national forests belong to ALL Americans, and to our children's children. How many more ancient, stately, magnificent beauties will be massacred for the lumber mills before we say, "ENOUGH!" It's time to defend and befriend our national forests. Write the president. Call your senators and representatives.
Take your children or grandchildren, parents or a friend for a walk in the woods. A forest is resplendent, dynamic, ever-changing, filled with quiet movements and birth and life and growth, and wind whispers. Enjoy the splendor before it is gone.
There is a gaping hole in the soul of America if these majestic protectors of our planet’s breath are not spared.
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