Friday, 14 September 2012

Trees = Life

It's arbor month! - a time to raise awareness of the values of trees in our lives...

Initiatives around the country are planting and conserving trees in support of the event. The importance of trees? They offset carbon emissions, restore ecosystems, improve the environment, and create a healthier planet now and into the future, no biggie :) Trees still supply the most basic elements of life - oxygen, water vapour, food, shelter and fuel, and are an efficient way to offset the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Trees are the longest living and largest living organisms on Earth. In fact, without trees, people couldn't survive. Nuff said.

"Certainly, with urbanisation and man’s ever increasing encroachment on his natural environment, trees represent now, more than ever, those principles of beauty and spiritual growth that keep us essentially human." ~ Food and Trees for Africa

What's everybody up to for arbor month? Here are some worthy initiatives and/or info:

Food and Trees for Africa
Urban Sprout
Soil for Life
Green Times

Trees = Life²

What value do trees have in my life? Apart from the obvious facts such as I rely on oxygen to breathe...

As a designer, trees provide important materials, used extensively in the industry. From paper, fibers, cork, rubber, timber, tools, to turpentine. Some hints I keep in mind, which help me to be more of a conscious designer in this regard:
  - making use of alien and/or invasive trees (and tree products)
  - making use of tree species (and their products) that are abundant in my area
  - or spreading out my usage, so not to exploit a certain tree specie
  - making sure timber is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified
  - making use of recycled timber
  - designing in such a way which enables the reuse of materials
  - paperless office?
  - thinking twice (thrice, quadruple!) times before printing that construction plan for the 12th time!
  - recycling / reusing (scrap paper, off-cuts etc)
  - good design means minimizing (any) material usage (to build selectively with a small subset of elements)

(To be kept in mind also: yes one needs to use it consciously, but timber / wood products are one of the most sustainable resources, in comparison to other construction materials...)

As a biomimic and creative - the tree is a constant source of inspiration and lessons, too numerous too name. And while I'm at it, the importance of a tree as a permaculturist? Trees are food! Trees also provide homes and food for many animals in our life friendly perma system. They, very importantly, are wind breaks and create micro-climates, provide shade, aid in preventing soil erosion, and enrich the soil with their decaying leaves.

Trees are beautifully important gifts and wise mentors to be respected and appreciated.