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Opinion

Reforest before it’s too late

Chit U. Juan - The Philippine Star

We have been reminded so many times before plant a tree, write a book, sire a child. Which of these have you done?

“Plant a tree” comes to mind as most important because while the two other options require more ability and talent if not skill, planting a tree seems to be the more realistic for most.

Reforestation starts with one tree. Then another. Trees that are endemic and not invasive. Trees that are planted for the sole purpose of being thankful to Mother Earth. And not to plant to harvest for profits after a few years.

Reforestation can be small scale or large, depending on one’s resources and desire to make a difference. But it has to start somewhere and done by anybody to the best of their ability.

The connection between floods, tragedies and planting trees has never been so apparent. It is now in our face – face the problem or create more disasters just because we have not learned.

I was talking to some youth in Mindoro who say their LGU only digs deeper in the river to accommodate the flood waters. This is quite reactive and not proactive.

The more proactive solution whilst doing the dredging is to plant more trees. And to make sure they are the local species.

Another group of youth in Mountain Province is planting coffee trees to make their ancestral lands better prepared for climate change. I will be introducing these environment-conscious youngsters to each other.

There must be a conscious effort on the part of local governments to do reforestation today. This will help prevent disasters waiting to happen.

What is an ordinary citizen to do?

1. • Join the group like Philippine Native Tree Enthusiasts on Facebook. They can teach you about indigenous tree varieties that are the preferred species to plant.

2. • Take photos of trees you see and get familiar with native varieties rather than the usual mahogany and gemelina. This is not about tree farming. This is about your civic duty to plant a useful tree.

3. • Get a copy of the book on trees by The Lopez Foundation. You may have some of these trees around you.

4 • Engage your company in a tree-planting activity. Start with 50 or 100.

5. • If you don’t have land, donate to a tree-planting cause like Plant Coffee Pilipinas (www.PhilCoffeeBoard.com).

As it is also our civic duty to vote, think about who or which candidate supports reforestation.

By planting more trees, we not only avert disasters. We also provide shade to strangers and the future generations.

MOTHER EARTH

PLANT

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