Tree-cutting moratorium as anti-climate change strategy

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - March 5, 2020 - 12:00am

This position paper was prepared for yesterday’s (Thursday’s) Citizen’s Hour of the Cebu City Council where important issues like request for permission to cut trees in certain parts of the city and the proposed flyover project were discussed. Key points raised for the save Naga trees campaign are reiterated and a tree cutting moratorium to be started by Cebu City Mayor and Council to avert global warming strongly suggested!

“We are for sustainable development, beneficial for all people and our planet.

“We recognize that in the midst of our present climate emergency with our planet warming at an alarming rate, threatening wildlife extinction and rising sea levels, trees are our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change.”

The benefits of trees, ranging from carbon sequestration to soil stability and biodiversity enhancement, are established facts. As Diana Beresford-Kroeger wrote in her book: “Trees offer us the solution to nearly every problem facing humanity today, from halting global temperature rise to defending against drug-resistant bacteria. And trees affect our lives, our cultures and spirit in many other ways. The tapestry of life, worldwide, depends on trees.”

Trees and forests are good for health, especially mental health. Forest bathing, an ancient technique, fine-tunes the health of the entire body. Tree aerosols act as anti-cancer shields, improve circulation and decrease high blood pressure. They have antibiotic, antifungal and anti-rheumatic effects.

Science has barely scratched the surface of the immense gifts trees bring us. With the Amazon burning, and the global temperature rising, stopping climate change in its tracks can seem an impossibility.

But every one can fight for and save the global forest, our planet and ourselves. It’s not complicated; it is as simple as protecting the trees we have and planting one native tree each per year for six years.

We will save our forests and our trees. The trees are telling us how to do just that –all we need to do is listen.”

The trees of Cebu City are resources for all; the oxygen the trees produce crucial for all, not only for those in the City of Cebu. Therefore, we stand for saving, not cutting our trees in Cebu City!

Trees,a crucial simple, inexpensive, doable solution to climate emergency,should not be sacrificed for road widening or for the construction of buildings and other infrastructures.

Why cannot road widening and other infrastructure projects incorporate trees or the environment in its design?

In the first place, for whom are widened roads and other projects built? Was a survey conducted and consultations made about the projects’ positive and negative socio-economic-environmental impacts in the areas where the projects were built? Was the welfare of people considered, especially the vulnerable, the children, the elderly, the poor? Was the welfare of nature and our environment, our planet considered by these proposed projects?

We reiterate, we are for collaborative partnership for sustainable projects beneficial for our people, our beautiful island home, and our planet. Shall we all move forward together, united, in creating our peaceful, prosperous society and planet for our people?

May we request the Council to approve and start a tree-cutting moratorium from 2020 to 2030 as Cebu City’s commitment to help solve climate emergency? Shall we all support Mayor Edgar Labella’s plan to plant and grow trees in Cebu City for the next years?

Can we propose that CSO representatives, selected by the CSOs, be officially included in the planning, deliberation, approval, implementation, and monitoring phases of major, hopefully, eco-friendly infrastructure projects for  Cebu City and province?

We are committed with you all in collectively creating a better, sustainable, livable Cebu for all people and nature.

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