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A Future Without Trees?

2009 June 25

Recently, I was listening to a radio show in which commentators were talking about the 40th anniversary of the lunar landing. I remember that evening very well. I watched the images of that historic milestone with my great grandmother in Puerto Rico. She was 84 then and we discussed how the world had changed during her lifetime. She described seeing the arrival of the first cars to the Island. She contrasted those developments with the news-breaking story of that evening on July 20, 1969, when the first man landed on the moon. Looking back to these 40 years, we’ve witnessed great technological advances and innovations we now take for granted. Travel in space, communications, and nanotechnology are just some of the things that have changed in the past forty years. And that brings me to the subject today.

I’ve always been attracted to the concept of the future. In the sixties, I remember going to the World Fair in New York and watching several exhibits which forecasted how life was going to be in the 21st century. In fact, one of my favorite cartoons, The Jetsons, was an animated science fiction sitcom which portrayed life in the 25th century as conceived by the producers back in 1963. There were robots, electronic contraptions, and flying cars. If you come to think about it, other than the flying cars, some of their futuristic ideas have become a reality. However, in remembering this series, I noticed something recently which made me pause and think. There was hardly any vegetation in that “future.” There were hardly any trees. No greenery. Is that how life will become in the 25th century?

When you come to think about it, a future without trees or vegetation would not only be scary, but deadly for all mankind. Many animals, including human beings, would not survive without any vegetation on Earth. Plants are necessary for multiple reasons—they provide us with oxygen and they are at the foundation of all food chains. Furthermore, they play a fundamental role in ecology—they cleanse the atmosphere of excessively large quantities of carbon dioxide emissions. So, when we think of sustainable development and environmental protection, these are not the fads of the moment. They are essential to our survival. We can all start working to protect our planet by pledging to take action in favor of our planet on Earth Day and every day.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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46 Responses leave one →
  1. Johnny R. permalink
    June 25, 2009

    When planet Earth was in balance there was plenty of oxygen from the five heavily forested continents and pristine oceans. Now the relentlessly growing population is hewing down trees to make room for industry and agriculture and dumping tons of garbage into the global ocean without thinking of the consequence — ecocide and a toxic, lifeless planet. How much time does humanity have to change — one year, two, three, four, five……?

  2. Mardi VanEgdom permalink
    June 25, 2009

    A world without trees. To me, this is a nightmare world. I love the forest better than any other place. And the local trees, delicate mimosas, mighty oaks and cypresses, generous pecans and fruit trees. Shade trees. Trees hundreds of years old that were on this continent before we were. We cut them down just to satisfy our insatiable needs for paper products and building materrials. When there was no other way, this was acceptable. Now there are other ways. Recycling plastic and paper products, reusing still-usable wood from existing structures. It seems so easy and the rewards are endless. Without trees we can’t breathe properly because they make the oxygen we need to breathe. Trees provide us with shade and delicious fruits and nuts. Above all, trees are simply beautiful. In the sun, every leaf seems to generate its own inner green light. If you love trees as I do, find a way to help preserve them for the future.

  3. Lina-EPA permalink*
    June 26, 2009

    I agree. What puzzles me is that in popular culture when we talk about the future or we “portray” the future it seems totally devoid of or disconnected from nature. That’s worrisome. Let’s put technology to good use to protect our trees and the environment. We have to strike the right balance.

  4. Johnny R. permalink
    June 27, 2009

    Instinctively and subconsciously people fear and distrust nature because it’s so dangerous as the animals must kill and devour to survive, even though that’s what humans do too, but organized out of sight. We built villages, towns and cities to protect ourselves from the forest and jungle, yet our population keeps growing so we need to exploit more of it every year, always more, never less. So it requires education to realize it’s a limited resource we can’t live without. All existence is the process of paradox.

  5. ansori permalink
    June 27, 2009

    i live in village, and now not much tree here.
    i dont think if next we can live without tree

    thanks,

    adhon
    hosting murah

  6. Amrita permalink
    July 14, 2009

    Hi !

    ” I just can’t imagine future without TREES.”

    Trees are like the lungs of the environment. They take much of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen via photosynthesis. The greenhouse gas load is reduced and effects of global warming are also brought down. Further dead trees that get buried in soil eventually provide fossil fuels like coal, gasoline products, etc. One more important point is that trees have an indisputable role in bringing rain to earth and they provide a cover over the top surface of earth preventing excessive heating up by solar rays.

    Tree has also become a blessing to most of the engineering and a complex chemical factory. It is able to take water and salts out of the earth and lift them up to the leaves. By means of photosynthesis the leaves combine the water and salts with carbon dioxide from the air to produce the nutrients which feed the tree. In this process, as well as wood, trees create many chemicals, seeds and fruit of great utility to man.

    With Regards
    Amrita

  7. Lina-EPA permalink*
    July 23, 2009

    Thanks, Amrita
    Trees are essential.

  8. Karen permalink
    April 16, 2010

    Educational Nonprofit Gifting a Million Kids, Parents and Teachers With Green eBook to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day

    SAN DIEGO, April 13 /PRNewswire/ — The gift of a book to inspire reading, literacy and children in being good stewards of the planet is being gifted to kids, parents and teachers around the world in honor of the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day. An educational nonprofit founded in 1998 who has gifted and distributed over a million physical books worldwide now is gifting their children’s eBooks at a much faster and less expensive clip. Beginning with their newest green book for kids, The I AM Foundation is gifting a million copies of this eBook edition worldwide. In addition, it is a bi-lingual book published in English and Spanish.

    “With the timeliness of the explosion of eBook reading devices, we thought this would be a perfect way to do our mission to support reading, literacy and children taking care of the planet,” says author and founder Steve Viglione. “The books are a gift with no requirement for email sign ups or newsletters to make it easier for all those that want to download and receive it,” Viglione continues.

    I Am The Earth: Positive Affirmations for Loving Our Planet is a full color picture book which was illustrated by animator and illustrator Mauricio Hoffman who lives in the Los Angeles area and has worked for Sony Entertainment and World of Warcraft.

    The book has a corresponding curriculum developed by Karen Erstfeld, a Rutger’s University Professor of Environmental Studies and New Jersey school teacher Roxane Neno. The book has many sponsors helping to bring it to life including Aero Financial, Audrey Geisel of The Dr. Seuss Foundation and Louise Hay of The Hay Foundation.

    Jim Price CEO of Aero Financial, a private equity firm based in San Diego states, “As a global firm we are pleased and proud to support this effort for children’s literacy and education around the globe. One of the things I enjoy about the I Am The Earth book is it inspires kids to be imaginative and entrepreneurial in solving some of the problems the world faces this 40th Anniversary of Earth Day.”

    Aero Financial has two green holdings companies which are also sponsors of the book gifting campaign: Green building products company PEI Worldwide (Pink Sheets: PEIW) and Whole In One Organics.

    Those interested can download a gift copy of I Am The Earth and also are invited to share the eBook as a gift with others.

    SOURCE The I AM Foundation

    Back to top

  9. Kamal permalink
    June 4, 2010

    I have post an article on my blog to express that future should be colored fresh green, not techno silver :). I wrote about a bicycle as a future ride, not that flying cars

    Regards
    Kamal

  10. Anonymous permalink
    June 19, 2010

    This is a fact that we as humans have to appreciate nature around us. Technology should not act to destroy the balance of nature, but the existence harusn technology supports the balance of nature. Unfortunately today many people who just find it important to exploit nature and to take advantage of it, regardless of nature conservation.

    Masyhuri
    hosting murah

  11. Masyhuri permalink
    June 19, 2010

    This is a fact that we as humans have to appreciate nature around us. Technology should not act to destroy the balance of nature, but the existence harusn technology supports the balance of nature. Unfortunately today many people who just find it important to exploit nature and to take advantage of it, regardless of nature conservation.

    Masyhuri
    hosting murah

  12. Akbar permalink
    September 23, 2010

    Thank you for sharing information, hopefully bring many benefits
    especially for the loyal readers of this blog.

  13. John C. Kakolaki permalink
    September 24, 2010

    I born in the village called Kamachumu when the planet was stand still, but I recall now I almost faint, the beuty of the land are turnished and water sources are gone. I and my collegues decided to establishe a NGO for environment calles Kamachumu Environment Care Association (KECA) here in kamachumu, mulkeba district, kagera region to protect the environment which include establisment of tree nurseries, trees planting, natural resouces protecting, awareness etc etc collaborating with Kamachumu and Kagera local people in these projects

    Tanzania like other countries south of Sahara is facing a lot of threat of being become a wasteland because of weather changes, drought, human activities, deprived forest management, unfortunate awareness to public and community, poverty , education etc. People have been always cuttings trees and destroy forests for their daily needs without replacing for the future utilizes, this is a big reason why KECA decide fully to engage with environment projects starting with Kagera region where like other places in Tanzania the natural beauty of the area is disappearing rapidly. The forests protection is an issue of grave concerned to Tanzania as well. Various reports indicate that Tanzania is running out of their forests and that the environments as well as take a rain check. Tanzanian women are taking a lot of time in search of water. The sources of water are tarnished by people/human daily needs for destroying natural systems and these consequences to climate change. Let us join together to fight and protect the environment for the future of the children of our children.

  14. Omar Taborda permalink
    September 24, 2010

    “When you come to think about it, a future without trees or vegetation would not only be scary, but deadly for all mankind.”

    This indeed is a scary thought – Thanks for saharing

  15. chris permalink
    September 28, 2010

    Future without trees .Not likely! more likely the preserves national and state forests will be under water before we allow anybody to cut them down. However it all starts at the local level go to your town hall meetings put set backs on the agenda .Request lots be bigger with only 25% allowed cleared. Hate to say it but genetics will make trees plants ect more palatable ? to the non-believers. ps read more ebooks (less paper) bit.ly/aWOI6N

  16. arnie permalink
    September 29, 2010

    There would be no oxygen for us to breath. The entire atmosphere would be a mixture of just about every other gas plus the higher concentration of Carbon Dioxide. all oxygen dependant speicies would die.

  17. IQRA permalink
    October 23, 2010

    I JUST WISH TO THANKS ALL THE PERSONS WHO WROTE ABOUT TREES

  18. Justin permalink
    October 29, 2010

    I definitely agree with you, great post. A world without trees would not be a place I would want to live…sadly the way the world is heading I hope this doesn’t ever become an issue.

    if the world wants any hope of preserving our vegetation we are going to have to continue to take responsibility for our actions and increase our eco-friendly awareness. If not I’m afraid the amount of pollutants we are putting out might just catch up with us one day…

    …it might not be in my lifetime but i want a cleaner future for my grandchildren as well.

    Great post
    Justin

  19. Meridith Cramer permalink
    November 19, 2010

    It is imposible if we are live without trees or jungle, how we can do water

    The current world population is nearly 7 billion, if every person planted one tree, there will be 7 billion new trees, so it impossible the future without trees.

    Regards

  20. keerthana pavithra permalink
    November 25, 2010

    save trees and save life

  21. Zachariah permalink
    December 5, 2010

    my home at tree house, where do i live if a future without tree?

    nice post

  22. Anonymous permalink
    January 24, 2011

    wow

  23. Matt permalink
    February 7, 2011

    Trees are essential for our world, to maintain the environment, to provide the primary food and energy, without trees, all lives will end soon.

    Matt

  24. Lina-EPA permalink*
    February 8, 2011

    Yes, trees are essential. Thanks for sending your comments.
    Lina

  25. tommy johnson permalink
    February 28, 2011

    trees are extremely vital for the whole world, unfortunately majority of people do not understand it’s importance, I am quite concerned about destruction of rain forests.

  26. Drasil permalink
    March 23, 2011

    we arent going to change until its too late.
    Its not possible for enough people to care, theres too much wealth in destroying nature. some people even when the human race will be on its very last limb are going to do whatever they can to get as much power and money as possible. either we leave this world, or kill it along with ourselves in our own enjoyment.

  27. chris w. permalink
    April 23, 2011

    Instinctively and subconsciously people fear and distrust nature because it’s so dangerous as the animals must kill and devour to survive, even though that’s what humans do too, but organized out of sight. We built villages, towns and cities to protect ourselves from the forest and jungle, yet our population keeps growing so we need to exploit more of it every year, always more, never less. So it requires education to realize it’s a limited resource we can’t live without. All existence is the process of paradox.

  28. mistie permalink
    May 10, 2011

    i love this article

  29. June 30, 2011

    Burning coal for energy produces acid rain. Acid rain kills trees.. game over.

  30. Andy permalink
    July 9, 2011

    This is a fact that we as humans have to appreciate nature around us. Technology should not act to destroy the balance of nature, but the existence harusn technology supports the balance of nature. Unfortunately today many people who just find it important to exploit nature and to take advantage of it, regardless of nature conservation.

    Andy

  31. Andi permalink
    July 9, 2011

    Nice info, i’m apreciated about it.. Thanks

    Andi

  32. how to buy silver permalink
    August 6, 2011

    Nice site, this is very good post it has very good information……Thanks for sharing

  33. Nindel permalink
    September 17, 2011

    hey Lina,

    Wow you have great writting it really pull me into your story when you were talking about your childhood and your grandma…

    First thank for writing this post as it is always good to meet someone that cares about the world. But as I came across this part of your post

    “Looking back to these 40 years, we’ve witnessed great technological advances and innovations we now take for granted. ”

    I can’t stop but to think and agree with you 100%… I often walk down the street and see people complain about traffic and this and that… yet they forget how much work, time and effort was put in to inventing a car, or TV, or Internet…. But the reality is most people are so busy with their own problem to stop and think about this…

    I believe that we humans at some point will come to realize that tree and the environment plays a big roll in our lives and those who can appreciate that will setup and do something. So let’s just hope that more and more people are like you :)

    Nindels from

  34. paul permalink
    September 29, 2011

    People should cherish the forestry and those who utilize forest as raw material should develop detail plan for planting new forestry.

    Paul
    paper bag manufacturer

  35. shobha permalink
    January 5, 2012

    but hw 2 survive without trees if we had to

  36. shobha permalink
    January 5, 2012

    but how 2 survive without trees if we had 2?????? :)

  37. Anonymous permalink
    March 1, 2012

    I love that book “I Am the Earth” that Karen speaks about. Imagine what could become of our society and the heights our children could achieve if they taught affirmations and their correct and proper use in school…hmm one can only ponder the thought.

  38. Valerie Hillman permalink
    March 1, 2012

    I love that book “I Am the Earth” that Karen speaks about. Imagine what could become of our society and the heights our children could achieve if they taught affirmations and their correct and proper use in school…hmm one can only ponder the thought.

  39. trusha permalink
    July 8, 2013

    this blog is very good.we must understand that forests does not mean only trees ,it means everything fruits,soil,animals,climate everything….
    so i would say no forests,no earth,no life.

  40. marianne florida permalink
    July 18, 2013

    i love nature…….

  41. Chintan permalink
    July 29, 2013

    1. The amount of carbon dioxide will increase
    - the tree absorbs carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and converts them into oxygen, therefore this will help the living things like us(man) and animals to get more oxygen.

    2. The Earth will be hotter.
    - during the hot weather, transpiration on the surface of the leaves will occur. during transpiration, water in the form of vapour is given out and this will eventually increase the humidity of the air and tend to be cooler.

  42. Chintan permalink
    July 29, 2013

    Trees are one of the sources of water vapour that is found in the air .They release water vapour through transpiration.If there are no trees,this water source will be cut off reducing the average rainfall of the earth.
    Secondly,they absorb CO2 and release oxygen.If no trees are there, oxygen content in the air may come down gradually leading to death for want of oxygen.Further CO2 content in the air will increase leading to global warming and producing extreme weather conditions.
    Tree’s root protects the soil and prevents it from soil erosin and weathering.So soils are able to retain water and never become dry sands as in the desert.

  43. Chintan permalink
    July 29, 2013

    no oxygen. carbon-dioxide will build up and choke us, no paper, and trees are pretty much decorations for your lawn. also there wouldnt be any nuts for the squirrels to eat and if the squirrels die then the animal that eats the squirrel wont have a food source to eat and they will die.
    the food chain will stop

  44. lathifnazaruddin permalink
    October 3, 2013

    ,they absorb CO2 and release oxygen.If no trees are there, oxygen content in the air may come down gradually leading to death for want of oxygen.Further CO2 content in the air will increase leading to global warming and producing extreme weather conditions.
    Tree’s root protects the soil and prevents it from soil erosin and weathering.So soils are able to retain water and never become dry sands as in the desert.

  45. Rupesh panchal samaliya permalink
    June 8, 2014

    Trees are the most important part of everyone lives….

  46. Jess permalink
    September 16, 2014

    I live in a small village (approx.200 inhabitants) and we’re surround by trees from every side. In the summer we use wood in the garden (garden furniture, etc..) and in the winter to heat up the boiler. I absolutely can not imagine living without trees.

    Jessica

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