Cutting down trees


Did you know that fifteen billion trees are being cut down across the world every year? The equivalent of 27 football fields per minute are being cleared of trees worldwide. In forty years, the size of Europe in trees has gone. The statistics about cutting down trees is endless.

I sat in the light shade of an ash tree in one of our farm fields to revise for my A levels. It was an old wide spreading tree with roots growing out of a huge hump. Ideal for sitting on and keeping dry. I leant against the rough grey bark with its cushion of moss. I saw the wildlife there and watched the woodpeckers and finches on its branches (anything to distract me from revising) and towards the dusk I heard the owls in its canopy.

I did quite well with my exams, but the ash did not fare so well. It was the early 1960s and more electricity for our little village was considered very important. The ancient ash tree was cut down to make way for poles and cables. All in the name of progress and we are still doing it even though we know that trees absorb the dreaded carbon dioxide, provide a habitat for wildlife, prevent soil erosion and are part of the water cycle.

Just like when I was young we justified cutting the ash tree down for poles and wire for electricity to be delivered to the villages, today we justify that we need timber, space to grow palm oil (for food and cosmetics) and for animals to graze so we can eat cheap meat.

The cutting down of the single sycamore tree on Hadrian’s wall has made me wonder about the wider picture.

Another thing that has made me wonder is the smart reader readings on the device on our kitchen window. It records our electricity usage. I am shocked when I get up in the morning and see that in the night, I have already used over £1. That will be the two fridges and our freezer in the garage, I thought. But it seems to be a great cost. Then I realised that it would include the standing charge for the day and possibly VAT. We are keeping prices low so far, but colder weather is ahead.

The birds in the sky are changing with the season here. Gone are the circling swifts, swallows and warblers. I got so tired of the endless call of the chiffchaff but now I miss its monotonous song. It is replaced by the raucous caw of the crows as they maraud the countryside flying from perches in trees searching for food.

(taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

 A jackdaw eyeing me before taking to the autumn skies


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