Trees give us so much. During a time of declining public budgets, we need a grassroots movement of volunteers even more to ensure that we have green spaces and community gardens to be the bedrock of healthy urban neighborhoods.
Fire is a natural part of a process of destruction and regeneration that keeps a forest diverse and healthy. By suppressing fires in the forest, we weren't putting an end to fires, we were just putting off the inevitable.
For the techno-obsessed, ideas are spawned, scientists get grants, become "experts" and build careers, patents are filed, business ventures launched, and PR firms hired, all before the fundamental questions are raised: Is this environmentally safe, responsible and fair?
My mother showed me that in the midst of life's pain and turmoil, grief and loss, I can find great comfort in the beauty of a tree, deep joy at the sight of the moon and a sense of wonder by simply noticing the world around me.
The environment is sustained by trees, which cleanse the air and stabilize the earth, and the references in Jewish sources to the importance of protecting them are meant to be guidelines for caring for the planet in general.
It's the 75th annual National Wildlife Week this week, hosted by the National Wildlife Federation. This year's theme is "Branching Out for Wildlife" and we're celebrating trees and their importance to wildlife and people.
As much as my sons delight in the tree, sometimes I daydream about less bedraggled alternatives. Instead of accidental, what if our view had been planned and purposeful? In its place could be something more pleasing. Imagine the space of a single street tree transformed into a small-scale woodland.
The disruption of entire eco-systems is harmful to the people who depend upon them for their economic survival. Poaching in developing countries may temporarily enrich the poachers, but posterity is inevitably impoverished.
Some people don't love trees as much as they used to. After the severe storms we have had this year, including Hurricane Sandy, city trees can seem like a dangerous liability. Are urban trees worth the risk they pose to houses, cars and people when a violent storm comes through?
Each spring Robert goes in silence to stand beneath the thicket of pink. And we call to hear how the tree has burst again in its fullness. We close our eyes as he tells us the story we want to hear, and we feel possible all over.
New York neighborhoods are changing thanks to Mayor Bloomberg's initiative MillionTrees NYC, which is making the landscape of the city greener, one tree at a time. But planting trees is only the first step in improving the NYC environment.