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Letter of the Day: You can save the planet

Published:Thursday | November 26, 2015 | 12:00 AM


Jean Lowrie-Chin wrote of "the negative impact the receding Hellshire Beach is having on the livelihood of fishermen". She quoted 2007 Nobel prize winner, Professor Anthony Chen, as to the greatest contributory factor: Emissions from fossil fuels are now so heavy in our atmosphere that the world is heating up, causing serious climate change.

It's cause? Ignorance of the interdependence of all life occupying our environment, and a healthy dose of greed and indifference.

Despite a global cry for putting in more plants, we rapidly denude hills and forests, clear wild and domestic trees to make parking lots, erect apartments, and create maintenance-free apartments where hardscaping (concrete) replaces landscaping (trees and grass), or we prune existing shrubs and trees to mere stalks or trunks, so there is less surface area to prune and no falling leaves or blooms to clean up.

Current and future consequences of removing/overpruning trees:

1. Food shortages: Eighty per cent of the food on our supermarket shelves and in our markets are pollinated by bees. Denuding trees or ruthlessly pruning to prevent blooms deprive birds, butterflies and bees of food and decimate populations. Warning: If bees die out, the world will be plunged into immediate famine.

2. Flooding: There has been a marked increase in flooding over the last two decades, resulting in loss of life and property. Formerly safe areas have become flood-prone because of the increase in paved areas, as well as the removal of soil cover. Trees slow the force of heavy rain, allowing raindrops to trickle through a screen of leaves at a rate where it is absorbed in the soil instead of running off and eroding soil. This replenishes aquifers and protects soil from erosion.

3. Air pollution: Trees trap dust and other particles we would otherwise breathe in, resulting in cleaner and less toxic air.

4. Soil and water pollution: Without trees to absorb, purify and release purified water/air into the atmosphere, the toxins remain in the soil or run off into the sea where they enter our food chain - ground provisions or seafood - and end up as catalysts for diseases. Our domestic water supply also become polluted and cause serious illnesses and diseases.


What we can do:


1. Plant trees, especially those beneficial for bees, birds and for air/soil purification.

2. Reduce or eliminate our use of harmful chemicals.

3. Use permeable pavers or open-cell concrete blocks for parking lots and driveways (grass grows between them and cools down parking lots and allows water to drain into the soil).

4. Use the first and second floors of apartments for parking or build multistorey parking garages to save more green areas.

5. Make all commercial parking lots (shopping centres, government buildings, institutions) eco-friendly green areas.

6. Support shops/shopping centres with green areas and shade trees/shaded parking lots that absorb your car emissions.

7. Plant and buy more organic food.