If we do not permit the earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food, either. Joseph Wood Krutch

Sunday, February 24, 2008

When the last tree is finally gone

"Only when the last tree has died and
The last river has been poisoned an
The last fish has
been caught,
Will we realize that
We cannot eat money"

19th Century Cree Proverb

The first European setters to arrive, not knowing how to live in harmony with the land, died in large numbers of disease and starvation. After the first year in the new land had passed more than half the population lay breathless six feet under the soil. The rest, by sheer brute force, took control of the land, tamed it, and began to forge a new continent in the image of the one they left behind. Most had come with the goal not of starting again in a new way but to plunder the unclaimed riches that lay beneath their feet and in the streams. The cry in their heart was to spoil the riches, sell them for money then live out their life in wealth. A few were successful. What they did not realize though is that the indigenous peoples knew where the true wealth existed and it need not be stripped from the earth in huge quantity to be converted to machines which would then create ever more modern technology.

For thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years, the indigenous peoples of America took trees from the forest, bathed in the rivers, fished salmon from the streams, killed bison on the plains, hunted deer, harvested shellfish and even cultivated crops. Yet, because they took only what they needed, the continent flourished under their care. The earth itself was their wealth, the soil, the waters and the pure air their savings account.

If a picture is worth a thousand words I will save you reading three thousand more words about this subject. This map illustrates the amount of forest that existed when the first waves of European settlers hit our shores.

This next map shows how much forest we had remaining three-hundred and thirty years later.

Today, after just fifty-seven additional years, the map below shows the forest that remain. Less than five percent of the original forests remain now and each day another one-hundred and eighty five acres disappear.

When the last one is gone, then what?

If you want to read three thousand more words on this subject simply click on any map above and you will be taken to the website of the "The Native Forest Council". They put out an excellent publication called "Forest Voice" on the subject.

1 comment:

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