I think that I shall never see, a poem lovely as a tree. A lot of people are familiar with the simple yet enduring poem of Joyce Kilmer about trees. It takes time to grow a tree fully. A proverb says the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the second best time is now.
Trees are long-lived with some species reaching several thousand years old.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest, against the earth’s sweet flowing breast. I’ve had my share of travel in the country, because of my job as well as for pleasure. I have always appreciated highways which are lined with trees for they offer a natural canopy to protect travelers from tropical heat. Trees also absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide emitted by motor vehicles passing through the roads, mitigating the impact on climate change and global warming. They also break the monotony of long distance travel, since the natural green foliage presents a pleasant contrast to the inanimate cement and gravel roads one travels through.
A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray. Trees also absorb rain water during the wet season as well as reduce soil erosion, which can be pretty destructive.
Think of what happened in Real, Quezon, and Ginsaugon in Leyte a couple of years back.
The absence of forest cover in these locales gave rise to calamitous destruction of lives and property.
A tree that may in summer wear, a nest of robins in her hair. And so I was personally distressed when I witnessed the methodical cutting of trees in Pangasinan on my way up to Baguio two weeks ago. It has been reported that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources gave the imprimatur to the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to cut or earthball 1,829 trees in five towns and cities in Pangasinan, to make way for the road expansion in MacArthur Highway. It was also reported that DPWH personnel will plant more than 180,000 saplings to replace the 1,829 trees cut or still to be cut. Thing is they will be planted not along the expanded highway but in inland area somewhere in Pangasinan. Hence, we will not get the benefit of trees positioned along the road system.
Upon whose bosom snow has lain, who intimately lives with rain. Are there no creative ways to handle this issue with the knee-jerk reflex of cutting the trees just because we need to widen the road? Is it not possible to build a parallel road to accommodate the higher demand of traffic due to movement of people, goods and services? The Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) as well as the on-going Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) are steps in the right direction to help solve road demand in these areas and other similar areas as well. A lot of tricyles use the highway system all over North Luzon, which impede the flow of traffic. Can we not properly enforce the law since these contraptions are not allowed in highways?
Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree. Can we not build diversion roads so that vehicles which need not pass sites like Tarlac City, Villasis and Urdaneta need not go through their centers, which help build huge traffic in these areas? If we can build such roads for smaller towns like Gerona and Moncada in Tarlac, and Sison and Pozorrubio in Pangasinan, we are sure we can do the same for the bigger city centers.
The common good dictates we consider the impact of our decisions on all stakeholders before implementing them. And the environment is a significant stakeholder we cannot ignore any longer.
The author teaches at the De La Salle University Ramon del Rosario College of Business. He welcomes comments at email@example.com. The views expressed above are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official position of DLSU, its faculty, and its administrators.