The Monk Dude - Dada Nabhaniilananda

Who Speaks for the Trees?

When I was seven I met one of my childhood heroes, Dr Seuss, who was kind enough to come all the way to New Zealand to sign my copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. I gave him a picture of a monster.

Of all his wonderful books, The Lorax was his personal favorite. Through the Lorax, Dr Seuss spoke for the trees. He said, “The Lorax came out of me being angry. In The Lorax I was out to attack what I think are evil things and let the chips fall where they might.”

Today is Arbor Day, but really, every day should be Arbor Day. It’s not like people only cut trees down one day a year. Trees are being destroyed every day. If we only honor them one day a year, before long they’ll all be gone, and then, as the Lorax reminded us, so will we.

It just occurred to me that Tolkien, another huge childhood hero of mine also spoke for the trees through his own remarkable invention, the Ents. His deep love for trees, and dismay at the destruction of the natural world through industrialization was a major theme of The Lord of the Rings.

The most beautiful forest I’ve ever seen. Our own Californian Fangorn.

Our poets and authors, activists and saints, have often spoken for the trees, reminding us that all life is sacred and interdependent. And they didn’t only do this one day a year. Let us remember our trees in their gentle beauty and fight to protect them, not just today, but every day.

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