Imagine this earth without trees. No trees on any continent, any island, any place on earth. Possible? Perhaps, but would you be willing to do without all of the things that make life easier because there are trees on earth?
We humans are tree dependent. Trees provide shelter, cook our meals, provide us with nutrition and significantly more. As many as 5000 products are derived from or contain wood. Even exotic things such as camera cases and nail polish contain wood fiber. Humans have walked on floors of wood for centuries. Yet wooden floors while adding comfort in homes are a mere detail in the human interaction with trees. Wood from trees enables the manufacture of tools for almost every human industry. Understanding the human bent for greed and covetousness we comprehend how wood was then and now is used for war. Wood has been used for wheels, ships, wagons, even in early automobiles as we humans move about the earth.
Would you be willing to do without shade on a hot summer’s day? No more apple pie, no pecans, no pistachios, oranges, or peaches, how would that suit? Trees scent our air with sensory pleasures. There would be no pine scent, and the fragrance of Christmas no more. Is there an anxious feeling welling within your heart and mind? What, no trees?!! The request was to imagine a world without trees. No world tree removal mandate has been set-or will be.
There is one more important category which impresses upon us the significance of trees. They are magnificent. Beautiful places exist in our world because trees grow there. One of my personal favorite dimensions of tree beauty is the immense diversity found in trees. First there is shape, from the pointed spires of towering pines to the symmetrical domes of Sugar Maples, tree shapes are both inspiring and fascinating. The leaves of trees, each a miniature food factory, are a delight in shape and color. Summer winds make them sing. Change of season makes them stunning. Few humans fail to pause in awe and wonder at the magnificent yellows, reds and oranges of leaves which develop as fall progresses. Examine the accompanying photos of tree bark. Each tree is distinctive and unique. There is beauty in bark. Beneath the bark more beauty is hidden. The dense fibers of wood are arranged in such beautiful patterns that we adorn our homes with wood from floor to ceiling.
Trees do another thing for humans, they point us to God. Stop a moment, consider the number of different tree species. How do we explain that a by-product of tree food production (photosynthesis) is oxygen? Is it a coincidence, an accident? Oxygen is just what we humans need for life, and trees are significant oxygen producers. “A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings.” There are estimated 23,000 different tree species on the earth. That is the equivalent of over 3 trillion trees! Based on our current earth population that figure provides 400 trees for EACH person-on earth! How do we explain such abundance, such provision? It comes from God. No human industry could generate oxygen at this level. No gradual process over time could develop such balance.
Pause one more moment after you read this. Find a tree to look at. As you examine it, you are gazing at living evidence of God’s presence and power on earth. On the third day of creation God spoke these words; “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:11)
Can you imagine an earth without trees? A tree was even used as part of God’s plan to save the world from sin. As you fix your eyes on that tree, remember the Savior who was nailed, for our sins-to a tree. (Hebrews 12:2)