It started as a simple discussion with my favorite arborist and it turned into an article about stewardship and being a steward. I’m a little biased, however, because he is my dad. Throughout my youth I would arrive to a job site of his and watch him tend to nature, hundreds of feet up in the air. It’s an amazing job, and it turns out that nature is quite more amazing than I realized.
His job as an arborist, believe it or not, entails employing every single tactic before eliminating a tree. It may seem that the job of an arborist is to cut down trees, but it’s not necessarily so (at least for all of them).
His knowledge for his job and ability to look at a tree and decipher what kind it is, what its status is, and more, is quite amazing. Most people might say “It’s just a tree” and that seems it’s the case, but is it true?
He talked about how trees provide cooling, fresh air, and many other things we take for granted. We tend to be so determined to cut them when they become a “problem” or when we are tired of looking at them. We take down trees that are (easily) older than we are and posing little trouble. Sure, we’ve “mastered” nature, but surely our karma will come.
In any event, he expressed his frustrations with how people don’t properly care for trees and nature. He explained to me that properly maintaining a tree is far cheaper than taking it down. Besides the cost, it’s better for the environment and way more sustainable. I thought to myself, what arborist turns down the opportunity to cut down a tree? Inside though, I know why people choose the easy route.
“People want it out of their faces. There is a large ‘it won’t be my problem, I’ll be dead by then’ mindset in today’s world.” And it’s true. Many people look at things and figure it is not or won’t be their problem. Perhaps they didn’t think of their grandchildren. Or their children. Or what happens when some crazy thinker finally invents the pill that keeps us youthful forever.
It’s the same discussion I have with the staff and children I lead at summer camps and other various programs. “Leave it better than you found it.” Be it a school building, a closet, a vehicle, or the good old outdoors. Leave it better than you found it. Think about the people after us. We cannot truly be that selfish to ignore a problem because we’ll be dead. Imagine if our ancestors did that to us. We wouldn’t be here. For some of our ancestors, being a steward was important. We can all play a small part in this.