How to lose 154,000 years of tree life

How to lose 154,000 years of tree life

I learned something very sobering this morning about trees.

And then the day brought even more tree gloom.

Please bear with me, dear reader, and let me share with you today’s tree woes.

Did you know there is a concept known as “tree life”? I admit I didn’t until this morning, although it’s pretty self-explanatory.

“Tree life refers to the amount of time a tree would have remained alive if not disturbed by human activity.”

The article I have linked above makes for very sobering reading. Worth a read.

I imagine many of my regular non-Delhi-based readers have heard how polluted this city is. Our winters have become infamous, with the world’s press showcasing our toxic air every year.

Those of us who live here know to our cost how dangerously polluted Delhi is. It is also unbearably hot in the summer, and we desperately need every scrap of natural shade and clean air that we can… so to learn that we have lost 154,000 years of tree life in 3 years is beyond scary.

The worst of it is that these precious years of tree life were lost on account of government projects. I mean talk about adding insult to injury.

The Delhi High Court did not mince its words :

“Each felled tree only aggravates the ever increasing air and noise pollution…No amount of concrete-scaping can replace the loss of green cover.”

But these fine words have, sadly, come too late.

The trees are gone, many them felled by government agencies, in flagrant violation of court orders.

The concrete is in place.

And we will all suffer for it. We will all be breathing even more toxic air, and baking even more in the heat.

Too, too tragic.

Which brings me to my own personal doom and gloom story.

We had rain today, which was a blessed relief, except that it brought down a neem tree in the street, right outside out house.

It isn’t our tree, since it is in the street and so public property, but because it was right there, it felt very much like “our” tree.

Our gate was blocked by the poor, fallen thing, and since the powers that be can’t come and deal with it until tomorrow, we dragged it to one side, so that we can at least open the gate and leave the property.

Termite-d to death…

This tree gave us shade.

It gave my darling puppy hours of interest, as she hopefully eyed the squirrels that lived there. (She never got a crack at them, worry not!)

As if that weren’t enough, a tree in the neighbour’s garden also came down a few minutes later with the rain.

It didn’t damage our wall or anything BUT now, instead of her huge, leafy, bird-filled, squirrel-filled tree as my wonderful view, I have – guess what – concrete.

“No amount of concrete-scaping can replace the loss of green cover.”

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