Friday, February 24, 2017


Jill Jonnes' book Urban Forests describes the efforts of non-profit associations of the tree loving kind to set a monetary value on trees, measuring their beneficial economic effects on the environment thus attempting to measure their net worth in dollars and cents. Sense might be a better measure than cents.

Today I am back in the forests of Northwest Arkansas, but yesterday as I walked toward Riverside Park from 95th and Broadway, I captured the image of a tree that had captured construction debris directly from the air. I took that image as symbolic of the important economic role that trees of all species play in cities.

Much of what trees do, we cannot see. They remove particulates, harmful chemicals and carbon dioxide, while returning oxygen to the air. They remove and help manage the amount of urban runoff from storm water. Environmentalist have felt an urgency to put monetary values on such things largely because there are those who are too insensitive to perceive the other values trees impart to the urban environment.

Putting things in dollars and cents, a single tree can pay back thousands of dollars, in return for a only a hundred or two invested in its planting and care. Imagine an urban landscape devoid of life affirming trees. Their effects on the human psyche are also real.

As I was on my walk, I observed the following:
Trees are essentially selfless, giving their all without a moment's hesitation to the betterment of the planet, while some men, in contrast, ruthlessly take all that they can, careless of their effects on other people and the planet at large.
The other image is of a honey locust tree. They are noted for their thorns and long seed pods.While the thorns might make them unattractive to some and the seed pods a nuisance to others, they are noted for surviving in urban situations. This one is in Riverside park. In its 40 or 50 years of life, it has given thousands of dollars in benefits (measurable and immeasurable) to the city at large.

René had asked in a comment below if there is any particular reason that woodworking should be promoted in schools over some other particular craft.The fact that wood connects students to their own natural environment is but one.

Make, fix, create, and assist others to understand the necessity of learning likewise.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:41 AM

    For sure: It is hard to find the basics for pottery and metalwork visible right in front of your door. Even in larger cities children find sticks to play with or leaves to let creative ideas flow.


    by the way: I like that kind of awkward trees. You can create nice "monsters" with it's thorns - or (for the girls) to make unicorns from your hores.