Tuesday, February 07, 2017

urban forests...

I have been reading Jill Jonnes's book Urban Forests and it describes the lengthy relationship between trees and human beings living in cities. Some Republican legislators have urged that the
EPA be abolished, and the book makes me wonder what they could have in mind.

For some, the EPA is synonymous with regulation, and regulation is synonymous with impediment to free reign of corporate intent, and they fail to see that corporations can go deeply astray in their quest for short term gain.

The underlying purpose of incorporation is to shield investors from liability, so when corporations do really bad things, as they have so many times in the past, the poor, the environment, and the tax payer are left holding the bag.

In contrast, when a human being does something stupid and destructive, the scale of the action is far smaller in scale than what a corporation would do, and the individual involved will be held responsible. So despite what some Republican lawmakers and the current administration believe, the EPA is a very, very good thing.

The EPA really grew through the efforts of Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin, as the nation faced incredible problems with smog, release of dangerous chemicals, and water dirtied by industry. Nelson was the founder of Earth Day which really found its origins in the National Arbor Day, which was launched in celebration of trees. So trees are really at the center of it all.

Trees were seen as one of the remedies to man-made pollution and Jonnes' book reminds us that human beings have long treasured our relationship to trees and to our forests, and that trees within urban environments humanize our surroundings, making them habitable.

Yesterday in wood shop at the Clear Spring School, we had a new first grade student. I asked my more experienced students to take him under their wings and help him to get started, knowing the rules and all, with regard to safe work. Part of the challenge of woodworking is for students to learn to investigate on their own. Why does this work? Why does this not work? And then, having formed hypotheses to test their propositions in their own hands. Wood presents some real obstacles to creative work and only  through examination of its properties can one get it to bend to one's will.

Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others learn likewise.

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