Destroyers of Trees
IN Bible times, trees were regarded as valuable commodities. For example, when Abraham purchased a burial place for his beloved wife, Sarah, trees were listed in the contract for the transfer of property.—Genesis 23:15-18.
Likewise today, trees are highly valued, and much international attention is focused on the preservation of forests. The book State of the World 1998 says: “While many people in northern countries look at tropical forests with concern, they may be unaware that the temperate forests in their own backyards are the most fragmented and disturbed of all forest types.” What threatens the health of forests in those northern countries of Europe and North America? Many people point to deforestation, but there are other forces that subtly destroy trees, leaf by leaf or needle by needle, so to speak. What are they? Air pollution and acid rain. These pollutants can slowly weaken trees, making them vulnerable to pests and disease.
For decades, environmentalists and other concerned citizens have warned of the need to protect the earth’s ecosystem. In the 1980’s, after scientists in Germany studied the effects of air pollution and acid rain on the environment, they concluded: ‘If nothing is done, about the year 2000, people will be left to admire forests only in old photos and in movies.’ Happily, the earth’s regenerative power is such that so far it has withstood much of the foretold damage.
In the long term, though, it is God who will do most to preserve our ecosystem. “He is watering the mountains from his upper chambers” and “making green grass sprout for the beasts, and vegetation for the service of mankind.” And he has promised “to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Psalm 104:13, 14; Revelation 11:18) How wonderful it will be when the earth’s inhabitants will be able to enjoy a pollution-free world forever!—Psalm 37:9-11.