When all this was trees…

The most noticeable feature at the development of the new Tim Hortons in Ohsweken is the absence of trees.

There now lays strewn, chopped and cut logs of the trees that once offered shade to walkers on the side of the road. But, just beyond the logs is a single tree that has been under the protection of a woman; this woman has been preventing the trees demise by connecting herself to it.

She has been commended for her heroism and her willingness to do something that most wouldn’t find reasonable, as they do not see the benefit of trees.

So, I would like to offer several points on the benefits of trees.

Not only do they offer shade and shelter from the elements; a single tree offers a day’s oxygen for four people, they offer benefits to surrounding ecosystems and even become a part of certain ecosystems, they reduce the “greenhouse effect” caused by carbon dioxide, they have a cooling impact on the surrounding environment and also leave a lasting impression on visitors to a community.

The Six Nations community has long boasted the beautiful thick forest in our backyards which, has now become known as the “largest chunk of Carolinian forest in Southern Ontario”. We take pride in how well the forest has been preserved, but what if we continue to develop and continue to cut trees down?

We won’t have any beautiful forest to brag about and we certainly wouldn’t have fulfilled our duties as Haudenosaunee people.

The duty to protect this earth isn’t solely a spiritual duty, it is one that is intertwined within our belief systems and stories. We are told that we are made from this earth and thus equal to everything living upon it. I commend that woman for protecting that tree because she’s doing exactly what should be done without a second glance as Haudenosaunee people.

Let’s all take a moment to recognize that those trees were disturbed to build a side walk.

A side walk that could have been made without touching the trees; trees that could have had benches underneath them to be enjoyed by the community. But, a side walk will now be built right where all of that awesome traffic will be when the Tim Hortons opens.

So, until someone rationalizes with me as to why there couldn’t have been a more thoughtful procedure, I will continue to believe that cutting those trees down was unnecessary.

Look at the photo — how many rings can you count on that spliced tree branch? And that wasn’t even the trunk. So, let’s just say this big beautiful tree was 30 years old — it only took a few workers 30 minutes to cut it down.

I hope in the future developers will be more thoughtful and mindful of their environmental impacts; not just for the sake of being a tree-hugging Haudenosaunee, but for the sake of future generations to come.

The last thing I want to tell my children is “I remember when all this was trees.”

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