With son, with book, without tree

By: Antonio López Sánchez

Con hijo, con libro, sin árbol
Ilustración: Iván Batista

As you read these lines, it is very possible that some institution, or someone covered by any provision of one of these, is cutting down a tree in the Cuban capital. In recent days, a wave of less than genocidal violence has risen in Havana against these useful, but defenseless, green allies. In social networks there are many calls, complaints, complaints and even the copy of responses and statements from various instances questioned on the matter. However, there is still no clear and forceful government pronouncement on the subject.

There are many more questions than answers. A citizen visits dissimilar entities related to the matter and provokes astonishment at her request: an authorization for, legally, following the rules, to be able to plant three trees in public places. Various statements, without there being an official response to the matter, assume that wood has become a new business and that even the workers of the companies in charge of pruning are paid more money as more trees cut down. In social networks, in addition to creating groups to denounce and protest the fact of excessive pruning and felling of trees, there are multiple comments from people who claim to have contacted various authorities, television programs and channels, as well as various well-known journalists from the national news media and… no one answers the concerns either.

This is not a research paper. It is the comment of an ordinary Cuban who observes with sadness and helplessness how the majestic giants that protect us from the sun, that oxygenate the air, clean our environment and shelter countless species, are exterminated with impunity. I am not going to list the many benefits that these kind friends bring to our lives, although I do make it clear that it hurts me a lot every time I see how someone is murdered with impunity. I do not know how many trees there are in the capital, how many have been killed, how many the plans say must be planted, how many will actually be planted. However, you don’t need any data, just walk a little, to notice with concern how the stumps increase everywhere. In each street where a colossus exterminated by greed, ignorance and laziness falls more than by the mountains, the city, and all of us with it, loses a piece of life, air, humanity. Trees cannot defend themselves and they give us a lot for nothing.

For years, every spring or just at the beginning of summer (just when the coolness of the shade was most needed), I remember the image of a specialist, explaining for the umpteenth time on television that the pruning of trees in the city had a strict protocol. Every summer, in reality, the poor victims of the pruning leviathan were left with the branches almost reduced to a minimum, practically without foliage, in a pitiful and hurtful nakedness. They, the many animal species that need them for their lives and the simple pedestrians now exposed to the sun, surely ignore such protocols, but they do suffer their bad applications.

It is obvious that the lighting, telephone and electricity services, that some important pipeline or a certain building, can be damaged by excessive growth or by the deterioration of an aged or very exuberant plant. In past times, species were planted in the streets that, due to the growth of their roots or branches, could lift the sidewalks and affect sanitary facilities, sewage or power lines. Pruning, careful, or felling if there is no other choice, are the actions to take into account in such cases. But I don’t think all of the recently cut trees suddenly started damaging cables or threatening walls. More so when it is obvious that a tree takes many years to grow. It is easily verifiable that not all felled trees are diseased or threaten cables or houses. Many are healthy, vigorous specimens, with many years of freshness and green remaining. Just by looking at the photos published on the networks, it is noted that both large and small trees, regardless of species or locations, have suffered alike being reduced to trunks crowned by a shapeless cluster of painful stumps or to definitive death.

In our cities, although there are urban regulations to follow for the species and places where trees are planted, there must also be to cut them down. It is obvious that none of them are being fulfilled right now. I read or heard that a country in the Middle East, semi-desert, made a campaign so that the population, when eating a fruit, would throw the seeds in their wake on land next to the roads or in barren places. The results became tangible in many fruit trees growing everywhere. If it were a fake news, the pretense and the image have so much poetry and beauty that it is worth repeating.

Concrete actions are required in this matter. Defined answers, measures and punishments are needed, both to the possible crime and to the indolence and disinterest of some air-conditioned chair bureaucrat. The pandemic, the queues, the shortages, continue to occupy the first place in the news and daily actions of this city. However, if it happens that the coronavirus is defeated, that abundance finally arrives, that life returns to its usual course, then we will have health and food in a sick city, more suffocating, full of gray areas instead of green, without shade. , neither fresh, nor flowers, nor birds. We will save our children, we will read the books where these hard times are told, but we will have no trees.

Trees are pure life. They take many years to grow and just a few moments to fall down under the savage human hand. Almost always, in an act of love for the neighbor, for the future life, they are sown for the enjoyment of others, for tomorrow. Therefore, right now is the best time to plant a tree or, at least, not to kill more of those who still remain. You have to do it in Havana. It must be done for each and every one of us. It has to be done for the trees and for the future.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.