By Anna Rotor
We grow up with trees.
We want them to grow big;
we want them to be around us;
to give us shade in which we play;
to give us strong trunk and branches
on which we climb and swing and laugh;
to give us fruits which make us full,
healthy and strong;
medicine to make us well;
wood that keeps our body warm,
cooks our food;
leaves to keep our air clean
and to whisper and sing
and dance with the breeze;
and above all,
to give us aesthetic beauty
through which we feel
how lucky we are alive.
How irrational would it be to kill a tree,
even if we reason out that we need its wood,
its bark, its roots, its flowers and fruits and seeds,
to keep us alive!
It is a paradox
that for us to survive and progress,
we kill the host of life –
life of birds that build nest on its branches,
passersby who find respite
from the beating sun,
a myriad of small life forms
from insects to lizards
that find a home
and harbor on its roots and crown.
What a paradox
if we kill the tree that gives us oxygen
that brings down the cloud as rain,
that keeps the environment cool, clean and green
to kill a friend,
a companion and a guardian,
the link of our earth and sun,
God and His Son.
Excerpt from a speech of Anna Rotor, then
16 years old at School of St. Anthony QC, 1999.