Malaysiakini Letter

If you love to breathe, save our trees

Saleh Mohammed  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | Over breakfast last week, of all topics, a friend of mine touched on parks and trees. I guess he has had enough on the economy, high cost of living and all the ‘extremisms’ of late.

Everyone is taught in school that trees not only provide oxygen, they play an important role in the ecology system. Any imbalance can cause flood, drought and other natural calamities that can lead to destruction of life.

Trees also provide shelter and food for animals, purify the air and regulate the temperature within urban environments. In short, they play a critical role in the quality of our life.

I think trees deserve more credit for all the amazing things they do for us.
That friend of mine started with the natural beauty of Taman Persekutuan Lembah Kiara (TPLK) in Kuala Lumpur.

It is no secret that many people from Damansara and its surrounding areas would agree that TPLK is among the best parks around. This is the place to enjoy the beauty of nature after a long day's work or simply to enjoy a leisurely walk for many retirees.

Connected to it is Bukit Kiara, boasting many jungle trails through its characteristic hills and mountain bike trails - probably one of the finest network of trails in Southeast Asia.

My friend was quite happy with the upkeep of the park and the friendly people tasked to keep the park clean and presentable. However, he is concerned on the care (or the lack of) of the trees.

Over the last six months there were many cases of mature trees being uprooted because of strong winds or heavy rain. He went on to say that these ‘casualties’ could have been avoided if the trees were properly pruned so that it will grow better and last longer.

It must have taken decades for the trees to be luxuriant with abundant growth - and a moment of wind gust to uproot it. He even showed me a photograph he had taken earlier of a tree around fifteen meters high slanting at a significant angle.

Without due care this particular tree will be another ‘casualty’ soon. And there are many more in TPKL itself and at Bukit Kiara.

His other concern is soil erosion. There are a couple of sites along the jogging track where minor erosion has taken place and again without due and proper care, the jogging track will give way anytime soon. Corrective actions taken after an erosion has occurred will surely cost more and the worst part is the track will not be useable for an extended period of time.

I think the above concerns apply to all parks and green spaces in our beloved country. The relationship between human beings and the earth is increasingly complicated and urgent.

In the Assisi Declarations on Nature in Italy (1986), a statement was made that in Islam, the central concept is tawhid or the 'Unity of God'. Allah is unity and His unity is also reflected in the unity of mankind, and the unity of man and nature.

His trustees are responsible for maintaining the unity of His creation, the integrity of the Earth, its flora and fauna, its wildlife and natural environment.

Unity cannot be had by discord, by setting one need against another or letting one end predominate over another; it is maintained by balance and harmony.

Islam is the middle path and we will be answerable for how we have walked this path, how we have maintained balance and harmony in the whole of creation around us.

The next time you are in a park, take a moment to pause and reflect on the beauty of their stature, the complexity of its ecosystem and the blessings they bestow upon us and other living things.

Few would argue against the importance of parks and trees, but have we really considered their full potential and the economical value of the ‘services’ they provide?

If you love to breathe, save the parks and trees.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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