The Forest Around Us



Bill Moore

A fable of the forest – Number 3

....Surer than tomorrow’s sunrise – there will be change.
....Quietly the sun rose over the “State Fibre Reserve Number 47.” A bird chirped and two squirrels busied them-selves scurrying about the ground. No breeze this day – just the stillness of a western morning. The rows of Supertrees stood like soldiers at attention – green giants two hundred feet high and only forty years since planted. Supertrees, science with its magic additives and potions had bettered Mother Nature by a mere two hundred years. Woodfibre – you could build with it – or you could eat it. Man’s one great renewable resource.
....The vast oil pools beneath the earth were now nearly run dry. A one shot resource. Natural gas fields on land and in the oceans were nearly spent of their power giving product. A one shot resource. Copper, gold, silver, even iron ore were only extracted in minute amounts compared to the old days a hundred years ago when man and giant machines ripped open the bowels of the earth and stripped away their treasures. A one shot resource. Recycle – a word from the past that was spoken of by people called environmentalists – was a byword of all today. But even with the sophistication of the finest of recycling machinery there was always the constant shrinkage. And always as less and less amount of metal as the years rolled by.
....But, without these giants—the Supertrees – and the ability of science to govern, replant, nourish, inject, and devote loving care to – there would be no new materials to build the cities with. And the world bulged with people, and the cities cried out for building material. Gone of course were the thoughts of lumber of a board. Every ounce of the supertree was used

for Mouldwood. This material impreg-nated with the stiffeners and pliables of the scientists laboratory – produced a product that never deteriorated, did not need painting, could be formed in circles, triangles and ingenious forms, was man’s answer to the future for a roof over his head.
....“Attention students” – came the crisp voice from the Audio box, “we shall proceed with lesson number seven. You will recall that yesterday we discussed the history of the Exploitive Age – whereby the earth’s resources were recklessly taken to feed the whims of a population’s insatiable cries for manufactured pro-ducts. So reckless were the govern-ments and people of the world in their desires for affluence, they nearly destroyed the lives of future gen-erations. To be lost for all time were the vast pools of oil beneath the lands and oceans. The indiscriminate use of this wonderful power source was encouraged by industry and govern-ment. The people were encouraged to use unlimited amounts of fuel to heat their homes, to give them light or to drive great automobiles with only a single person occupying.”
....The voice droned on as film flashed on the screen. “Here you see a great highway system of roads. Notice the automobiles crowded together not moving. Seventy-five percent of those automobiles contain one person. The fumes from these vehicles were a major contribution to the Decade of Death that caused so many millions of people to die from the effects of contaminated air. Problem compoun-ded problem. The oil shortage, when it finally came, was the cause of substitute power that gave birth to the thousands of nuclear power plants. These in turn, because of their excessive use, destroyed marine life
in lakes, streams and continental oceans.”
....Iron ore was extracted from the earth in all parts of the world at ever increasing rates to feed the hungry people and their cries for more and more manufactured goods. And when the iron ore became more difficult to find the prices of the manufactured goods became beyond the reach of most of the people.”
....“Giant aircraft, using unmercifully vast amounts of fuel, were flown at times with hardly any passengers on board. The waste in this industry alone can never be known. Man’s rush to oblivion in his waste of resources could not be stopped in those days, for no government in the world dared bring in the stringent laws that would conserve the resources for the future.”
....“The pollutions of industry and the reckless use of the forests caused a steady depletion of the wood resources of the world. Knowing full well the need for energetic con-servation of the forests – governments and industry looked no farther ahead than a mere twenty or twenty-five years. As steel grew scarce the demands of wood inc-reased. Savages of ancient times treated their forests with far greater respect than did our forefathers of over a hundred years ago. And yet even in those times the voices of moderation spoke out, but were ignored because of so called “economics.”
....“Never in the history of man were the gifts of nature more abused and wasted than in the twentieth century. Man was not just content to kill his neighbour in devastating wars – he was only satisfied when he had dug and sucked the wealth of the earth dry. Then and only then did the true realization strike home. Chaos fol-lowed chaos. The roads were empty
British Columbia Lumberman, February, 1974

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for the fuels were gone. The homes were cold for the electricity and gases were all but gone. Trade and com-merce stopped – the great factories lay idle, and men became animals in search of food.”

....“But through all this, despite the stupidity of man and his waste – one resource – the forests – kept some semblance of hope alive that would allow – with care and planning for man to return to a useful life. True the forests of the world had suffered, in some cases irreparable harm. But this was not a resource that took eons to rebuild itself like copper – or iron or oil. This was a plant resource, that with guidance and scientific handling could be renewed again and again in a man’s lifetime. No great secrets were unfurled. Forester scientists had known all along what was needed – but eco-nomics had crushed their knowledge.”
....“So in the Decade of Real Truth we turned to what was left of the forests around us all over this world and as you know the results have been a new emergence of man, thanks to wood-fibre.”
....The voice box spoke these last words for the morning lesson. “You will now proceed to the plot of Supertrees outside this building and do your field work for the day.”
....The students walked outside the building and gathered in groups about some of the majestic trees.
....A sign was posted for all to read – the same sign that was posted in Reserves all over the world. It read:
Man shall not cut a tree for his sole ....use.
Man shall not burn wood for his sole ....use.
All citizens shall devote two years to ....forester training.
All garden trees shall be the property ....of the state.
Violators of the above shall be ....executed.
....A faint breeze drifted through the branches of the Supertrees as they stood guard. This resource would last now that it had the proper care due it.
This is only a fable – isn’t it ridiculous – or is it?

Keep out of the bight,
British Columbia Lumberman, February, 1974