September heralds arbour month and the planting of hundreds of trees around the world. Yet on a daily basis hundreds of thousands of hectares of pristine rain forest are felled for products that end up as packaging or paper products to mop, clean and swab up our daily effluent. How sustainable this is, and the overall impact on the lungs of the world is a moot point.
What you can do is reconsider whether you need a double ply, super bleached toilet paper or ‘handy kitchen wipe’. Consider the tree from which it came and how long it will take to replace it.
A little known fact about the iconic Acacia tree is that when herbivores are grazing within thickets of Acacias, those trees that are not immediately being grazed upon will manifest a rise in the tannin levels in their leaves.
This means that when the herbivore has finished lunching on the succulent green leaves of one and moves on to the next, they will find it a whole lot less palatable than the previous leafy titbits.
They turn away in disgust and amble off in search of sweeter foliage and the tree has protected itself from over-grazing.
How can a tree, that has no central nervous system, communicate the danger to its fellow trees? Pause for thought wouldn’t you agree?