There are so many trees in the world that cutting one down won’t make a difference. Right? Wrong. We are running out of trees at an alarming rate, so every tree left standing is a tiny victory in itself. Every tree has value and every tree has worth, but sadly a lot of people value consumerism and money more than trees.
Trees have a use-value far more important than paper, wooden chairs, or houses! Sure, trees can be cut down and made into cool things that we use everyday, but don’t we have enough STUFF? As Gould said, a use value is “anything that satisfies a human want” (Gould 1943:96). There are use-values that aren’t material things, but sadly this is ignored nowadays.
Over the course of my relationship with Mr. Bur, I have realized that he has a lot to offer. Although he doesn’t talk much, Mr. Bur and I have gotten to know each other pretty well. When it was hot out, he let me sit in his shade. When I had work to do, he let me lean against his trunk so I could read my books more comfortably. When it was a beautiful day out, he gave me a nice spot to lay and people-watch. Once we became friends, it was almost as if I had my own spot on campus that no one knew about. I introduced him to a few friends, and he let me watch his squirrel friends play on his branches, which I always enjoyed. Mr. Bur definitely has a use-value to myself as an individual.
Mr. Bur also has a use-value to the local environment. As everyone in Carlisle knows, there are a lot of squirrels in this town. A lot. Mr. Bur selflessly let his squirrel friends eat his acorns so that they could get nice and fat for the winter. Mr. Bur had a lot of acorns, and the squirrels relied on him heavily. If he had been cut down, the squirrels would not have had enough nuts and would have suffered through the whole winter. Mr. Bur is useful to the campus because he is beautiful. Without him, Morgan Field would look a little barer, and we all know prospective students and their families love foliage. Mr. Bur definitely makes Dickinson a more attractive campus in every season. The global ecosystem needs Mr. Bur as well. His leaves filter carbon dioxide out of our air, and give us the oxygen we need to breathe. He supports insects, squirrels, and birds, all while he cleans the air we breathe. He does a lot for the ecosystem, without asking much in return. All he asks is soil for his roots. The world needs Mr. Bur for all of these reasons. If he was cut down and used to make another thing, that is all he would become. He would no longer feed squirrels, no longer support birds, no longer offer shade on hot days, and no longer give beauty to the campus. Is that thing really even comparable to all of the things Mr. Bur already does? I think not, and you should too.