At the individual level this tree has had an extremely positive affect on me. Not only in my attitude towards Earnest in particular, but rather towards nature as a whole. When you begin to spend an extended amount of time with a single object, whether it be natural or not, you are more than likely to spark a relationship. Through our relationship I was able to gain a much greater appreciation for all of the work nature does behind closed curtains. As I recently heard in a movie I was watching “beautiful things never ask for attention”. This resounded with me because I instantly thought of Earnest. Even though he may not be the tallest, strongest, or even the most beautiful tree on campus, he is mine and I will never forget his completely selfless nature.
In terms of the local environment, Earnest has a huge part to play. As we already have discussed he is a Londonplane tree mixed with a Sycamore, these hereditary traits allow him to be extremely efficient at reducing surrounding air pollutants. In a place like Carlisle, where the average ambient air quality is worse than most of the US, it is vital to incorporate species such as the London Plain into our designs. If we are to attempt to remedy our environmentally-degrading behavior we must begin to look at more ground-up solutions. These are solutions that stem directly from local sources or the affected persons, allowing for a more personal and direct resolution to the actual problem.
Earnest serves the campus of Dickinson College 7 days a week 52 weeks a year. Aside from its environmental benefits, the Londonplane Tree offers a variety of benefits for local communities both human and non-human. Ranging from a slight acknowledgement “that tree looks beautiful right now” to the squirrel family that nests in the upper branches, this tree selflessly serves the communities of Dickinson College. Its use-value could therefore be determined by; its aesthetic appeal to people, or its ability to remove air toxins, or for its integral role in the local ecosystem that does not include humans.
I wonder what the majority of people on campus would chose out of these three options?
At this level of interpretation it is necessary to move from talking about Earnest as an individual and rather about trees, and therefore the natural environment, in general and their importance and impact to the world. Every single day we lose a gargantuan amount of natural rainforests to deforestation and the greed that plagues our so-called ‘civilized’ nations. The single purpose of evolution is survival, and the way Mother Nature protects her survival is through biodiversity. It is nature’s defense mechanism to sudden change in the local environment. Unfortunately for natural ecosystems that inherently promote biodiversity, the industrial civilization that the world has adopted relies on the destruction of biodiversity. We use monoculture crops throughout the United States, especially corn, we require cleared land in order to continue to gain maximum surplus that correlates to the rising population levels. At every step of the way humans destroy biodiversity and the survival of nature that comes with it.