From “What Are Screens Doing to Our Eyes—and Our Ability To See?” a Wired article by Virginia Heffernan:
Not long ago a science writer named Gabriel Popkin began leading tree walks for city dwellers in Washington, DC, whose monomaniacal attention to screens had left them tree-blind. That’s right, tree blindness—and the broader concept of blindness to the natural world—might actually be the real danger screens pose to vision. In 2012, Popkin had learned about trees to cure this blindness in himself and went from a naif who could barely pick out an oak tree to an amateur arboriculturist who can distinguish hundreds of trees. The biggest living beings in his city suddenly seemed like friends to him, with features he could recognize and relish.
Once he could see trees, they became objects of intense interest to him—more exhilarating than apps, if you can believe it. “Take a moment to watch and listen to a flowering redbud tree full of pollen-drunk bumblebees,” he has written. “I promise you won’t be bored.”
Many thanks to the Rainforest Action Network for sending us this message and alerting us to rainforest destruction in connection with the 2020 Olympics.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic authorities have publicly committed to host one of the greenest Olympic games in history. While they’ve touted their use of recycled e-waste medals and hydrogen cars, RAN and our allies found them using significant volumes of rainforest wood to build their new National Olympic Stadium, including from Shin Yang, a Malaysian supplier that has a history of rainforest destruction, illegal logging, and human rights abuses.
Send a message today to the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and demand no more rainforest wood for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
RAN and dozens of our allies have delivered multiple letters to the IOC and Tokyo Olympic authorities, urging them to adopt stronger safeguards for their timber supply chains. But thus far, they’ve continued to deny the serious risks of rainforest destruction, illegal logging, and rights abuses associated with the building of the Olympic Stadium and other facilities.
That’s why we need your voice now. We need a public outcry to break through to the Olympic authorities to let them know the reputation and credibility of the iconic Olympic games are at stake. By taking action now, we can help prevent further use of rainforest wood and make sure the Olympics adopts strong safeguards on rainforests and human rights. The eyes of the world are on Tokyo and there is a small and shrinking window of time to correct what could become a predictable and unnecessary stain on Japan’s moment in the Olympic spotlight.
Will you add your voice and call on the IOC to end deforestation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics?
Poetry editor Terrance Hayes selected Kazuko Shiraishi’s 2015 poem “Mommy’s Acquaintance, a 90-Year- Old-Tree” for publication in the New York Times Magazine edition of February 11, 2018. The poem first appeared in Sea, Land, Shadow 1951–2015, published by New Directions. In this tribute, Ms. Shiraishi personifies an old grape tree as “Mommy’s acquaintance.”
The poem was translated by Yumiko Tsumura, an award-winning translator, who writes of a tree in her own life: “I visit the same old cherry tree in my native village every time I go home in Spring as my acquaintance in my life path.”
The beautiful trees at Mānoa Marketplace are in danger of being cut down. Alexander & Baldwin purchased the property two years ago and is considering plans to remove the trees due to safety concerns.
Local architect Steven Melcher says he has a plan that will satisfy those concerns and preserve the trees.
Read Denby Fawcett’s Civil Beat article for details. If you want to help save the trees, sign the petition at Change.org.
Until early September, the gallery at East-West Center on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus is having an exhibit on trees. Click on the link to download information on the exhibit.