Hi, my name is Afzelia Quanzensis. I know, it sounds like the name of a Spanish lady in a soap opera. I’ve heard that one too many times. If it’s too much, you can call me Pod Mahogany. That’s my common name. They gave it to me because my scientific name was a little hard to articulate. Every time there was a tour of this place, the humans were quick to mispronounce my name. But that’s okay. It’s nothing compared to what I’ve seen them do to my brothers and sisters. It’s nothing compared to how much I’ve seen them polluting the environment. The fact that I am still alive is more than a miracle. There are so many times I’ve heard them talk about their plans to kill me and build a road in this area. There’s once they even wanted to get rid of me and my neighbours just so they could put up a commercial building right here. Can you imagine? They said that I wasn’t of much use to them and that the building would earn them a lot more money than the park I live in.
You see, despite what humans think of me, I have still managed to keep the faith. Even though they’re the ones who claim to be educated, they probably don’t know just how much we do for them. They lack empathy. Maybe if they got to be trees one day they would understand. They would understand that after they’ve polluted the air with factories and industries, we help to improve the quality of their air. They would understand that we absorb odours and pollutant gases, and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on our leaves and bark. But maybe it’s not enough for them that we clean up their mess. Maybe the money is more important.
Perhaps what we need to do is to strike one of these days, and then maybe, just maybe, they’ll start to take us more seriously. We may need to stop working, even just for a day, and they will see just how much we do for them. They’ll see that we play a major role in the ecosystem by feeding wildlife as well as prevent flooding and soil erosion. They’ll see that if it wasn’t for us, global warming would be a much bigger issue than it already is. They’ll see that we store excess carbon and slow down the rate of carbon emissions on the earth. But maybe they don’t really care about that. Maybe the money is more important.
I’m angry and resentful. Today a family came by the park to visit. There was a dustbin just there, but the young girl chose to hang her plastic bag on my branches. I wished that I could speak up and tell her the effects of what she was doing. I wished I could tell her that this would inhibit my nutrient uptake. What shocked me even further was that her parents didn’t take the matter seriously. They walked away and left the plastic bag right there. I’m so tired of all this. I’m tired of being taken for granted, and I hope that one day they’ll get to understand. I hope that day comes soon.
If humans were trees for a day, they would understand just what we do for them. They would learn that we are good for their health. When humans come to this park and are surrounded by the beautiful green space, their blood pressure drops, their heart rate slows and their stress levels come down. But maybe that’s not enough for them. Maybe we’ll never be enough.
Above all this, we really can’t complain. Mother Nature takes care of us in more ways than we can imagine. In 2019 when humans caused a fire in the Amazon Rainforest, she was so angry that she fixed it all by herself. The fire lasted an entire month and humans were unable to reverse the situation. One day Mother Nature sent the rains to fix up their mess. Maybe that’s why I’m still alive. She has always stood her ground and ensured that they keep me here. I wish that humans loved me just as much as Mother Nature does.