Mother nature has always been both a cruel mistress and a plentiful provider. Her generosity and ferocity were felt daily since ancient times. She caused us anguish and pain exposing us to the elements day and night. The cold harsh nights, the scorching hot day, and the weather that shows no mercy. All of these were summoned by mother nature. For what purpose must we enter these trials and tribulations? It’s all to get stronger. If there were no challenges in life, our progression as a society and as a species would halt. If everything was already perfect, no one would want to change anything. We would be rooted in our previous ways frolicking ignorantly in our green pastures when something better is just across the fence. Plus, though we were constantly beaten down by her, she was still kind as well. Food, water, and shelter were all given to us once we became worthy of those privileges. We lived in a harsh world and mother nature showed us that we needed to be strong.

How did we repay her? We destroyed the things that she held most dear to her heart. The oceans, polluted. Animal species, extinct. The forests, on fire. We have grown and advanced so much as a life form. We clawed our way to the top and slogged through the mud. As a whole, we’ve been through a lot. However, as time went on, we forgot who taught us to survive. The only memories some hold are resentment towards the harsh treatment of our kind in the early years. Unfortunately, those in that minority are the only ones that see nature as nothing but a potential point of profit. The feeling of life means nothing to them. As long as there are forests, caves, and oceans to be exploited, there is money to make. 

There are just a few things that these people might have forgotten. There just might have been a slight error in judgment. A sort of slip-up that’s near undetectable. Maybe, it’s the fact that we live on the Earth. This mother nature’s domain and she is here to protect it. We hurt her, so she will do the same to us. The destruction of the natural ecosystems creates a ripple effect. It’s not just the animals that lose their homes that die, we are inadvertently killing ourselves as well. 

The world is starting to wake up to this reality. In frenzied panics, we apologize to mother nature and say that we’ll fix it immediately. She’s heard the same excuse from humans many times over innumerable generations. At first, she sees this as another one of our false promises and baseless claims. It was an excuse for us to try and convince her to spare our lives for the time being. As she looked down on our species, she realized something. “Perhaps this generation can accomplish this promise.” Our technology has advanced far enough that virtually all humans are aware of the planet’s troubles. The outreach of the environmentalist movement is the largest it has ever been. Nations have signed treaties and agreements that state that they’ll contribute to stopping deforestation, climate change, and the death of our planet. 

In late 2019, the largest crowdfunded operation in history reached its goal. A bit of backstory before what their goal was. To commemorate YouTuber, “Br. Beast’s,” 20 millionth subscriber milestone, they started a movement to save the Earth. What movement exactly? They wanted to plant 20 million trees before 2020. They did it. It was November. They got 20 million dollars in less than two months. How do 20 million dollars equal 20 million trees? With the help of DroneSeed, The Arbour Day Foundation, and economies of scale, suddenly the scope of 20 million trees seems viable. DroneSeed specifically plays arguably the biggest part. With advanced algorithms, the drones can map out every detail of the terrain. It can transverse land scorched by forest fires and places that are too dangerous for people to go to. It can also automatically search where the trees have the highest chances of survival while moving autonomously. It houses cartridges that house a variety of seeds, fertilizer, and natural animal deterrents. 

Actually, speaking of forests, have you ever considered how to build a forest? The majority of people think that it’s a simple process. Put tree in dirt, take care of plant, then done. However, it’s not that just that way though. Many things look easy at first glance but take a closer look and you’ll see a complex series of procedures and materials. The same is true for reforestation and tree planting. 

First of all, just like with farming, you shouldn’t rely on a single plant species. This is a lesson that the Irish have learned in “The Great Famine” of 1845. Most, if not, all of the inhabitants of the country lived on potatoes their main source of food. But when a plague hit the genetically identical potatoes, it rendered them inedible and lead to the death of a million people. This is also a lesson that China was taught the hard way as well. In an effort to stop the spread of the Gobi desert into northern China, they planned to plant a barrier of trees. It was dubbed “The Great Green Wall.” Speed and widespread growth was the main concern, which caused them to one of their worst lapse of judgment. For the entirety of the forest, they had created only 1 main species of tree was used. Then, a ceratin bug came along and caused the death of 1 billion trees. Nice one bug, thanks a lot! This massive loss was equivalent to roughly 20 years worth of effort. In terms of quantity, using planting the same type of trees is better. But the Earth not only wants but needs quality trees. A forest with better genetic diversity provides more mixed resources, which leads to more variety in species. It’s also better to use many different species of local trees. Ones that come from foreign lands tend to become invasive and do more harm than good. Because they have no natural competition in the area, they dominate creating homogeneity. In addition to that, trees from the local area have already adapted to the climate and soil. They’ll produce a higher quality of tree than if you were to use “outsider” trees.

But it’s not just the trees we have to worry about. A large part of the picture is also where you plant them. If all of Da Vinci, Van Gogh, and Picasso’s paintings were placed in a dump, they’d get tarnished immediately. That’s why you have to find the best spots to plant the trees in. The best way to do so is to encourage natural regeneration. Basically, it’s planing in the treeless zones in an already established forest. After all, it’s better to fix a broken car than it is to design one yourself. For a “level 10” success of “artificial forests”, natural regeneration can do the same job faster, better, and easier. The less humans intervene with mother earth, the more she’ll help out. Once again, the natural way is better than the artificial. 

From the start of mankind, we’ve always been allured by the inner workings of the Earth. We are the Earth’s children and are curious about her ways. We’ve studied the forest, oceans, and mountains and even personified them to have a better understanding. Mother nature herself is a fictional creature that we made up in order to better comprehend the world we live in. Especially here in the Philippines, we’ve built up an ethos of creatures and mythology that specifically caters to forests. Maria Makiling, The Kapre, and many other forest spirits were made up to deter the destruction of the planet. If any of these were actually real, we’d already be dead. Their wrath we would surely incur and we would perish. But imagine if they were. Mother nature would be weeping blood after we repaid her kindness with agony. It’s time for us to actually repay her. It’s time to calm to forest spirits.