Does a Tree have Rights?

I’ve always had good experiences getting to know the woods, and forests near homes in which I lived growing up. When I was about 9 my father, brother and I went out into the woods for a hike. This time my dad was instructing my brother on the safe handling and use of a rifle. After my older brother took a shot, I wanted to give it a try. Dad suggested to aim for a nearby tree,  I successfully hit the tree and afterwards noted I felt sad for the tree. That was pretty much the end of my relationship with rifles, but not with trees.

A few days ago my sister and I were strolling down a sidewalk in Gorge Town, Cayman Islands and came upon this special tree (okay, they’re all special). The tree was silently in service to provide oxygen, shade and beauty. As we got closer I noted one of the two trunks had been cut. As we were about to pass the tree, I looked down into the cut trunk’s cavity and saw, like the bullet, objects foreign and unnatural to the tree. I snapped a quick photo (left image).

We continued on our walk. Coming back we passed the tree I commented on what might be the tree’s perspective on its unwitting function as an ashtray.

A ways past the tree I was still talking about it. Soon enough we agreed  to turn around and walk back to the tree and do what we were compelled to do…. remove the 50 or so butts and properly dispose of them. I did have my “litter gloves” and I’ll tell you, we both felt better, knowing that we were honoring the tree, ourselves and the neighborhood. I then took the photo to the right.

Sometimes it’s important to stand up for living things that cannot speak for themselves. Contemplate that.