Read the following extract carefully and then write a summary in NOT MORE THAN 120
words. Your summary must be in continuous prose, in paragraph form and, as far as
possible, IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Only the first 120 words of your answer will be read
Somewhere in the archives of our radio stations and in a few private collections are recordings of a song entitled ‘Trees’.
It would have been composed and recorded years ago when the world was not as conscious as it is now about our environment. However, it was the majesty and sturdiness of trees that moved the lyricist, in accepting their importance, to observe that, whatever might be our many achievements and creations on the planet, “only God can make a tree”.
The importance of trees as part of our environment is often undermined as millions of acres of land all over the world are cleared of trees and more land is put into agriculture or the trees are replaced by concrete buildings, signifying one concept of economic development.
At the same time, those who are aware of the importance of having trees around are heard warning that we need to display a sense of balance. For a while, we, as inhabitants of the planet, need land for food and for erecting houses and so on, the planet itself requires trees if it is to adequately sustain life. These life forms include us. With all this in mind, it has been most heartening to learn that steps are being taken in our part of the woods to plant at least 80 000 more trees, one for every person below the age of 18.
According to one environmental expert, “When people build, they tend to just clear the land rather than build around existing vegetation. Then they plant a small flower garden.” He stressed that these could not replace the diminished oxygen production caused by the removal of the trees, or the role played by trees in conserving our mainly shallow soil. When we see muddy water rushing by after rainfall, it is the result of soil being washed away from areas that have no tree roots to hold it in place.
A consciousness of how we should act as stewards of the planet does not just happen. We have to be carefully taught. This tree-planting project is an example of how we can teach our young people what is expected of them and what is required in the years ahead if we are not to disadvantage later generations.
Adapted from “Accepting that trees are important”.
Daily Nation. March 31, 2008, p. 6.