I’m not against the pruning of trees, because pruning does help at times in terms of improving the aesthetics or safety of a place.
What I’m against is the excessive pruning of trees all over Singapore that takes place on a regular basis.
(At the same time, I do wish more trees could be planted in Singapore, but that’s another battle for another time).
That tree gave some much-needed shade to Pooters – something I appreciate because I hate sitting on an over-heated seat and I hate knowing Pooters is exposed to the elements.
There are other benefits to trees in our urban environment too: carbon sequestration, reduction in ambient temperatures, etc. Read more here.
That’s why trees are especially important in a place like sunny Singapore and in a world stricken by global warming.
However, I’ve always felt that whoever makes decision like these – e.g. to prune trees excessively – do so in the right spirit: to neaten and hence beautify the place, to prevent tree branches from falling and killing people during a gale or a storm, etc.
Unfortunately, these decisions seem to always be made in a vacuum, without consideration of other important factors like the ones I mentioned above: shade, shelter, preventing global warming, etc.
I think this has to do with encouraging critical thinking and providing these people with an actual knowledge of circumstances in our world today.
And that’s why it has never been more important for us to move away from subjects taught in the traditional curriculum, to teaching slightly more multidisciplinary and ‘real-world’ subjects like biodiversity or environmental ethics now.