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The American Forests Essay


Nowadays the condition of the American forests along with the forests in the world is greatly affected by the global environmental problems. Two approaches to the issue of environmental protection of forests will be examined in the following paper, the approach described in the article “The American Forests” by John Muir and in the article “Save the Trees” by Jeff Tollefson. Generally, these two conceptions can be seen as quite similar with some insignificant differences.

A closer look at the contents of the articles suggests that Tollefson has a tendency to address the official audience having the authority to change the situation in the environmental protection, whereas Muir seems to appeal to every human; Tollefson’s argument rests mainly on political and economical factors related to the problem, whereas Muir addressed common sense of every particular human; and finally, being written one hundred years later than the article by Muir Tollefson’s article has a different approach to the financial matters related to the issues of forest protection.

The global aspects are considered in Tollefson’s article with the reference to different international agreements as the problem has become the global one, while Muir’s aricle is more about the USA.

Within this vast field of research, two important articles discussing the issue of environmental protection of forests present a row of important facts which can be well-applied to understand the matter in a broader way. In his article “The American Forests”, John Muir discusses the beauty of the American forests along with their being easy targets for unwise people destroying them for their egoistical purposes.

He explains that “any fool can destroy trees” as “they cannot run away” (Muir, 2006, p. 364). He expresses his worries concerning the egoistical nature of humans that may only think about their immediate benefits, and would not even try to reason about the consequences of their actions. According to him, “few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests” (Muir, 2006, p. 364).

He also expresses his concerns over the time necessary for renewing the trees which were destroyed by people corrupted by their acquisitiveness. “It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods,—trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra”, explains the author (Muir, 2006, p. 364).

Similar issues are explored in the article “Save The Trees” by Jeff Tollefson. In his article, the author raises a row of important questions mainly related to the environmental problems which appeared to be very serious nowadays. According to Tollefson, “the climatic implications of deforestation, which releases the carbon stored in plants and soils into the atmosphere, both heightens the urgency and opens the door to potential solutions” (2008, p. 8). In addition, the author raises important economical issues related to the problem.

He explains the way countries depend on forests economically, and makes a few conclusions concerning the impossibility of overcoming environmental problems related to forests unless a proper strategy in the field of economics is developed. “The biggest fear among skeptics is that an endless stream of deforestation credits will simply allow companies in the developed world to pay a little extra and pass costs on to consumers without otherwise changing their policies”, comments the author on the economical problem of the deforestation (Tollefson, 2008p. 9).

On the whole, the two articles though they were written in different historical periods address the important issue of forests’ environmental protection, and explain that this problem cannot be solved unless its economical causatives are not addressed.

Although the two articles can be evaluated as quite analogous in their approaches including their position concerning the critical role of a wise economical strategy in solving the problem of environmental protection of forests, a number of differences in their approaches can be noticed.

First of all, the two articles are addressed to a different audience. The article by Muir seems to be directed to every person despite one’s origin, position within the society or any other characteristic of one’s background. Muir appeals to common sense existing in the mind of every human being (referring to egoistical nature of humans), and encourages to think about the consequences of unwise economical strategies in the use of forests.

He explains particular ways of destructing forests by people in the United States. In contrast to Muir (2006), Tollefson (2008) seems to address a different audience. The author appeals to people occupying official positions within the society enabling them to make important economical decisions. Tollefson (2008) points as the European market, the proposal of the European Commission, UN negotiations and other specific documents and events which are related to the professional economical specialists.

Furthermore, Tollefson (2008) appears to be more global addressing political and economical issues related to the problem of environmental protection of forests (like the mentioning of the market-based cap-and-trade programme) whereas Muir (2006) is more concentrated on the practical negative effect of deforestation (stressing on the possible problems connected with forests absence).

Tollefson (2008) is remarkable by the use of a variety of economic figures and factors; he also relates the political issues connected to the international relations in the world community such as Kyoto protocol and the other regulations developed in order to protect forests form uncontrolled clear cutting motivated by the purposes of economic enrichment.

Finally, the two articles are rather different in the description of a financial mechanism which can be applied by the members of the government in order to exercise the measures directed to the saving of the forests.

Tollefson’s approach can be described as a modern day one. He is more realistic about the way of thinking of the government and common people; whereas Muir is more idealistic in his strategies. Muir argues that environmental strategies should be adopted as a priority over economical ones with regards to assessment. Many decades passed since Muir published his outstanding article, but the economical approach did not change.

This can be supported by the data from “A Report of the National Forest Assessment Group”. In this document, it can be seen that the sad situation described by Muir in the beginning of the twentieth century has not changed after a hundred of years to pass. “Across the US, forests are altered by harvesting, by fire management practices, and by conversion to agriculture or through expansion of urban areas, roads, and recreation”, reads the report supporting Muir’s argument (Global Change Research Program, 2001, 2).

In conclusion, the two articles under consideration dedicated to the research of the issues related to the environmental protection of forests on a global scale along with the national one can be evaluated as rather similar in their approaches with some insignificant differences. Mainly, the differences can be seen in the arguments applied by the authors, the audience they address and the feasibility of their approach.

Reference List

Global Change Research Program. (2001). Potential consequences of climate variability and change. New York: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Global Change Program Office.

Muir, J. (2006). The American Forests. In J. Muir (Ed.), Our National Parks (pp. 331-365). New York: Cosimo, Inc.

Tollefson, J. (2008). Save The Trees. Nature, 452, pp. 8-9.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'The American Forests'. 15 November.

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