This planet, this green breathing organism-filled planet we call home, this thin shell of atmosphere and living things is slowly dying a very slow death. Although it seems to happen slowly, on a cosmic scale it is happening in a blink of an eye. And we are witness to it.
By millions and millions of large and small insults every day, our biosphere is degrading. It is estimated that at the current rate of deforestation, all trees will be effectively gone from the planet in 600 years (Hope Jahren, 2016). Species that have been here for hundreds of millions of years will be essentially wiped out. The lungs of our atmosphere, the very things that replenish our world with oxygen, soak up carbon and cool the planet will be gone. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren are going to have to live in a world that will be much, much different than what we live in now.
These are the reasons I cherish urban green space. Of all the philanthropic causes I support, I consider the noblest is the simple planting of a Sitka spruce seedling that will still be here in 700 years, a towering giant of a tree. Bearing witness to our work so many hundreds of years ago. If we take care of it. If we guard it, if we preserve it. If we codify into our laws and traditions the protection that these beings deserve, and we need.
Discovery Park is a work in progress. When the Fort became a park back in 1974, it was hardly a pristine place. Only a few small stands of forest remained surrounded by acres and acres of parking lots, roads and buildings. Thanks to the dogged advocacy of Friends, this previously urbanized landscape has been slowly transformed into a quiet green space of majesty and peace. This is the paramount mission of what we do at the Friends of Discovery Park.