Mary­lan­ders need to pro­tect our forests

We are lit­er­ally steal­ing from the next gen­er­a­tion.

The Washington Post - - CAPITAL BUSINESS -

The Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly is hear­ing amend­ments to Mary­land’s For­est Con­ser­va­tion Act. The act is more than 20 years old and is fail­ing the next gen­er­a­tion. Mary­land lost 14,488 acres of for­est from 2009 to 2017, ac­cord­ing to the Mary­land Depart­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, de­spite a state pol­icy that says we should have no net loss. Sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion was in­tro­duced a year ago but died in com­mit­tee, and since that time, an ad­di­tional 2,600 acres of for­est were lost — and that’s a low es­ti­mate be­cause some coun­ties, in­clud­ing Mont­gomery, failed to sub­mit their re­quired an­nual re­port.

The last thing we need to be do­ing as the world is warm­ing is de­stroy­ing trees. In the rab­binic tra­di­tion, there is this story: “When God cre­ated the first hu­mans God took them and showed them all the trees of the Gar­den of Eden and said, ‘See my works, how beau­ti­ful and praise­wor­thy they are. . . . Be care­ful not to spoil or de­stroy my world — for if you do, there will be no­body af­ter you to re­pair it.’” If we de­stroy our forests, we are lit­er­ally steal­ing from the next gen­er­a­tion. The for­est con­ser­va­tion bills be­ing heard in the Gen­eral Assem­bly of­fer hope that to­mor­row’s chil­dren can live in a vi­brant world. Rain Zo­hav, Rockville The writer, a rabbi, is a mem­ber of In­ter­faith Part­ners for the Ch­e­sa­peake and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Jews for the Earth.

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