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Concerning deforestation, explain the quote "Years to grow, hours to go."

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Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is a clever and memorable phrase to use in a campaign about deforestation. It is simply stating that while trees can take many years to grow to their full height, it takes mere hours to cut them down and remove the good that they are doing for our environment.

Deforestation means to permanently destroy a forest. This is done either to obtain the timber to use as fuel, or to make paper, furniture or homes from. The other common reason for deforestation is to clear land, which can then be used to expand cities or build new cities.

The biggest problem with deforestation, and the reason why phrases like "years to grow; hours to go" are important is that it is one of the primary causes of climate change.

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Clearly this quote is literally meant to refer to the length of time it takes to grow trees to maturity. While no trees are mentioned specifically in the question, it would not be out of the question to assume that a great many trees don't slow growth until they are somewhere around 15 years of age. Contrast this with the amount of time it takes to cut down a tree, and you understand the quote. Consider then, the enormous amount of trees that can be cleared in a matter of hours. According to National Geographic, 80% or more of the worlds natural forests have been destroyed. Even if loggers planted one tree for every tree they clear, these trees would take years to regrow. Consequently, another effect is the loss of natural habitats that are destroyed with little hope of rebuilding them for years. It always takes longer to build something up than it does to tear it down.

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