An old man and his great-grandson look out over a city—devoid of trees. Is this nature as our offspring will know it?


Claude Monet, “Weeping Willow” (1918), Columbus Museum of Art, Wikimedia Commons

Santiago Riveros Crosby is a student at News Decoder partner school Gimnasio Los Caobos in Bogotá, Colombia. He read the text below during a webinar on the environment this month featuring students from Gimnasio Los Caobos, Greens Farms Academy in the United States and the Herlufsholm School in Denmark.

A conversation between a great-grandfather and his great-grandson about trees and nature.

* * *

Year: 2060
Place: Earth

Great-grandson: Grandpa, thank you for bringing me to this hill. I have never come here. You can see the whole city from here.

Great-grandfather: Yes, it has a very nice panoramic view. And it would be much prettier if the land were the way it used to be.

Great-grandson: And how did it used to be?

Great-grandfather: Well, do you see the north of the city? It used to be full of trees. And the green color was intense.

Great-grandson: Grandfather, what is a tree?

Great-grandfather: A tree was a living being, but it had neither eyes nor a face. It was made of wood. In some cases it was huge, buried in the ground, and on top it had a kind of hair in an abstract shape. And do you see the south of the city? That used to be an ocean of water, not of petrol, of water.

Great-grandson: Wow Grandpa. I would have loved to know this place exactly as you described it to me.

Great-grandfather: Yes, this place used to be very beautiful, but hey, it’s better that we put on our masks. We are exposing ourselves a lot, and I don’t want you to get coughing fits like what happened a few days ago.

Three questions to consider:

  1. Have your ancestors spoken to you about changes in your surroundings since they were young?
  2. Do you think that killing nature should be made a crime?
  3. Are you taking steps to help save the environment?
Alistair Lyon author news decoder-150x150

Santiago Riveros Crosby is a 16-year-old student in the 10th Grade at Gimnasio Los Caobos in Bogotá, Colombia. He enjoys playing tennis and piano, and appreciates architecture. “I love to help people every time I can.”

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Educators' CatalogRemembering trees and other wonders of nature