For those of you who don’t know me, aside from being completely obsessed with elephants, I’m also extremely fond of The Lord of the Rings movies. I have read The Hobbit, and the Fellowship as well as the first half of the Two Towers, so bear with me. Of the original movie trilogy, The Two Towers was always my favorite mostly for the amazing fight sequences at the Battle for Helm’s Deep as well as the developing relationship between Gimli and Legolas, but also for the inclusion of the Ents.
Ents are sentient, tree-like creatures that watch over the forests, protecting them from all manner of evil creatures. They could speak once the Elves taught them how and they could move. Why is any of this important? The other day, I was watching The Two Towers and I watched the scene of The Last March of the Ents and the thought struck me: What would happen to us if Ents existed in our world, not just in the fictional world of Tolkien?
We spend so much time expanding, overpopulating, and consuming resources that the economic realm seems to ignore or barely acknowledge the deforestation that is happening all over the world. Now, I don’t know that every person involved in this destruction is as heartless as they seem. I’m sure some, if not most of them need the money to support their families which is commendable. However, the big face of these companies are killing our planet all for profit. Never minding the destruction of flora and faunal species that may very well go extinct in the process. Some that may be yet undiscovered by science, not to say that they haven’t been discovered or utilized by indigenous cultures for generations. My point is that we lose so much because we don’t have the foresight to realize that if we continue on this path, we will have nothing left but infertile dirt and misery.
So, back to my question: What would happen if Ents existed in our world? I mentioned before that the purpose of the Ents was to be guardians of the forest, tree-herders. They protected their charges from the evil of orcs and men who wanted to cut them down and burn them, use them as fuel for their machinery. This is not unlike what we use wood for, but we also cut down acres of forests in order to reach a resource below the soil, or utilize the soil itself for agricultural purposes. However, this is my theory: if Ents were active in our world, I believe that an event not unlike the Last March of the Ents would take place. I think that they would become outraged that 80% of the world’s forests have been lost due to deforestation and seek retribution, at the very least destroying the machines that make it possible. Much of that loss is attributed to agricultural practices. According to the World Preservation Foundation, there are seven countries in the world that make up the majority of this loss, including the United States.
That statistic alone begs the question: how much of that did we really need to cut down? Is there a better way? Not more sustainable because that in itself suggests the mass use of trees will continue. No, is there a way to eliminate the use of trees on a mass scale? To take only what we need – a minimalist system. Like anything else, this would require a mindset change on a grand scale, something we might not be ready for.
Saruman the White was an Istari – a wizard, someone who had previously loved nature and light before being corrupted by greed and darkness, cut down half the forest in order to build his armies and war machines. The Ents marched against him and the dark creatures threatening all that is good in the world upon discovering this massacre. They destroyed the river dam, extinguishing the fires of war and machinery. In doing so, they made it possible for the forests to be regrown from the loss, though it would never replace the ones they lost. Each one had their own voice, though they may not be able to express them in the way we would in a spoken language. This analogy goes to show that every voice is important and worth saving.