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.