‘Growing’ now that is one helluva subject! It is one we all must take seriously whether it be applied to a son, daughter, grandson, granddaughter, puppy, the economy and even our fabulous Christmas Trees growing as I write somewhere north of the border in Scotland.
What is growth? Well, it is actually very complicated. Growth is something we all acknowledge as important it is a measure of something against something else, it is applied in many ways some of which are quite abstract. Let’s take a look.
The upward growth of plants
This one seems simple enough, but plants can grow in all sorts of ways. Mangroves for example. They are brilliant for holding back storm surges in the Caribbean and being planted in huge quantities in low lying coastal areas of Bangladesh in anticipation of climate change induced sea level rise. They grow prodigiously and have a huge root system which forms a significant barrier to fast moving water. The measure - is not necessarily height, biomass might be better.
The growth of a city
Cities start off small and then grow over time. London is the UK’s largest city by a long way and this was the case around the turn of the first Millennium but at that time Norwich was the second largest city. Norwich cathedral was built in just 50 years with stone imported from France. Look at London and Norwich now. Norwich is quite small compared to many other cities in the UK today. The measure - land area, and population.
The process of developing physically, mentally, or spiritually
Well physical growth that seems simple enough, I am 1.78m high but I reckon I have started to shrink. My best friend has an expanding waist, the result of too much food and beer I suspect. A friend’s grandson has doubled his birth weight in ten months. Mental growth, now that is something altogether different, how do we measure that? Perhaps IQ but I have always thought that is a bit of a poor measure as you can be very smart but not a very good human being, there are lots of examples! Then there’s spiritual growth a difficult one because it might introduce a measure of religiosity and I am not sure what that might be. The measure(s) - here are numerous, length/height, weight, IQ, the number of times you attend church/mosque? All very difficult!
The process of increasing in amount, value, or importance
I like to think my pension is growing in value, I am told it is but there are lots of people who have invested in Bitcoin crypto currency and found that growth is not always guaranteed. The growth in importance, is a strange one too. Is it the pupil who became head boy, the politician who became Foreign Secretary (I don’t think so!), the Climate Change agenda, LGBTQ matters. This is again very complicated. The measure(s) £,$,€, status/position, news worthiness, awareness.
The increase in number and spread of small or microscopic organisms
How very epidemiological! This is one we have become all too familiar with over the last couple of years. Viral and bacterial infection are a constant challenge to every living organism, from Ash Dieback and Dutch Elm to HIV and Covid19. The measure(s) – could be the number of people infected, the number of trees infected but there lots of others too, viral load for example, rate of cell division etc.
The increase in economic activity or value
We are obsessed with this one. The main measure is GDP (Gross Domestic Product), a measure of economic activity. The world economy and that of every country is predicated upon the classic economic ideal of GDP growth, blind to weather we thrive or not...don’t get me started!
Our UK grown Christmas Trees are a thing of natural beauty and they will enhance any Christmas celebration. For every tree we sell we plant two more. The trees are growing, the business is growing. The measure – satisfaction, smiles, love. Simples!