A major point of concern for many people in the past couple of decades has been the degradation and destruction of the world’s forests. Trees play a vital role in the ecosystems and balance of the planet, yet in places like Brazil, logging is sometimes the only means of gaining subsistence and is a big industry and source of jobs. When countries are faced with the harsh choice between making people find new employment when there is none or banning logging, the issue takes on a different perspective, but only emphasizes the great importance that some kind of solution be found.
I stumbled across this article the other week about this nonprofit group called Archangel Ancient Tree Archive who are trying to collect genetic material from species of tree which are rapidly disappearing. They then want to clone those trees and replant the forests around the world. Sounds a little unattainable right? But they’re having some moderate success, at least in the areas of gaining tree genes and successfully cloning the trees.
What they are having greater trouble with is convincing people to replant these specific trees. You may ask what is so great about these particular trees. The giant redwoods and sequoias and other mega-trees are actually very essential to keeping carbon dioxide and other pollutants out of the air. One of these trees does the work of hundreds of other trees in retaining pollutants. Old growth forests are central to cleansing the environment, yet we stupid blundering humans have destroyed almost all of them.
“Finding genetically superior trees has been challenging, but group leaders acknowledge their biggest hurdle may be selling the public on the urgency of restoring the world’s ancient forests.”
They can be planted in any number of places, from college campuses to office parks to Central Park, but the most ideal places are those that favor a long life and adequate room for the tree to grow. But most people don’t see the value in planting one of these trees–as the article points out, many of the people who do plant trees are in the business of growing, selling, replanting, and then growing more as fast as possible.
Why should we care? Well, I think most of us would like to live on a healthy planet while we’re here. I doubt we’d really appreciate breathing in pollution on a daily basis, and in some countries that is exactly what happens. But why should that be the case when this problem can be fixed with a little time and effort? Also, we as pagans should be especially interested in the death of forests across the world–our ties to nature are (perhaps) stronger than the ties of non-pagans to the natural world since we tend to see the magic and the beauty in nature a little more easily because of our beliefs. [I realize that’s something of a generalization, but it is true that the majority of pagans have some kind of reverence for nature.]
Original article here.