Tag Archives: Trees
Earth is a sacred and magical place. There’s enough natural abundance here for all of us to be fed, clothed and housed many times over. And yet billions of people still go to bed hungry, live in devastating conditions, and are forced to eke out an existence in the most dangerous and toxic of realities. All life, yours, mine, ours, comes from the planet’s freely given elements. But when it comes time to return the favor, to care for the earth as it cares for us, a handful of elites have persuaded us that what we ought to do is treat the earth like an endless storehouse, and put the very life systems that we all depend upon up for sale to the highest bidder. If we’re going to have a future, we’ve got to reverse the equation and start to manage those things that all life depends on in a way that respects life above all else, including profit. […]
The process of transforming nature into commodities opens up an important question: who owns the trees that cover the land, the minerals beneath the soil, or the fish in the oceans? Don’t these things belong to everyone in common? When corporations and states assume the right to destroy essential forests, mine mountains of finite minerals, and strip the seas of life, they are taking something that rightly belongs to everyone, that is needed for all life to exist, and selling it off for their own private advantage. This is called “enclosure” of the commons.
This process of enclosure is gaining pace all over the world, particularly in the global South. As a condition for receiving loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), developing countries are being forced to privatize their commons – to enclose them for private use. This means giving multinational corporations the right to exploit their natural resources and public services for private profit, to the benefit of a tiny elite rather than for the good of the people, and with little consideration for the planet.
The Choice is Ours (2016) Official Full Version
This film series explores many aspects of our society. To rethink what is possible in our world, we need to consider what kind of world we want to live in. Although we refer to it as civilization, it is anything but civilized. Visions of global unity & fellowship have long inspired humanity, yet the social arrangements up to the present have largely failed to produce a peaceful and productive world. While we appear to be technically advanced, our values and behaviors are not. The possibility of an optimistic future is in stark contrast to our current social, economic, and environmental dilemmas. The Choice Is Ours includes interviews with notable scientists, media professionals, authors, and other thinkers exploring the difficulties we face.
We are not here on Earth to be alone but to be a part of a living community, a web of life in which all is sacred. Like the cells of our body, all of life is in constant communication, as science is just beginning to understand. No bird sings in isolation, no bud breaks open alone. And the most central note that is present in life is its sacred nature… Hearing its presence speak to us, we feel this great bond of life that supports and nourishes us all. Today’s world may still at times make us feel lonely, but we can then remember what every animal, every insect, every plant knows — and only we have forgotten: the living sacred whole.
— Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
The beauty of the forest is extraordinary — but ‘beauty’ is too simple a word, for being here is not just an aesthetic experience, but one steeped with mystery, with awe…. My father once told me that the very word ‘paradise’ meant garden…. But gardens, Eden or Kew, are not the right metaphors here, for the primeval has nothing to do with the human, but has to do with the ancient, the aboriginal, the beginning of all things. The primeval, the sublime, are much better words here — for they indicate realms remote from the moral or the human, realms which force us to gaze into immense vistas of space and time, where the beginnings and originations of all things lie hidden. Now, as I wandered in the cycad forest on Rota, it seemed as if my senses were actually enlarging, as if a new sense, a time sense, was opening within me, something which might allow me to appreciate millennia or aeons as directly as I had experienced seconds or minutes…. Standing here in the jungle, I feel part of a larger, calmer identity; I feel a profound sense of being at home, a sort of companionship with the earth.
~ Oliver Sacks, The Island of the Colour-blind and Cycad Island, 1996
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
Poem: “Lost,” by David Wagoner from Collected Poems 1956-1976 © Indiana University Press.
An excerpt from the book Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth read by Geneen Marie Haugen, who was speaking at an Earth Talk at Schumacher College. For more on the book, visit spiritualecology.org.
Geneen Marie Haugen is a wilderness wanderer, writer, scholar and guide to the intertwined mysteries of nature and psyche. Her work has appeared recently in Parabola Journal; Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth; and Thomas Berry: Dreamer of the Earth. She is exploring the awakening of what she calls “planetary imagination,” and the possible emergence of a new mode of the human that she has called Homo imaginans.
“The future will belong to the nature-smart—those individuals, families, businesses, and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world and who balance the virtual with the real. The more high-tech we become, the more nature we need.” — Richard Louv
“We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children’s memories, the adventures we’ve had together in nature will always exist.” ― Richard Louv
As more children are being raised in paved ecosystems, we now have a generation of children with deep sympathies for polar bears but little awareness that nature surrounds them all the time. Even in the presence of gardens, parks, and urban streams, urban kids are likely to think of the environment as somewhere else. The problem isn’t limited to our children. There are many adults who don’t even know what kind of tree is growing in their front yard and couldn’t define the word “ecology” if asked.
- UNDERSTANDING NATURE THROUGH DIFFERENT EYES: How Our Radically Different Perspectives Can Blind Us by Susan J. Tweit
- Nature Deficit Disorder: The Critical Role of Environmental Education for your Child’s Future
- A Minister’s Guide to the Spiritual Side of Nature By Reverend Julia Older
- The New Nature Movement: Field Notes from the Future: Tracking the Movement to Connect People and Nature
- Leave No Child Inside by Richard Louv
Mother Trees: We are not the only species connected to the “Inner-Net”.
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
― Hermann Hesse, Bäume: Betrachtungen und Gedichte