The Joyful Environmentalist

From 'The Joyful Environmentalist' by Isabel Losada

The following extract refers to a tree planting scheme in Scotland to recreate the Caledonian Forests:-

'This hillside is barren. There is no shelter, no protection from the biting wind or the driving rain. This is Scotland and we're in the Highlands. The saplings look so fragile. They are fragile. They have each been grown lovingly from seed and when we push them into the cold ground they are between 6 and 9 inches high. We give them one meal in their planting hole, one kiss and then they are on their own. But they have two friends each. We're planting them in groups of three: two downy birch and one rowan per overturned area. Trees, as we know, have ways of communicating with each other and supporting each other under the ground. seriously, they do. If nutrients are scarce, they share them: if danger arrives, they warn each other. Don't ask me how - but they do. So, the trees have two friends each. As they grow they will protect each other.

We dig another hole, add mixture, push in a tree, fill up any air gaps with earth and repeat. Four hours later we stop for hot coffee and tomato sandwiches. Then we plant from 2pm till 5pm. This is what I call a 'Zen job' - it requires lots of action and very little thought, other than the occasional, 'Would this tree be better higher up the mound or down a bit?' or 'Is that pushed in firmly enough?' Apart from having to watch where you put every footstep, there is no room to think. No thoughts of past broken hearts or future anxieties. Each tree is far more important. And so, with each of us fully noticing the miracle, with no breath to talk but with our eyes and hearts open - we plant another tree and another until, with ten of us working for a day, another thousand trees are planted and we are walking carefully back down the hillside, as happy and satisfied as a bunch of scraggly volunteers can be.' (pp 18 - 19: Earth 1.)

Comments powered by CComment