Environmental Hall of Fame 1983 Inductee: Environmental Leader Richard St. Barbe Baker

Presenting the MOTHER EARTH NEWS first annual selection.

| January/February 1984

  • 085-117-01-Richard
    Richard St. Barbe Baker was a professional forester, author, lecturer and conservationist.

  • 085-117-01-Richard

In the past two issues of this magazine, we introduced the first 13 members of our Environmental Hall of Fame . . . one for each year of MOTHER EARTH NEWS. They were (in case you missed them) John James Audubon . . . Henry David Thoreau . . . John Muir . . . Theodore Roosevelt . . . Rachel Carson . . . David Ross Brower . . . Jerome Irving Rodale . . . Aldo Leopold . . . Jacques-Yves Cousteau . . . Barbara Ward . . . Sir Albert Howard . . . René Jules Dubos . . . and Anwar Fazal.  

Now, at last, we have the privilege of introducing the inductee for 1983: environmental leader Richard St. Barbe Baker. 

Living from 1889 to 1982, Richard St. Barbe Baker truly dedicated his life to planting trees: He saw more than 26 trillion of them seeded! This and other aspects of his work took him across the world. St. Barbe spent years working in Africa and New Zealand . . . initiated the "Save the Redwoods" campaign in California . . . directed the Sahara Reclamation Program . . . founded the World Forestry Charter Gatherings and the Men of the Trees society . . . and organized forestry summer schools at many universities. 

In his writings, St. Barbe shares with us an intellectual philosophy and a deep spiritual vision. His books include I Planted Trees, Green Glory, Africa Drums, Famous Trees, Trees, Book of the Seasons, Among the Trees, Dance of the Trees, The Redwoods, Sahara Challenge, Land of Tane , and Sahara Conquest . The following short excerpts—reprinted with permission of the Lorian Association—are from St. Barbe's autobiography, My Life, My Trees, which was published in 1970.  

I learned early to regard the forest as a society of living things, the greatest of which is the tree. Its value depends upon its permanence, its capacity to renew itself, to store water, its many biological functions including that of providing Nature's most valuable ground cover, and building up to a great height stores of one of the most adaptable of raw materials: wood.

We stand in awe and wonder at the beauty of a single tree. Tall and graceful it stands, yet robust and sinewy with spreading arms decked with foliage that changes through the seasons, hour by hour, moment by moment as shadows pass or sunshine dapples the leaves. How much more deeply are we moved as we begin to appreciate the combined operations of the assembly of trees we call a forest.

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