Plant Trees to Save the Environment

Trees combat global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, contribute to soil health, retain water, and cool overheated urban areas. The earth needs more!

| March/April 1990


Whether as a family project or an individual one, the point is to plant!


"It is not merely that the world is bettered by saving, replacing, and multiplying trees. It is that an aim of this kind becomes an impulse towards developing a mood and an outlook which will increasingly make it natural to think for the future, for other people, for generations yet unborn. Planting a tree is a symbol of a looking-forward kind of action; looking forward, yet not too distantly." 

—Richard St. Barbe Baker

Imagine a man who for 92 years walked the earth, often broke but never lost, inspiring others to plant trees. Who organized 3,000 Kenyan warriors into a new secret society, Men of the Trees. Who started reforestation projects in Nigeria, India, New Zealand, Palestine. Who went to court to save the California redwoods—twice, at 30-year intervals. Who organized the Green Front, an international effort to stop the advancing Sahara desert with a great wall of trees. Whose inspiration and guidance were, by one estimate, responsible for the planting of over 1 trillion trees.

For Richard St. Barbe Baker (1889–1982), a healer of the earth, trees of every kind became his extended family.

Inspired by childhood experiences of bonding with trees, this British idealist trained to be a professional forester. When the bureaucratic nature of his occupation frustrated him, he struck out on his own. Baker spent the rest of his life traveling the globe organizing planting projects and, in speeches and books, raising public awareness of the need for more trees.

Today, we are all called upon to walk in Baker's footsteps. One goal of Earth Day 1990 is to have every one of us plant at least one tree. That's a good goal to start with. Some are already going further. Scientist James Lovelock, who originated the Gaia theory that the earth operates like a living organism, has, with his family, planted 20,000 trees. All of us concerned about the earth could consider, like Lovelock and Baker, putting our spades where our worries are.

mother earth news fair


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