PROJECT NUMBER 87.5 – planting in every country
So here are the ideas so far. Please read this and give me feedback if you can, -since I hope to plan this project slightly more than I did UpTrees. (however well that all turned out!)
Turns out I’ve spent about 444 tons of CO2 as part of my western lifestyle since I was born until May 16th 2011. About 34 and a half years of eating food flown in from Chile, or Thailand or Southern Spain, heating, clothing, holidaying abroad…etc. It’s a fairly rough estimate. (the Guardian newspaper website provided the Carbon Calculator I used – mainly because it accounted for the background CO2 as well as direct consumption.
With the technology* we have at the moment I can never truly make up for the damage I’ve done to the planet (mostly by accident of course), but 444 trees would breath in that amount of CO2 in their life time of growing. As Shaun Chamberlaine clarifies in his post that you can read here, or see Cheat Neutral for an entertaining video version, that planting trees to make up for fossil fuel use is actually a complete nonsense. They are two wholly separate cycles, unless you are one of those people who live more than a million years. You plant a tree after stepping off a plane and think you’ve settled up but it doesn’t work like that. Offsetting your conscience is all you really get.
Planting trees can only be a good thing of course though, given how badly we’ve deforested the planet, so that’s how I’m beginning to see it, – in part as a gardening project, and another way of spreading the need for change in a positive way. The two pronged approach. Regardening and re-minding. (?).
The image of a giant cloud of my CO2 floating above us is turned into a little woodland, a positive response to the scale of need, (i.e. I’m just one person with a 444 ton deficit. Multiply that by the population of the UK for example and you can reforest the hamburger fields in South America).
I wonder if it’s too soft an approach? A gentle reminder of ecological meltdown by planting trees? Planting bombs isn’t my style but I wonder if there’s a way to make it more powerful…? (please help). We are in deep shit and the powerful seem to be ignoring this in a really odd way. It’s hard to understand this attitude. I’ve even wondered (David Icke Style), whether the powerful are aliens trying to change the climate to better suit their needs… it sometimes seems so absurd to carry on the way we are that there must be an equally absurd explanation. Well… fantasy aside…
*(It freaks me out when scientists talk about seeding oceans with algae to soak up the CO2, or launching aluminium particles into the atmosphere to reduce the temperature).
Ambitious tree planting… the 3rd pronge
So like a berk, or dreamer, or megalomaniac I’ve decided NOT to just send money to Kenya where I could get 444 trees planted for about £1200, or grow hundreds of trees from seed, (which I have started doing for 20 or so Oaks and Maples, but to try and get people to plant a tree in every country of the world. All 193 – 204 of them. (the number of countries is in dispute, and you can read about that on wiki).
I will not be travelling to each country of the world – as has been misunderstood. It’s about making contacts in every country by phone, email, Skype, Chinese whispers! If I planted them all myself I’d still be at it when I was 70 and my carbon footprint – bigger than a George Bush. (?). Would be quite an adventure though admittedly.
So of course the project is also about unity and the challenge of making connections across the world, and it’s about restoring it back to a garden, – one tree at a time, or one idea at a time. Is it possible? Is it corny? Yes. But I’m not sure there is much else worth doing broadly speaking. I mean a garden in its broadest meaning. Utopia, paradise…etc. “Imagine all the people…” etc.
A tree has a potential future to outlive us, working its magic long after we are gone. A gift for the generations to come.
It turns out 444 is the ideal number of hertz an orchestra should tune up to. Symbolically the world is an orchestra that need tuning yo? Arrogant to suggest 444trees will tune up the world but it’s fun to muse how important something could be, like the lady on the bus. Ha! Many drops make ocean… etc.
To give it an extra dimension I’d like each of those people who plant to dedicate their tree to a person, (alive or dead), or an idea, (alive or dead), and write a little something about it for a book?
I could ask people to think about something they would like to bury and something they would like to grow.
I could ask them to send in a picture of a dead or dying tree as well as the sapling they planted. Something to balance the other side of our story. Acknowledge the two sides to this coin?
They would need to document the planting with photography.
Write something about themselves and their country and the person or idea they are dedicating the tree to.
They could perform a ceremony. (see Tree 01 of 444 below)
Note some effects of climate change in their country?
Note the location of the tree and if it’s significant where it is planted.
What kind of tree it is and why they chose it.
And they could…?
So how can you help?
- Anything you can think of… problems, ideas, poetry, people, – how to make this as good and meaningful as possible.
- Your thoughts on how to get people involved.
- How to phrase the invitation to plant so people understand and get inspired?
- What people should write about?
- The collected stories and images could become a book or…?
- How to make it more than just a coffee table book? (I’d like this to DO something – of course).
- How could it practically be made into a film, (given that I won’t be going to each of the countries and many of the people won’t easily have access to video equipment themselves. Logistically it could be a nightmare…)
- Ideas on planting trees. (I should probably include tree planting guidelines to ensure the trees planted have the maximum chance of survival).
- Thoughts on global connections made – politics, ‘problem’ states… etc. (North Korea for example)
- What’s at stake? What if planting a tree in the name of the project could jeopardise people’s lives? Is that possible?
- Help me to make it more powerful… please.
Other ideas I’ve had relating to this…
Relay trees: You plant and dedicate a tree to someone and they in turn dedicate a tree to someone else… etc. Around the world. Rule is – you can’t dedicate a tree to a person in a country already done.
A competition. Who can get a tree planted in every country first? Maybe that could be a documentary. It would follow the challenge of connecting with people and the stories that unfold. I’m actually leaning more towards this idea – more of a collaborative competition – might make the process more fun. (?)
Thank you for reading – I would love to hear your thoughts, criticism and feedback.
Tree 01 of 444
Maihaugen, Lillehammer, Norway.
The first tree has already been planted at Maihaugen outdoor museum, Lillehammer, Norway. It was part sponsored my Hageland Garden centre (‘Garden Land’ in Norwegian. Which I like as that’s what I’d like to see – rather than the tarmac and car land we seem to have at the moment).
For me it was an important event as both my parents and my older brother were present for it. Not for 32 years has this happened.
I have no memory of us all being together in one place like this.
My little brother and niece got stuck in too.
We planted planted this Cherry tree beneath a flag pole outside the venue we had the party to conclude my year of climbing UpTrees.
At the tree party I asked people to write something they wanted to leave behind, and something in their lives they wanted to grow. These messages written on green tissue paper were buried in the hole under the tree.
Holes are often dug for the dead to be buried in. These holes will be made for trees. In making a new world some things will need to be left behind and others will need to be nourished and allowed, or encouraged, or helped to grow.