Point Reyes Light
February 11, 2016
By: Jacoba Charles
Trees are gatekeepers. Bridging earth and sky, they give us physical and emotional shelter—while filling myriad other ecological, aesthetic and spiritual roles. They inhale carbon dioxide, and lock it away in their wood. They turn the soil, catch the fog and slow the floods. They feed multitudes, human and otherwise. We depend on them in more ways than we can count—perhaps in more ways than we know.
Next month, the value of forests will be the focus of a one-day conference titled Call of the Forest: Water, Climate, and Spirit, organized by Point Reyes Books. A series of panels will discuss reforestation and watershed restoration and share personal stories of interconnection with the natural world.
The event was inspired by a workshop at Commonweal last year, led by writer, scientist and activist Diana Beresford-Kroeger, who authored “The Global Forest in 2010,” among other books.
“I personally walked away from this weekend having a much deeper appreciation of trees,” said Steve Costa, co-owner of the bookstore. “Just walking from my house down to Shell Beach, I began noticing trees that I had never seen before. There was this level of acute sensitivity that resulted from that weekend.”
The three main panel discussions at the event focus on water, climate and spirit—and the relationship each has with the forest. Topics that will be discussed include the Paris climate conference; the proven positive impact of trees on climate change and deforestation around the world; re-imagining how we relate to water in an age of drought and other weather extremes; how individuals, families and community-based organizations can make use of trees as a response to climate change; and how our own spirits can be healed and nourished by cultivating a closer relationship with the healing power of nature.
Panelists include Montana author and activist Rick Bass; Graton Rancheria Tribal Councilmember and Miwok linguist Joanne Campbell; co-founder of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Brock Dolman; president of the Center for Humans and Nature, Brooke Hecht; co-founder of the Organic Farm and Garden Program at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, Wendy Johnson; founder of Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network, Osprey Orielle Lake; Coast Miwok-Kashaya Pomo artist and storyteller Julia Parker; and executive director of Earth Law Center, Linda Sheehan.
The event began as a plan to invite Ms. Beresford-Kroeger back for a screening of her new film, “Call of the Forest: The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees.” But the event grew into far more, Mr. Costa said. There will be music and readings, and opportunities for environmental advocates of all stripes to speak and converse.
“The film was a nice excuse to invite Diana back to Point Reyes,” Mr. Costa said. “She’s a renegade scientist of sorts; she’s a force of nature. She also has this spiritual center to her work.”
Ms. Beresford-Kroeger was born in Ireland and now lives near Ottawa. She describes advocacy on behalf of forests and native plants as a sacred trust that was given to her by her Irish elders when she was orphaned at age 11.
“I am a member of a noble family in Ireland,” she said. “Because my family are very important, all of the people in the south of Ireland who had the last, great knowledge left of the Celtic world told me all of their ancient wisdoms and I was asked to bring it into the world—and that is what I’m doing.”
Read more here.