Tag Archives: Mother nature

Sensitive trees for insensitive man

even, dense and old stand of beech trees (Fagu...

even, dense and old stand of beech trees (Fagus sylvatica) prepared to be regenerated (watch the young trees underneath the old ones) in the Brussels part of the Sonian Forest (Forêt de Soignes – Zoniënwoud) in Belgium (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years already, I claim we should treat plants and animals as subjects but also as living beings created by the Divine Creator, who has given them for our use but not mis-use or maltreatment. I always claimed they too have feelings and ways of communicating. In the 1970ies I followed many scientists who tried to proof and did proof how plants also have feelings and communicate with each other.

Though at regular times people seem to be reminded of it. Because too often man forgets that he is not alone having feelings and able to communicate with others of their own sort properly.

It is long known to biologists that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbours; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network known as the “Wood Wide Web”; and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots.

The German Peter Wohlleben studied forestry and spent over twenty years as a civil servant in the forestry commission. For him trees are his life and for that reason he also gave up his job by the state forestry because he wanted to put his ideas of ecology into practice. He now runs an environmentally friendly municipal piece of woodland in the village of Huemmel, holds lectures and seminars and has written books on subjects pertaining to woodlands and nature protection so those interested can accompany him through the forests of his homeland and the whole world.

The Hidden Life of Trees describes how trees are like human families. We as human beings only think of ourselves being able to make a nice family, though many make a mess of it, and when watching Danish television series I even wonder if there are normal Danish people walking around in the North, who can have a normal family life. In the series we come to see they all seem to be unfaithful.
In nature we see better build ups. Tree parents living together with their children, communicating with them, and supporting them as they grow, sharing nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warning each other of impending dangers. With their newfound understanding of the delightfully complex life of trees, readers will never be able to look at a walk.
English: The deep dark forest One of the track...

The deep dark forest One of the tracks through Pantmaenog Forest. There are prehistoric tumuli marked on the map here but they are difficult to find among the dense conifers. The trees here were planted after Bellstone quarry closed in 1908 and some of the old quarry workings are also concealed by the forest: human beings making their mark on the landscape in a variety of ways. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since it first topped best-seller lists last year, Mr. Wohlleben has been spending more time on the media trail and less on the forest variety, making the case for a popular reimagination of trees, which, he says, contemporary society tends to look at as “organic robots” designed to produce oxygen and wood.

Though duly impressed with Mr. Wohlleben’s ability to capture the public’s attention, some German biologists question his use of words, like “talk” rather than the more standard “communicate,” to describe what goes on between trees in the forest. But no matter how you want to call that communication we should come to understand that it is really communicating, no matter if you want to call it talking or something else.
It is also different with human beings who think they communicate and are on social media, thinking they have so many friends, but in reality do not have many friends nor comrades and do not really have any real communication going on between all those people. We did not mind to run around in that what God had created us and did not have to hide anything for others, always able to keep faithful to the one we loved and where we choose for. But to day they want to shine and glitter in fashion clothes but are fast to take those cloths of in the hidden to do things we would have found inappropriate when there was not a strong connection with each other. But to day they seem to change of girl like they change of underpants, and often there is not much conversation going on and lots of time it is just a one night stand with no further communication at all. They have become worse than animals. (Are am I looking at it too pessimistic?)
Whilst I do believe those trees have much more communication going on than their human counterparts who are not afraid to kill more and more of those air-cleaners, not seeing that they are polluting more and more their own environment, making it poorer and poorer. Even those Germans who are reputed to have a special relationship with the forest are a kind of a cliché and it can well be that those Germans do not love their forest more than Swedes or Norwegians or Finns.
When I lived and worked in Germany, for relaxation I went into the woods around Köln and went swimming in open air. Then I could encounter many like minded nature lovers who wanted to be one with it and, like me searched for ways to respect it and to make properly use of feeding us in a clean and appropriate way. No chemicals, no additives, all pure whole grain and pure natural food.

Young musicians living in a shared community in Amsterdam.

Though when I look at how enthusiast we where in the 196070ies and had so many dreams, being called ‘flower power‘ people, many not understanding our idea of sharing and love and making a collective community, kibbutz or commune, many of them have gone far away from their idealism and the last few months we see many things we fought for, being undone in a very short time.

Though might we see somewhere some light shining in the dark, perhaps getting back some younger ones again being interested in nature and how we should behave in it? Can it be that there are again seeds planted for people willing to reconsider our human behaviour in the big universe?
For sure it is high time that people are going to understand the need of forests and green spaces around our busy roads and living estates. Yesterday it was again on the news that in the Kempen 122 ha of woods has to be offered for sand-winning, as if it is nothing. Man also thinks it is alright to artificially space out trees, but forget that shall not give the same intensification as wooded areas. The plantation forests that make up most of West Europe’s woods ensure that trees get more sunlight and grow faster. But, naturalists say, creating too much space between trees can disconnect them from their networks, stymieing some of their inborn resilience mechanisms.

Intrigued, Mr. Wohlleben began investigating alternate approaches to forestry. Visiting a handful of private forests in Switzerland and Germany, he was impressed.

“They had really thick, old trees,”

he said.

“They treated their forest much more lovingly, and the wood they produced was more valuable. In one forest, they said, when they wanted to buy a car, they cut two trees. For us, at the time, two trees would buy you a pizza.”

But where are all those very thick trees gone, I wonder. In Belgium some years ago you could find also many places where you could enjoy the view of masterly or kingly majestic trees. The last two years , in the region where I live now (Leefdaal, Flemish Brabant), we have seen hundreds of trees being cut and not replaced.

English: Deep in the forest something stirred ...

Deep in the forest something stirred Go Ape, a series of aerial walkways, swings and zip slides in the forestry land north of Aberfoyle. Note – human beings included for a sense of scale. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mr Wohlleben had also difficulties with the ministry of forestry but it turned out that Mr. Wohlleben had won over the forest’s municipal owners. 10 years ago, the municipality took a chance. It ended its contract with the state forestry administration, and hired Mr. Wohlleben directly. He brought in horses, eliminated insecticides and began experimenting with letting the woods grow wilder. Within two years, the forest went from loss to profit, in part by eliminating expensive machinery and chemicals.

We should enjoy those trees going to grow in all sorts of shapes, creating all sorts of designs in the air. When we look at ourselves, we should see that we also do not have a life going in straight lines. We also not all grow up straight. Why should trees have to grow up in those particular straight lines indicated by people in the office. The same as the right 25 cm cucumbers, the bananas with the drawn out moon shape, the tomatoes and apples which may not be too big or flat… everything should be according to the book and numbers indicated,  … but life is not according the book of man … but should be according the Book of life …. with not everything exactly the same, and not always according to the books of man….
When is man going to see we should come back to being close to nature and to be part of nature again? And when is he going to understand we do need much more green around us … to have a colourful life full of health and joy?
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Please also find to read:

  1. World Agenda for Sustainability
  2. Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #1 Up to 21st century
  3. 2nd Half 20th Century Generations pressure to achieve

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Filed under Ecological affairs, History, Lifestyle, Nature, Welfare matters, World affairs

It’s a New Year!

Now and then human being have to be reminded that material is just dust. Often it is with less pleasant experiences that we are pushed with our face in the reality of life.

It is good that at such moments of truth people dare to tell others how they feel and what they experience. Such moments of calamity should make us to think about more important things. It should remind us of our Maker and about our reason being here and how we should relate to each other and our environment.

Institute of Mental Health 10, Nov 06

Institute of Mental Health 10, Nov 06 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some of the experiences we get in a year may be all too much. They can deliver us more worries and stress than our stress bucket can handle. That is the moment that this also will overflow – at which point we can start to experience symptoms of mental ill health. We can use coping strategies to help tap the bucket, and allow stress to flow away in a healthy and manageable way.

However, no matter how hard we try, no matter how good our coping strategies – exercise, medicines, meditation – no matter how much we avoid the things we know are bad for us – sometimes life throws in a brick and makes it impossible to avoid the inevitable splash. {Bricks in the stress bucket}

Living in this world, even with all the luxury around us certain things also for us can get too much, and our usual coping mechanisms then shall cease to be a match for our concerns, that this can lead us to develop emotional / mental health issues. Some might want to use their employees as machines, bu we are human beings not without inner feelings, and life throws things at us that we don’t always know how to deal with very well.

Sadly a lot of people may well be experiencing that overspill in the coming months –  widespread flooding across the North of the United Kingdom (and in Missouri, red.) has devastated lives, homes, businesses. People are still cleaning up, throwing out years worth of possessions and irreplaceable mementoes, wondering where on earth the money will come from to replace even the more mundane things like microwaves and kettles. {Bricks in the stress bucket}

When bad things happen in a certain region that is often also the time people are coming to know each other in an other, and hopefully in a better way.

The good news is that we have seen the most amazing evidence of the goodness of humanity – people helping eachother to clean up, everyone banding together. Volunteers travelling from near and far, donations pouring in – individuals and organisations and companies are doing a lot to ensure that things are put right as quickly as possible. I have a lot of hope that some minds have been changed, and eyes opened by the sheer generosity and kindness which has been shown by diverse communities from across the country in this little valley. {Bricks in the stress bucket}

Hopefully, that evidence of love and kinship will help people in more than just the practical ways. But in the weeks and months to come, people will start to be impacted by the trauma they have experienced. The exhaustion of the effort they have had to put in to get their homes dry, stay fed, keep themselved and their families safe – it will creep up on people and affect them in ways they may not expect. {Bricks in the stress bucket}

Some may think that such things will soon be forgotten, but they are not. Life has to go on and people will find a way to cope with it, but is shall leave its scars. It is perfectly understandable, and natural, that this will creep up on people and affect them in ways they may not expect.

Human beings have so much ignored nature around them that now nature is giving back an answer which is not so pleasant at times. 2015 may have been the warmest year since the measuring but it had its moments of heavy winds and pouring waters.

Storms have mercilessly battered Britain, one after the other over this festive period, bringing with them severe and unrelenting floods. The scale of damage and devastation was unprecedented, but it was not unpredictable. We’ve seen these storms growing with intensity every year. And, whilst a few might naively blame El Niño for this recent bout, we know that climate change is the driving factor. {UK flooding: the new normal in a changed climate}

Throughout the years we have shown our unrespectfulness and neglectfulness to mother nature that now time has come to have it respond to us on not such a friendly way either.

The harsh truth is that even if we cut all emissions today, we can’t undo what damage we’ve already done. The carbon we’ve pumped into the atmosphere will remain there for generations to come and so too will the weather it brings with it. The climate has changed, it continues to change and there’s no going back. These violent winter storms, and the floods they bring with them, are here to stay. {UK flooding: the new normal in a changed climate}

And that each rainfall will bring unease (indeed we know there is always a risk of the waters rising again – our last disaster brought two floods in one month). So it is vital that people recognise that their emotions, their mental health deserve as much care as their physical health, and that they seek help if they are struggling – in the same way they would seek help if they start to vomit / get toilet trouble that may come as a result of being in contact with the polluted flood waters. {Bricks in the stress bucket}

I think it would be particularly useful for those of us in the community who wish to support our friends and families – who perhaps know people they think might struggle to accept mental health difficulties in themselves and so not seek help when they need it. {Bricks in the stress bucket}

When the rivers retreat from historic and deadly winter flooding, leaving amid the silt a massive cleanup and recovery effort likely to take weeks if not months, people have to find a new way to continue their life.

The level of global change we’re experiencing now presents many interconnected, multi-faceted challenges that have affected and will affect different countries in different ways. It is hard to tell as a layperson what this means, but the experts have long since warned that the most severe effects in the UK would be powerful storms and increased flooding. There has been very little to suggest that the government has taken these warnings seriously, as they still seem to operate on the principle that it’s better to be sorry than safe. But they can’t keep living in denial, we are living in a different world. The Earth has warmed by one degree and it’s time we started acting like it. {UK flooding: the new normal in a changed climate}

Going into a new year lets think about all those people who are experiencing the worst things people can endure, war, floods …. and let us hope more people shall be willing to stand ready for them in need and help them to find the good things in life again.

May the good things in your life also be more lightening than your bad experiences of the year and let 2016 be a year of good health and a progression in the good direction.

God bless.

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Further readings

  1. When life spills over the edge – can you help?
  2. Emergency responders manage risks as river rises above flood stage
  3. A Slightly Different View Of Aberdeen Beach Today…
  4. St. Louis area faces big cleanup effort after flooding
  5. Deluge
  6. Storms and Floods
  7. 2016 Start
  8. Deadly floods choke operations from oil to wheat in U.S. Midwest
  9. UK flooding: the new normal in a changed climate
  10. The EU Water Framework Directive & The Role Played By Green NGO’s
  11. The Perks of Escaping Your Mind Through Nature
  12. …And, she’s back!!
  13. Tired
  14. 1/3-stress on stress
  15. Self-Care Sunday: What’s Worked For Me
  16. Happy New Year
  17. Taking Stock
  18. God’s Words of Comfort in Times of Fear – January 3, 2016
  19. Not a bad start
  20. Shit I’m Gonna Try to Accomplish This Year
  21. Worry Stress: Make a Decision Now
  22. Growing Young
  23. Calm down.

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Filed under Being and Feeling, Ecological affairs, Headlines - News, Lifestyle, Nature, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Social affairs