Trees are Vital

The importance of the relationship that humans share with trees cannot be overstated. Simply put, we owe our survival as a species almost entirely to these plants, and from our most ancient past we have held trees in the highest esteem. Consider the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, or the great ash Yggdrasil in Norse mythology that holds the nine realms together, or the sacred fig (Ficus religiosa) that Buddha sat under. Trees provide us with our primary shelter-building material, giving poles for tipis, timbers for barns, and even peeled veneers for plywood. Every culture has produced household goods primarily out of wood and, until the Industrial Revolution, it was our primary fuel source for heating and cooking. But unlike any of our other raw materials, trees are capable of renewing and regenerating themselves endlessly. “Imagine a steelworks run entirely on solar energy, producing all its own solar panels and making no noise,” writes green woodworker Mike Abbott, “or a plastics factory that actually purified the atmosphere and required at most only a few hours’ human input a year; picture a fibre-glass works supporting all kinds of wildlife where people would drive for miles to spend a day strolling around the production unit.”

­–Michael Updegraff, excerpt from “A Tale of Two Trees: The Radical Efficiency of Green Woodworking,” in Issue Six


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