Prayer dedicated to Richard St Barbe Baker,
Father of the Trees
"I can imagine a time when a tree was not a tree,
but a distinct individual.
If it is just a tree, one among a whole
forest of trees, it is no great matter to chop it down.
Nothing unique is
being removed from the world.
But if we see it as a unique individual,
irreplaceable, then we would chop it down only with
might, as many indigenous peoples do, meditate and pray before committing an
act of such enormity.
It would be an occasion for
a very worthy purpose would
Now, having converted all of these unique, divine
beings into just trees, we level entire forests with
hardly a second thought." -
Barbe Baker was born in a country house in South Hampshire, England, on 9
October 1889 and from his earliest days developed a keen awareness of the beauty of
the forests and creatures therein.
At Cambridge Richard St Barbe
Baker studied forestry and after finishing his degree he was posted to
Kenya as a forester with the
Appalled by the continued destruction of the
scrublands in the northern highlands by the
Kikuyu tribesmen Richard St
Barbe Baker convinced the people there to plant trees to replace those they had
Richard St Barbe Baker instituted a Dance of The Trees
out of which arose the Men of The Trees, the Swahili for which is
'Watu wa Miti'.
1924 Richard St Barbe
Baker founded Men of The Trees in England and became interested in the
Baha'i faith which he pursued until
1931 Richard St Barbe Baker went to
Palestine at the invitation of Sir
John Chancellor, the Governor, to assist in establishing a tree planting
Richard St Barbe Baker spent some time in
Jerusalem co-ordinating a
meeting of the heads of the Islam,
Catholic communities to plant trees
under the banner of Men of The Trees.
Richard St Barbe Baker
America on a lecture tour, during
which he wrote his first book Men of the Trees.
Seeing the giant
Redwoods he became involved in a move to conserve these trees from further
destruction by launching Save the Redwoods Fund which eventually
delivered twelve thousand acres of redwoods to the State of California as a
Richard St Barbe Baker's
Franklin D Roosevelt
resulted in the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Richard St Barbe Baker founded the Forestry Association of Great
1952 Richard St Barbe Baker goes to
Europe, addressing conferences in Germany and Austria and lecturing to
university graduates in Vienna on the importance of tree cover.
St Barbe Baker returned to New York, campaigning for tree preservation and late
in that year led the first Sahara University Expedition, raising funds by
writing Famous Trees.
1954 Richard St Barbe Baker goes to New Zealand at the
invitation of Men of The Trees there to convince the New Zealand
State Forestry Service of the need for trees in Central Otago.
1955 Richard St Barbe Baker organizes an
exhibition in Cambridge called Man Against Nature and a
similar exhibition was staged in Paris.
1982 Richard St Barbe Baker plants his last tree in Saskatoon, Canada,
in a ceremony celebrating World Environment Day.
on Richard St Barbe Baker 's grave marker reads:
RICHARD ST. BARBE BAKER, O.B.E.
9 OCTOBER 1889
- 9 JUNE 1982
FOUNDER MEN OF THE TREES
PIONEER OF DESERT RECLAMATION
THROUGH TREE PLANTING
CRUSADER FOR VIRGIN FORESTS WORLDWIDE
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