Be like a
tree in pursuit of your cause.
the winds of
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, sacred and irreplaceable, then we would chop
it down only with great circumspection. We might,
as many indigenous peoples do, meditate and pray before committing an act of
such enormity. It would be an occasion for solemn
ritual. Only a very worthy purpose
would justify it. Now, having converted all of these unique, divine beings into
just so many trees, we level
entire forests with hardly a second thought." -
Richard St Barbe Baker was born
in a country house in the South of Hampshire, England, on 9 October 1889 and
from his earliest days developed a
keen awareness of the beauty of the forests and
trees and the 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 Colonial Office. 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
removed. 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'.
In 1924 Richard St Barbe
Baker founded Men of The Trees in England and in the same
year became interested in the Baha'i faith, a
faith which he pursued until his
In 1931 Richard St
Barbe Baker went to Palestine at the invitation of Sir John Chancellor, the
Governor, to assist in establishing a tree planting program in the
hope of uniting warring factions.
Richard St Barbe Baker spent some time in Jerusalem co-ordinating a meeting of
the heads of the Arab, Hebrew and Catholic communities to plant
trees under the banner of Men of
Barbe Baker next went to the US of America on a lecture tour, during which
he wrote his first book Men of
the Trees. Richard St Barbe
Baker travelled to California to see the giant Redwoods and became involved in
a move to conserve these trees from
further destruction. On his return to England Richard St Barbe Baker set about
saving the Redwoods by launching Save the Redwoods Fund. Every year for
the next eight years Richard St Barbe Baker returned to California to nurture
his dream and finally twelve thousand
acres of the trees were
handed over to the State of
California as a reserve.
Richard St Barbe Baker's friendship with
Franklin Delano Roosevelt resulted
in the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
St Barbe Baker founded the Forestry Association of Great Britain.
In 1952 Richard St Barbe Baker went to Europe, addressing conferences
in Germany and Austria and lecturing to university graduates in Vienna on the
importance of tree cover.
Richard 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
1954 Richard St Barbe Baker went 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 organized an exhibition in Cambridge called Man
Against Nature and a similar exhibition was staged in Paris.
Richard St Barbe Baker planted his last
tree in Saskatoon, Canada, on June
5th, 1982 in a ceremony celebrating World Environment Day.
inscription on Richard St Barbe Baker 's grave marker
RICHARD ST. BARBE BAKER, O.B.E.
1889 - 9 JUNE 1982
FOUNDER MEN OF THE
PIONEER OF DESERT
RECLAMATION THROUGH TREE PLANTING
CRUSADER FOR VIRGIN FORESTS WORLDWIDE
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