Be like a
tree in pursuit of your
bend to the winds of heaven,
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
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'.
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 death.
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
Richard St Barbe Baker spent some time in
co-ordinating a meeting of the heads of the Islam, Hebrew and Catholic
communities to plant trees
under the banner of Men of The Trees.
Richard St Barbe Baker
travelled to America on a lecture
tour, during which he wrote his first book Men of the
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 friendship with
Franklin Delano Roosevelt resulted
in the establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
St Barbe Baker founded the Forestry Association of Great Britain.
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
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 plantes his last
tree in Saskatoon, Canada,
in a ceremony celebrating World Environment Day.
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
CRUSADER FOR VIRGIN FORESTS WORLDWIDE
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