Plant Trees, Trees, and More Trees by Carol P. Christ

I dream that all of us who are suffering burn-out because of national and world politics come together to plant and nurture trees. Scientists say that planting ONE TRILLION TREES would neutralize two-thirds of carbon emissions and reverse climate change. Yes, we need to march, to organize, and to vote. But it is also important to embody our commitment to life and the living. Putting our hands in the soil, tenderly teasing the roots of the trees we plant as we nestle them into the earth, we move from our heads to our bodies, re-membering the interdependence of life.

This has already begun to happen in India—a country where what Vandana Shiva named “maldevelopment” has produced massive deforestation. At the Paris climate change conference India pledged to “make India green again” by reforesting 235 million acres of land. The government allotted 6.2 billion dollars to support the plan. What was not expected was the overwhelming enthusiasm of those who volunteered to plant trees.

In 2016 in the state of Uttar Pradesh one million people planted fifty million trees in twenty-four hours. In 2017 in Madhya Pradesh a million and a half volunteers planted sixty-six million trees in twenty-four hours. This movement is spreading across India. Men and children have participated, but it is not surprising that women, whose traditional roles in “forest culture”—caring for and harvesting food and other products from the forests—have played major roles.


Looking at these pictures it is easy to see that in the process of planting trees together, everyone is having fun and community is being created and sustained.

When I saw the headlines about mass tree plantings, I thought: yeah, right, but who is going to look after all these trees? But then I read that every mass tree planting project must include plans to water the trees and to ensure that they survive. The community that comes together to plant the trees must care for them too.

Trillion Trees is a joint project supported by World Wildlife Fund, Birdlife International, and World Conservation Society. Their website posts the alarming statistic that despite efforts to combat deforestation at least ten billion trees are cut down every year. Trillion Trees recognizes that three interconnected actions are necessary: stopping deforestation, improving protection of forests, and planting trees (reforestation).

The Trillion Tree Campaign, a project of the United Nations, helps to co-ordinate, monitor, and record tree-planting efforts around the world. It says that so far thirteen and a half billion trees have been planted. That sounded wonderful until I realized that this is only makes up for the number of trees lost every year and four months!

Reforestation is important, but we should also be thinking about ways to plant more trees in urban and suburban areas. Studies show that living in the presence of trees—on tree-lined streets and with trees in our gardens—lowers stress,  promoting serenity, creativity, and a sense of well-being.

So how do we begin? What if every one of us who has a garden planted one or two more trees? What if those of us who live near vacant lots planted trees on them? Taking even one small step can energize us to do more. What if we joined together to ask our towns and cities to allow us to plant more trees in school yards, parks, and other public spaces? Could we plant fifty million–or more–trees in twenty-four hours in the United States—with plans to water and nurture them so they thrive? Not once but many times.

In the ethics of Goddess religion, nurturing life is the first principle. Planting trees, we bring the principle of nuturing life into our bodies. Planting trees together, we bring it into our communities. Planting trees will also renew our spirits because nurturing life makes us happy.

A different world is possible. I hear her calling.


Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist and ecofeminist writer, activist, and educator currently living in Pachia Ammos, Crete. Carol’s recent book written with Judith Plaskow, Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology, is on Amazon. A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess is on sale for $9.99 on Amazon. Carol has been leading Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for over twenty years: join her in Crete. Carol’s photo by Michael Honneger.

Listen to Carol’s a-mazing interview with Mary Hynes on CBC’s Tapestry recorded in conjunction with her keynote address to the Parliament of World’s Religions.

Categories: Activism, Earth-based spirituality, Eco-systems, Ecofeminism, Embodiment, environment, Feminism, Feminism and Religion, General

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14 replies

  1. Thank you Carol for your continuing inspirations. Visions of winding dances and tree planting. I would like to add other sisters, , to the list of organizations/movements currently planting trees.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love this tree post, thanks, Carol. You mentioned “we should also be thinking about ways to plant more trees in urban and suburban areas.”

    New York City promised some years ago it would plant “One Million Trees” throughout the city. And happily they fulfilled that promise.
    Yes indeed !! — see online —


  3. Very interesting post, thanks Carol. I read this recently — “Trees are vital. As the biggest plants on the planet, they give us oxygen, store carbon, stabilize the soil and give life to the world’s wildlife.” Good to read that, I probably just take trees for granted. I didn’t know they provide so much for our environment.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh this is a beautiful post Carol… I am always planting trees and have been all my life – planted about 20 in the desert this year… If only more people were listening – my question as a naturalist is how do we find a way to engage more people in tree planting here in the United States? We need billions of trees now to combat Climate Change and de forestation – and it takes a number of years before trees are old enough to sequester carbon – here in Maine I shudder as I see the trucks full of 30 year old trees barreling down the roads and I can hardly bear it. Maine has lost most of its adult forest – about 16 percent left – and that’s an old statistic – and Maine is one of the so called well forested states…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Also so thankful to Wangari Maathai and the Green Belt Movement, planting 51 million trees in Kenya. May they thrive! (and all of us)

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Such an inspiring post! Since I read it earlier this morning I have researched catalpa trees, which might grow well in our yard. Riverkeeper, a local organization connected to a national one, is about to give a workshop on what trees to plant along our waters ways. Thanks to you and others for providing links to organizations that are planting trees.


  7. What a good idea! Thanks for this information. Yes, we need to totally stop clear cutting our forests, which are the lungs of the planet, and plant more trees everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Carol for the very necessary reminder. I am very fortunate to live in one of those ‘beautiful oak tree lined neighborhoods”. I’m going to copy your entry to send to our city officials as we have this huge dichotomous issue in California. For more than 20 years I have done my best to conserve water due to reported “drought conditions”. But residents continually get mixed messages from our leaders who remind us to conserve water and then immediately we’ll see the approval by them for developers to build huge living complexes where there will be more water required for the actual building of these homes and for the new building dwellers. And there are still people here watering their lawns as if there’s an endless supply of water just to maintain the “leave it to beaver” neighborhood appearance, and because “they don’t like the look of the drought tolerant plants” that some of us have planted in place of grass.

    I mean for goodness sake…we’ve created full on cities out in the surrounding deserts of Phoenix, Las Vegas, Indio, Palm Springs and other areas, for “fun in the sun”. These developments always include beautifully kept real grass golf courses for our growing retired population living in or visiting these areas. On top of this, the water demand goes even higher by the increasing number of “snowbirds’ coming out to these “desert places” for 6 months to escape the Midwestern/Northern areas cold temperatures. This phenomenon also puts a heavy strain not only on the water demands but also plays havoc on the towns people who get hired with the influx of people and then fired at the departure of the snowbirds, leaving blighted small towns when the businesses close down. So how do we get some balance so that we have the water required for the ever important trees, to plant new ones and to protect the trees we have especially out here in CA where we are so blessed with the Sequoias and Redwoods etc?

    But we are a people who want what we want when we want it. Trees, as you mention are so important to maintaining what we have left, and to repairing what we’ve damaged. When will we begin to put the needs of all before the wants of some? Your post encourages me to keep fighting for integral needs for sustaining life for all beings vs the pursuit of the almighty millions for the few.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You said that “studies show that living in the presence of trees—on tree-lined streets and with trees in our gardens—lowers stress, promoting serenity, creativity, and a sense of well-being.”

    I live on a tree-lined street and it does make a big difference, not just walking under the trees, but also seeing those glorious trees from my window.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Approximately 5.2 million trees grow on public streets and private property in New York City, that is, according to the U.S. Forest Service — but the good thing too is that New Yorkers must have very good air quality, indeed — Wow.


  11. Plant trees! Such a great example of togetherness and activism!

    Here at home: I planted two fruit trees this summer and am nurturing them carefully.
    My yard has lost 35 trees in 15 years, mostly to bark beatles. I have planted 32 new ones. I am also nurturing the seedlings that have come up naturally, including a group of 8 ponderosa pines that sprouted one year and now range in size from 1 to 5 feet.

    Together in Community: The Charter for Compassion Environment Sector will be rolling out a project this fall called “Compassion Tree Project” to promote tree planting for the environment. I’ll be sure to let everyone know when we get that started.
    Some in my local community are gearing up to start a tree planting project locally. We hope to start seedlings, identify spaces that need trees where we are permitted to plant, and plant when the seedlings are ready.

    Trees that are native to the area to be planted are recommended.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Plant Trees, Trees, and More Trees by Carol P. Christ — – Mystic Grove

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