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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger Goes Deep Into the Forest

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: Diana Beresford-Kroeger, trees, forest, wilderness, health, climate change, science, arts, environment, Keith Goetzman,

Diana Beresford-Kroeger 

You don’t have to be a tree hugger to understand Diana Beresford-Kroeger’s message: We had better take care of the trees, because the trees take care of us. The Canadian botanist and author is a tireless student and champion of the forest, yet even she blanches at being called a tree hugger, saying instead that she’s a “tree respecter.”

Beresford-Kroeger’s book The Global Forest, which comes out in paperback in late November, lays out the many ways she respects the trees: as oxygenators, purifiers, healers, habitat providers, even spiritual guides. The book is written in a deliberately spare, mellifluous style—a mantra based on lullaby rhythms, she told me—that combines her Gaelic storytelling heritage and her deep scientific knowledge.

We chose Beresford-Kroeger as a 2011 Utne Reader visionary in part for this rare ability to blend the scientific with the artistic—even occasionally the mystical. Here is some of the tree wisdom she shared with me in a recent interview.

On being called a tree hugger:

On science and art:

On the heart of a redwood: