Diana Beresford-Kroeger: Tree Walker

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Image courtesy of Diana Beresford-Kroeger

Diana Beresford-Kroeger was chosen as an Utne Reader visionary in 2011. Each year Utne Reader puts forward its selection of world visionaries–people who don’t just concoct great ideas but also act on them.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger Online Extras | 2011 Visionaries Home Page

Somewhere in the world, Diana Beresford-Kroeger explains, trees are producing oxygen for the very air that you breathe. It’s just one of the many examples that the Canadian botanist uses to drive home the point that our entire existence is intertwined with trees.

“If you speak for the trees, you speak for all of nature,” says Beresford-Kroeger, who has the mind of a scientist and the heart of an artist. She has studied the environmental, medicinal, nutritional, and even spiritual aspects of trees, has written about them in books such as The Global Forest and Arboretum Borealis, and on her property she maintains gardens that burst with flora and are open often to the public.

Her personal story is remarkable: Orphaned at 11 in Ireland, she lived with a succession of Gaelic-speaking elders who, she says, passed down ancient Druidic wisdom to her. She in turns aims to spread her knowledge through three forthcoming feature-length films.

Beresford-Kroeger’s boldest vision is a bioplan for the earth–a tree-planting scheme to reforest and heal the planet. All it takes to start, she says, is to “think about your local trees. They’re your trees; protect them. When someone comes to cut them down, object.”

Diana Beresford-Kroeger Online Extras | 2011 Visionaries Home Page

Have something to say? Send a letter to editor@utne.com. This article first appeared in the November-December 2011 issue of Utne Reader.

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