This week I dedicate my images to Greenpeace and its efforts on behalf of a future that will allow our forests to thrive. Thriving forests translate into a thriving world where forests sustain local communities and economies, are filled with unique wildlife, and keep our air clean and pollution-free.
Even as a great deal of our country is finding itself blanketed in snow and deep freeze, I am noticing new greens on our local hillsides and in the meadows. Green certainly is a metaphorical color for regeneration and life. I saw raindrops on fern fronds that were sparkling like the moisture in the eyes of the mystical “Green Man.” (Usually I see the feminine deity Gaia and the movement of Shekhinah in my nature images, but, believe it or not, I am also able to acknowledge the blessings of the divine masculine.)
Through the ages and in almost all cultures, the Green Man has represented the spirit of nature united with humanity, a symbol of the ever-present life force and the renewal of the earth. Some have gone so far as to make the argument that the Green Man represents a male counterpart – or son or lover or protector – to Earth Mother, Gaia, the Great Goddess. In the 16th Century Cathedral at St-Bertrand de Comminges in southern France, there is a depiction of a winged Earth Mother giving birth to a smiling Green Man.
Forests are home to an incredible diversity of green – in plant and animal life. But these life-giving habitats are under threat from deforestation. Deforestation has devastating impacts for the indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities that have traditionally stewarded these lands. Beyond the borders of the forest, we all rely on forests for things like clean water and air, timber, medicines, and the products we use every day.
The fight for forests is fundamentally tied to the challenge of global warming. The very process of deforestation contributes as much as 20 percent of the earth-warming greenhouse gasses produced annually. Intact forests, on the other hand, absorb the damaging carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The causes of deforestation vary from region to region, but there is one common threat: the danger we human beings bring on. Human activity is behind almost all of the major causes of forest destruction, whether it is our support of the industries that make the products we use every day or our making space to grow our food, raise our cattle, and build our often luxurious homes.
We need to fight for the forests because we cannot exist without them. This is a good time to relearn how to unite our human spirits with the spirit of nature and be green women and men!