Carbon Miles or Carbon Storage

Since my last posted article asking how many Trees are needed to absorb a Flight, I have been in quite a lot of conversation through Facebook, Messenger, and emails, and even through the old fashioned telephone.


Very interesting conversation with very diverse opinions. Opinions have been tightly linked to the lifestyles of the people making them, so obviously they are honest opinions and questions.

Within a short time these conversations have defined for me what I am doing with this 'Us And Trees - What Can We Do?' hub.

A Quest With Trees

During the past 11 years most of my focus has been on Bards In The Woods and Tree Labyrinth Sessions here at Carrowcrory. Before that, I was very much in the woods but my visualisation, performance, and storytelling work seemed to be in all kinds of places, though I think I have always done woodland picnics :-)


Bards In The Woods and the Tree Labyrinth seem to bring everything I do together. Rather than being a conservation and 'save the planet' quest, the work is more about 'mental health' than saving the planet.

By 'mental health' I do not mean trying to cure people with mentally damaged issues but protecting our mental health, happiness, and connection to what gives our lives, minds, and emotions joy..


Healers or Guides?

In the holistic circles there seems to be thousands of practitioners calling themselves 'healers'. and they are serving many more 1000s of people desiring to be 'healed'.  Sometimes they claim to diagnose and heal all kinds of things that 'conventional' medicine cannot diagnose.

Is over half of the humans on the planet chronically ill with illnesses that the medical profession cannot diagnose? I do not think so. If I had to label all of this I would call it 'disconnection'.


I think 'holistic' people serve to guide and help people back into connection, comfort, love, and belonging, before those diagnosable illnesses happen. It is all about love and protection, I think.

My approach to this thing called 'healing' has been through being outside in woodland sanctuaries and encouraging people to be in touch and trust their instincts and inspirations. I believe this is making a connection that opens as a conduit to being nourished with inner love. This is undefined, unconditional love and life that can be shared, rather than the dependencies of carrying a longing, expectancy, and despair of it not coming from somewhere else.


The Secret Life of Tree Sanctuaries

What has moved my life furniture around a bit has been some discoveries I brought home from the lovely Woodland Festival at Killegar, near Carrigallen, Co. Leitrim last August, 2019.

It was just like 11 years ago when I achieved a lovely fusion of my work with woodland sanctuaries. Last end of August discoveries created a fusion of my work with eco and climate change concerns that seems to have everyone's attention right now.

My main discovery was that the quarter acre Tree Labyrinth Garden here, that is now 11 years old, probably absorbs as much or more CO2 than the release from the combination of what we use in cottage energy and my minimal car driving here.


That idea was quite a surprise. I started wondering about the impact of every household family doing similar. I pondered on how this could be done by people living in apartments or in homes with small gardens. Several  people, this year, have asked me, "how could I create and grow a Tree Sanctuary where I live".

I assure you this inspiration was not fronted with Euro signs flashing in my mind. If I followed that I think I would need something dramatic for my own mental health issues.


So off I went express a synthesis of it all as 'Us And Trees'  also happen to connect very tightly with my storyboard and notes for my third book in my 'Bathing Series', 'Bathing Your Roots'.

The conversations I have shared within the earth's Green Genre seems to be actively about how do aeroplane 'chem' trails fit into modern human pollution? I think the recent stories of teenage green activist, Greta Thunberg trying to criss-cross the Atlantic in the least carbon pumping way, has amplified this conversation.


Repaying Carbon Miles?

This opened yet another stage light for me as many of the people who have attended Bards In The Woods and Tree Labyrinth Sessions have travelled many miles, often 1000s of miles, on aeroplanes, to be here in Ireland, including a visit to Carrowcrory to see what we do with the Labyrinth Gardens.

Though I do not put in many air miles myself, I started to feel a bit like Al Gore darting around the earth in a Learjet and picked up at airports in big SUVs, to get to venues to present Save The Planet 'Inconvenient Truth' and 'Inconvenient Sequel'.


What dawned on me was the 1000s to millions of people who travel around the earth on aeroplanes to attend holistic events and landscapes such as mindfulness, reiki, sound therapies, yoga, crystal healing, the list goes on. Often these holistic travellers travel many hours on planes to attend events, retreats, and courses run by people with names we cannot pronounce, but as one social media post recently said their driving licence may say 'Steve'.

A huge upside of travel is that I notice travellers lose any holding of racialism, bias, and aggression towards other races. Travellers become humbled, inclusive, tolerant, and forgiving through travel.

Also to be considered, is people have only been flying around the world for under 90 years. It was boats before that. Cross country gangsters rode in private compartments on trains rather than ride the Learjets they do today.

Thinking of people travelling by boats, it does seem that most of the boat travel years were of people coming ashore and plundering rather than learn how people lived, learn about other landscapes and discover what other races believed in.


So after all of my introduction, I will move onto this article subject and consider, how do we integrate carbon release from air miles, that I am calling 'Carbon Miles' and convert them back into Carbon Storage.

A common answer has been, "Ffs, stop flying!"

International Tree Planters?

One frequent air traveller told me yesterday that she donates to Plant It 2020 to offset her carbon release air travel.

Plant It 2020 was founded by singer John Denver in 1982 with a desire to return trees to damaged eco systems around the world; From 2009 this expanded into forest education around the world that included sustainable harvesting and efficient energy use from wood.

Normally, I am very sceptical of international tree planting organisations as many are scams in all sorts of ways and do more damage than good with their tree planting.

Plant It 2020 seem to go well out of their way to point out these scams and explain why they think they are not part of any of the scam practices. Maybe Plant It 2020 are squeaky clean and have done a lot of worldly good with trees. 

Tree Sisters is another one that take international tree planting a few steps further. Their approach is a worldwide feminine sisterhood that mentors feminine nature based leadership. They heavily promote the idea of  creating local tree sanctuary women's circles. So like 'Us And Trees' their's is a fusion of tree planting, tree care, and personal and community healthcare. The difference being that Tree Sisters is an international agency and men cannot be members. Their work seems to be incredible though.


'Us And Trees' is for all gender and all ages. We are not yet international, are very small, and are focused on Ireland woodland creation and care, and some of the UK, especially Scotland. What is posted here I hope is also inspiring for where you live, anywhere on earth.  The core of 'Us And Tress' is to promote the idea of 1000s of Tree Sanctuaries much more than sustainable mass native forestry.

I feel that though some global tree planters like Plant It 2020 are doing a great job what they usually cannot do is truly connect people. Maybe Tree Sisters have worked out that one through encouraging local women's circles.


To me, the international native forestry tree planters compared to local schemes is like the difference between shopping for organic vegetables at WalMart, ASDA, or even Lidl, compared to buying same at the local market. Local market shopping is also a social event, and a friend may even turn up with fresh pulled carrots and cabbage while we are shopping there.  I think tree planting and management should be live, on the spot, community and not become a digital app run community.

Grow A Bigger Tree Sanctuary?

I did a calculation and it seems that a carbon release on a New York to Dublin return flight would equal about 100 days of carbon absorption by an Oak Tree 15 years old or older. So Carbon compensation is possible from just increasing the size of your Tree Sanctuary according to how often you do air travel. That is 100 days for each passenger on a flight, not 100 days for the whole flight.


The challenges with that are how to encourage each flyer to be responsible for a personal Tree Sanctuary area. Then treat their Tree Sanctuary on the same level as water and food, that we try to ensure we do not go without. We need air with the same importance as water and food, and it should be treated with the same attention and respect. We do not do that yet!

With most people, they seem to apply the supermarket instant dinner 'pop in the oven' approach, so Plant It 2020 would seem ideal for this and keep them carbon negated with suspected ease.

With all three essentials, food, water, and air, it seems most people say they do not either have the time or spare income to really deal with them. Our digital world seems to have become more and more prioritised over our  basic survival requirements.


The Order Of The Green Prescription

Here with 'Us And Trees' the intent of the hub is to link to local initiatives and schemes, focus on the personal Tree Sanctuary concept not only for driving toward personal carbon neutrality but as a green prescription. We each seem to need a Green Prescription to command protected health, especially mental health, and trust in inner inspiration and the flow of life's love. We need the Green Prescription as a tool, just like a dieter needs weighing scales.

Tree Sanctuary sharing also bonds community. A recent visitor to Carrowcrory said, "This is amazing, we are talking. We have put our phones away and we are talking. The men are talking, really talking, and they do not seem to do this anywhere else.".

Welcome to 'Us And Trees - What We Can Do' which is far more than you may imagine.

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