Acts of Tree Kindness: Trees as Sentient Beings

Our understanding of the capacity for trees to feel and to communicate has changed a lot in recent years. Today we share a little of this information on tree intelligence, and ask you to allow that to inform the way you relate to trees in future.

Have a look at our earlier post ‘Among the Trees: Body to Body’ to explore the relationship between the kind of multi-sensory Creative Noticing we focused on in the first Acts of Tree Kindness post, and the development of a new awareness of and respect for trees as living beings. As Brigit Strawbridge reminds us via her Twitter, even in lockdown, there are no restrictions on hugging trees.

Brigit Strawbridge Howard
Photo: Brigit Strawbridge-Howard

What impact can knowing a tree’s body though our own, and understanding the interelationship between the two have on our behaviour towards trees? Direct experiences of connection, alongside research into tree biology and communication can enable a real change in our understanding of our interdependence.

‘If all the trees go, there won’t be any oxygen, and we won’t be able to survive.’

Child participant on the Ash Tree Stream project

Photo: James Aldridge (One Ash Project with Andover Trees United)

There have been a number of relevant books and films released in recent years that have shone a light on tree sentience, including the film The Intelligence of Trees, and the influential book The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben:

‘When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you can no longer just chop them down and disrupt their lives with large machines.’

Artwork: Meg McKenzie

What books and films have you read, or experiences have you had, that have informed your understanding of and relationship with trees? Please get in touch to let us know and use the #ActsofTreeKindness hashtag to share on social media.

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