Ghost Forest – London and Copenhagen

Kensington Palace London

There was the last gasp of a Ghanian rainforest in Trafalgar Square in central London last week. Nine different tree species were sourced in the Suhuma forest, Western Ghana, and shipped to Tilbury Docks in East London for witnessing. Now these dead forest giants are heading to Copenhagen to make real the plight of our planet.

Eight indigenous species were represented – Denya, Dahuma, Danta, Hyedua, Kyere, Mahogany, Celtis and Wawa – all have a rich and varied ecology and all with equally diverse uses by humankind. The Ghananian tropical rainforests of the Congo Basin are the closest to Europe, and are just 3,000 miles due south from Trafalgar Square, along the Greenwich Meridian.

Trafalgar was also carefully chosen, not just for its centrality and high visibility, but moving the stumps to Trafalgar Square and cleverly positioning them next to Nelson’s Column provided a poignant reminder of how magnificent the trees once were. Nelson’s column and statue, at 169 feet (over 50 metres) tall, is the approximate height these trees would have been in the wild.

By night, green laser beams shone upwards to mark where the trees would have reached if they were still standing in their rainforest in Ghana.

If you were fortunate enough to be in London and became a witness to this senseless havoc, then you undoubtedly were effected by the experience, but for most of the world, the online reports will have to serve as an impetus for you to encourage your government’s action at the UN Copenhagen COP15 Conference on Climate Change from December 7 – 18, 2009. There will be 11,000 delegates.

Climate change has natural cycles, but we do not have to be making the situation worse, and we are, especially by deforestation and poor energy source choices. The destruction of tropical rainforests releases nearly one-fifth of all man-made greenhouse gases.

When we travel, we hopefully do so with awareness and interest.

There is a need to learn about other cultures and the pressures upon them. The third world is being raped for resources, but any improvement in their people’s lives comes at great ecological cost, and decreased long-term security, unless the resources are managed well and are being effectively replaced. That hasn’t been the case, and is rarely the situation now.

Londoners learned that Ghana has lost 90% of her virgin forests in just 50 years. Only now is there beginning to be re-forestation, but without the natural cycle and protection from older trees, their success is not assured.

Replanting is a science all its own. Now, finally, at the eleventh hour, each tree in Ghana’s remaining 10% of primary rainforest is numbered. Only a few in any one concession can be logged. Each felling is witnessed by officials.

When logging is complete, each land concession must lie undisturbed for the next 40 years. As a result of more careful logging, the forest canopy is retained, so the young saplings regenerate naturally, leading to a thicker forest, and the timber industry continues at a sustainable pace.

Why care?

Well, trees are the lungs of our planet. None of us can live without them, yet short-sighted, (greedy), wealthy land-“owners” and governments continue to allow the obliteration of massive tracts of forest, world-wide, daily. Every 4 seconds, sections of forest the size of a football field is killed, maybe never to return. An area twice the size of Belgium is lost every year, and our planet is gasping for breath. Trees make most of our oxygen!

Please help to stop the slaughter.

It’s easy to cut down these living wonders, but who’s thinking about and supporting research on sustainable replacement materials (like hemp * ) and tackling all the other factors to stop this, as the trees will take generations to grow again, if the temperature and rainfall allow.

The countries will not have any sustained prosperity from their forest rape actions, and the first-world’s obsession for “goods” must be curbed. We all need to make new, better choices.

Each of us has an essential role to play. “Ghost Forest” was the work of British artist Angela Palmer, who showed how amazingly effective one person’s vision and action can be!

Tourists are on holiday, and often don’t want to be faced with these grim realities which really effect everyone’s daily life, albeit sometimes more subtly than others. But tourism is the life’s-blood of many countries, so when travelers make destination choices, who is going to want to see ecological devastation? These countries allowing it need to re-think their policies. Tourism is a far more effective, sustainable wealth-source for their country’s people.

Eco-tourism is booming, and as visitors, we can support it for all living things and the planet will benefit from our choices.

If you will be in Copenhagen in early December, you can see the thoughtful, provocative rainforest assembly in Thorvaldsens Plads, the central square, from the 7th – 18th.

You’ll also find websites and petitions online where you can learn more and make your wishes known.

* Hemp: While you travel in England and France, especially, you will see and learn that many 500 – 600 year old buildings, in super condition, were made there from hemp. These buildings outlast any modern materials except brick or stone (which require large carbon foot-prints or potentially wreke quarry devastation).

Hemp is fast-growing, sustainable, ecologically strong as it does not require pesticides for protection. Hemp could effectively house-the-world, without the need to cut down our wondrous forests.

The French have re-mastered the technology to produce hemp building panels, so the methods are now more effective. Whole villages have been built in Britain recently, from hemp. Learn more while you are there, or online.

The Canadians are on-board, and the Australians also have historic buildings as examples to learn from. Americans need to embrace industrial hemp as a savior for food, clothing and housing, but the movement is in its infancy; most Americans know nothing about it, and those who have tried, have been thwarted by an ignorant federal government over the last decade.

Read more about Ghost Forest and Angela Palmer at: London Links!

Ghost Forest video – Telegraph newspaper, London

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©2009 mystic at Travel Vacation Review

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