2nd International meeting of Friends of the Trees

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Daryl Hannah were in Cáceres recently calling for more trees to combat climate change "It has been a long time since I saw such collective energy as I have seen here during these past few days," they confessed shortly before leaving Cáceres, last month. After three days of intense exchanges of views and experiences, projects and proposals, conferences, roundtables, book presentations and cultural experiences.

There were many moments of shared hope, satisfaction and joy, and always with the tree at the heart of the meeting.
  
So concluded the Second International Meeting of Friends of Trees (2eiaa), run by the Foundation +arboles (F+á), the organization created three years ago by the agroforestry company Maderas Nobles de la Sierra de Segura to spread a new tree culture and to help combat climate change through the creation of ecological and sustainable plantations. They reiterated their commitment to a world more vibrant and conscious, leading three days of debate at the highest level with international experts from ecology, environmental activism, popular science, permaculture, politics, economy and civil society. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Daryl Hannah were the stars. The First Meeting held in Barcelona in 2007 was attended by prominent politician, environmentalist and Nobel Peace Prize, Al Gore and physicist, eco-feminist, Indian writer and honorary president of the F+á, Vandana Shiva. The undisputed prominent guests this year were American lawyer and activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. And the famous American actress Daryl Hannah. For the nephew of former President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, known for exposing and prosecuting large corporations that threaten the environment, either by polluting the river water, the air we breathe or destroying our forests and mountains, our future as humanity must consider nature as a structure that is as important as telecommunications or road construction. "Planting trees is a necessary investment if we are to ensure the economic prosperity of our children," he said during his closing spech, getting an emotional standing ovation from the 600+ people who filled the Cultural Centre San Francisco in Caceres, a fifteenth century convent that had become host to the meeting. On his first visit to Spain, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., showed his skills as a communicator and media agitator, in a speech that lasted just over an hour in which he reviewed the history of the Alliance of Water Guardians, the body that he founded and presides over to safeguard the richness of the Hudson River in New York. He explained the need to create an international power grid, the cost, he said, would be lower than the Iraq war, he denounced the worrying levels of mercury contamination suffered by citizens of their country because of the coal industry, and declared that as a real advocate of free trade and an environmentalist, said that health and democracy is linked to how it relates to its natural resources. "Every time there is an act of aggression against nature," said Kennedy, "democracy is on its knees, weakened." Therefore, "those who plant trees are changing not only the natural ecosystem, but a country’s political ecosystem" he said.
 
"We must be strong, daring, committed and environmental to join this revolution, to make it worth living in this world," said Daryl Hannah on the other hand, in an upbeat and motivating speech, which encouraged the audience to "get away from cynicism and cope with the crisis." The popular American star who, like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was approachable and natural, agreeing to be photographed with anyone who asked, expressed her happiness at being in Spain as part of the Second International Meeting of Friends of Trees. "I say more trees, forever" she exclaimed enthusiastically. The blonde mermaid who fell in love with Tom Hanks in Splash, who lived disconnected from the grid and generates her own power, was "terrified" by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but with the hope that the incident serves to "wake people up." "A large-scale problem like this is going to be a great battle. We’ll have to go out there, get our boots on and start kicking," she said.
 
Permaculture and the crisis of the planet.
"Agriculture,” said the Australian Darren Doherty, in one of his many statements during the meeting, "is now the most polluting and toxic industry, the greatest enemy of climate change. And at the same time it is our solution, because it can, through fixing atmospheric carbon in the soil to lower the CO² emissions level to 100 ppm, reaching the quota Earth recorded in 1750, before the start of the industrial revolution. Permaculture, the science of common sense which was named in the late 70s, by Australian Bill Molison, and that comes from joining the words permanent and culture, often appeared on stage at the 2eiaa, as one of the most valid and promising holistic approaches to address the crisis facing the planet. Doherty, director of the Phoenix Institute of Bendigo, Australia, discussed the need to move from a culture of Sustainability to a culture of regeneration, which takes its inspiration from the forest model, while the possibilities of integrating agriculture into urban environments was discussed by the American Katherine Steele, a member of the Urban Permaculture Association in Oakland and responsible for sustainale management projects and long-term development at the Esalen Institute in California.
 
Both agreed that it is time to unite work with the Earth and work together. "This is a time of great change and there are three things we can do: become activists on the ground, define alternative systems and change our consciousness, our thinking," said Steele. In all, more than thirty speakers contributed their thoughts and views on climate change, deforestation, forest management, rural culture, trees and forest policy, social action and economic crisis. Among them, the naturalist and writer Joaquín Araújo, an expert on tropical agriculture; Claes Linden, the head of Greenpeace forests; Miguel Angel Soto, journalist; and businesswoman Ana Alonso, who runs a concession of 60,000 hectares of forest in Mozambique; the Portuguese physicist Filipe Duarte;  President of the Foundation Sustainlabour Joaquín Nieto; the head of The Climate Project Spain, Spanish dividion of Al Gore’s Project on Climate Change, John Bold;  Stefan Nolte, responsible for Quality and MNSs Finance and member of the Sierra del Agua, Stefan Nolte; the patron of the Foundation +arboles and social activist, Juan Segarra; the delegate from F+arboles in Extremadura, Andres Rodriguez; Lucas Casasnovas and Anselm Martin, head of Volkswagen and Bankinter RSC, two of the companies who plant trees with the F+ to offset their CO2 emissions.
 
Trees, songs, poems and paintings. "When we say tree we are saying much more, we are leaving evidence for the perpetrators of attacks against the environment and the lack of forest policy," said Juan Valero, MNSs founder and patron of the F+á, who, hours before the curtain came down gave thanks to all who made this possible, from the speakers to each of the attendees. "The three-year life of the Foundation +arboles has shown that it is possible to create a fruitful collaboration between governments, private companies and civic and social organizations," said the president of the F + á, Javier Sanchez, who made a call to civil society and institutions to curb the destruction of natural areas. And in the line of the proposed Doherty and Steele said: "We must act ourselves. A new world is just a new mind. "
 
During the meeting there was also time to enjoy the deep and timeless art of flamenco singer El Cabrero and the warm voice of the singer Inma Serrano. There was time to concoct the processes that nature continues to recover from a fire, through the paintings of the artist Pepe Carrasco and exposure Nature. And to join the initiative Cáceres A Poem Giant poet’s life, Arbolea the world, a social art performance conceived by the poet and anthropologist Angel Arenas and attended by 2,000 people bringing their verses. The meeting welcomed the presentation of four books, including "How to plant a tree, eating its fruits and sleep in her shadow," environmental journalist and communicator Bigues Jordi. This comprehensive practical handbook with a "revolutionary political will," which pays homage to the tree and is seeking to form and add many new friends and supporters of the trees, was published by F + and connects directly to the proposal initiated Responsarbolidad, works same author and published by MNSs occasion of the First International Meeting of Friends of Trees.

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