Turns out that biological world envisioned in Avatar may not be so far off. This morning as I was waking up, I heard a fascinating interview with Diana Beresford-Kroeger on CBC’s The Current. Beresford-Kroeger, an Ontario scientist, has written a book called The Global Forest, and I can assure you that I’ll be reading a copy soon to see if it’s as intriguing as the tidbits she shared on The Current.
For a lot of years we’ve imagined that we know what makes a biosphere work, and then along comes someone like this looking at new research that blows all our preconceptions away. Forests are far more complex than we imagined, and they provide far more measureable benefits that we’ve known. This is well beyond the stress relief of talking to your plants. The forest is linked intricately to itself, and all the cycles of the planet. It’s enough to make one look for a tail to plug into a branch.
Did you know that that fabulous aroma you enjoy while walking through a pine forest after the rain or breathing in willow bark is actually good for you? Forest walks can help alleviate depression and pain? Chemicals are being released by the trees that react with our body chemistry and work as well as ingesting pharmaceuticals. This is the ancient wisdom that is being sought among indigenous forests even while they’re being mowed down. We don’t need to look to the Amazon for miracle cures from nature. There are plenty of pine forests across Canada just waiting to for you to stroll through and reap the endorphins (and other beneficial chemicals!).
Now I know why even though it always rained while I was at Girl Guide camp, I still was happy the whole time.