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We all know that trees are living organisms, but did you know that they talk to each other? Trees build entire eco-communities using massive connected fungal networks. Cutting down an individual tree, not only kills it but damages its entire ecosystem; a truly terrible socio-environmental cost. To learn more about the Hidden Life of Trees, we suggest checking out the book by the same name and listening to The Free Spirits’ new song inspired by the book.

The book’s author, Peter Wohlleben, was so impressed with the song, he immediately tweeted his praise.

The Free Spirits are a two-piece band comprised of Chris Birkett: an award-winning record producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, and Shari Tallon: a songwriter, flute and keyboard musician. Their latest album, “11:11” (available here), includes “The Hidden Life of Trees” and is featured in music magazines including Cashbox Canada and the online blog, Tinnitist.

We’ve included the lyrics they wrote below:

The Hidden Life of Trees, what are they here for?
The Hidden Life of Trees, they talk to each other

Across the forest floor

Roots that touch one another, branches reach for the sky
In between Heaven and Earth, they live and they die

So much to learn from them

Time moves real slow, they take time to grow
Unlike us who fade away, for them a year is just another day

So much to learn from them

The Hidden Life of Trees, what are they here for?
The Hidden Life of Trees, they talk to each other

Across the forest floor

They make the air that we breath, and they talk with the breeze
Communicating with ease, making scent with their leaves


The Hidden Life of Trees, what are they here for
The Hidden Life of Trees, they talk to each other

Across the forest floor, across the forest floor

All of the seeds that have fallen, only one becomes a new tree
Respond to what’s out there, they like to live in communities
Scientists wonder do they have a brain like you and me
Responding to danger, protect each other like families
Across the forest floor, across the forest floor

The Hidden Life of Trees, written and performed by Chris Birkett and Shari Tallon

Be sure to check out both the book and the song to learn more about The Hidden Life of Trees, and tweet us @GreenHeroesTV to let us know what you think!

by Joan Prowse, Producer of GreenHeroes

It was my first thought as I heard the news of Jack’s passing – Jack Layton is a hero. Not only a strong voice for the marginalized, he was also a best friend to Mother Earth.

As a city councilor he co-founded the Toronto Atmospherics Fund in 1991. Internationally recognized for its innovative and effective programs, over the past 20 years TAF has helped the City save $55 million on energy costs and helped citizens to live greener lives in healthier communities.

On a smaller scale, Jack showed us a simple way to reduce our carbon footprint. A cycling city councilor, he didn’t stop this preferred mode of transport once in office as federal NDP leader. Jack and his wife, M.P. Olivia Chow, lead by example. Check out this video of Jack giving a tour of the eco-features of their home.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRQ7SBkfwAg&feature=related[/youtube]

Even as a busy leader of a federal party, I found Jack still took time to listen to community concerns about the environment.  As members of Community Air, John Bessai and I met with Jack in February 2003. Even though an icy wind blew on Parliament Hill that day, he stood outside and heard about our challenge to stop a bridge that facilitated expansion of an airport on Toronto’s Waterfront. Later that year, bridge construction was halted by a newly elected city council, led by mayor David Miller.

In reading the text to Stephen Lewis’ eulogy, I am glad that the rest of the country recognized Jack Layton’s contribution to our country.

For the planet, it is our sincere hope that we all “resolve to honour Jack by bringing the politics of respect for all, respect for the Earth and respect for principle and generosity back to life.”

A moment in time – Jack Layton and Olivia Chow celebrate their dual federal election victory, October 14, 2008. Photo credit: John Bessai

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