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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!

Preserving the environment is always met with backlash concerning the perceived expense to maintain it, but can you put a price tag on how much we lose by failing to do so? Turns out, we can!

Casey Trees and Davey Tree Expert Co. banded together to create the National Tree Benefit Calculator, a handy tool for determining the approximate yearly value of any street-side tree. By calculating the absorbed stormwater runoff, energy conservation, reduction in air pollution and carbon, and even property value increase, this tool provides easy financial justification for maintaining trees on your property.

Green Heroes used this tool to calculate the value of a very special tree! It was received as a cutting at the memorial service for Greenpeace co-founder Robert Hunter in 2006. Recently, we measured it on its rooftop home in Toronto’s downtown waterfront neighbourhood. Based on how it has grown, it provides $109 annually to the rooftop, adding to Robert Hunter’s already valuable environmental legacy.

Green Heroes intern Jay, taking the tree’s measurements!

CineFocus Canada, producers of Green Heroes, had the opportunity to interview Robert Hunter twice, first for their series Lucky Breaks and again for the documentary Greenpeace: Made in Canada on the Discovery Channel, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the organization. Robert’s daughter Emily Hunter has continued her father’s work and is one of our featured Green Heroes.

We’re wondering if anyone else received a cutting at Robert Hunter’s memorial that has now grown into a tree? Tweet us a photo of it @GreenHeroesTV or post it to our Facebook page, and don’t forget to use the calculator above to find out its value and let us know!

Arbor Alma
27May
2011

By John Bessai

In many cities and towns across Canada and around the world, the trees that we see along the boulevards or in parks form a backdrop that we can take for granted. I like to think  of urban tress as part of an invisible forest.  My short film Arbor Alma, made for BravoFact!, pays tribute to the tree you pass by every day. They are kind of invisible unless you take a second look. Then you think about them a little bit differently and appreciate them more.

Click on the image above to watch Arbor Alma now.

Arbor Alma (‘The Giving Tree’) is a four-minute film that explores the possibility that identity can be formed out of a dialogue between people and how they understand their environment, in particular the role of trees. Viewers are encouraged to reflect on their own relationship with trees and challenged to take notice of the “invisible” forest around them – the trees that are everywhere in the city but are often barely noticed.

The film includes a montage of images – photographs and footage of Canadian urban green spaces as well as displaying iconic forests and trees painted by the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson held in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. The natural beauty of our urban trees and forests is highlighted in the movie. The footage, paintings and stills are accompanied by unique musical compositions and contemporary digital photography that are composed as “tree portraiture” and reflect on the importance of trees in our lives.

This film is produced by CineFocus Canada and is available for purchase.

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