What Can Forests Teach Us About Community?

January 5, 2021

What Can Forests Teach Us About Community?

May 29, 2023

Many of you may have seen this recent New York Times magazine feature on the social life of forests. “Resources tend to flow from the oldest and biggest trees to the youngest and smallest. Chemical alarm signals generated by one tree prepare nearby trees for danger. Seedlings severed from the forest’s underground lifelines are much more likely to die than their networked counterparts.

And if a tree is on the brink of death, it sometimes bequeaths a substantial share of its carbon to its neighbors.”


Okay, I may be an unabashed tree hugger (but nothing close to my MEA co-founders Christine and Jeff), but I think we could all learn a few things from trees: cooperation through root systems, adapting and regenerating, the dormancy of winter, and standing tall and proud. Trees can’t control the weather (and they may lose a branch or two), but they can control their response to weather systems just like we do with the external circumstances in our life like this pandemic.

Our wrinkles often are a marker for our age, but trees have rings. These growth rings indicate the age of the tree, plus they leave clues to help us understand the climate conditions the tree lived through. Trees are nature’s environmental log books.

Our human wisdom is our personal log book and the volume accelerates during troubled times. Just remember you have a root system. You are not a sole tree in the forest. You are connected to other souls.

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