Tree Conference rallies support to halt deforestation

Event highlights we can halt the destruction of the last of the Earth’s ancient growth forests

Event highlights we can halt the destruction of the last of the Earth’s ancient growth forests

Taking place at the Merlin Theatre in Frome on Sunday 21 October (10am-5pm), The Tree Conference 2018 will promote the message that it is possible to halt deforestation and indeed increase forest cover worldwide.

The event will share practical solutions for preserving and renewing our trees and forests, strengthen support for people working with trees and highlight practical strategies for citizen-led tree planting. The day’s programme aims to illustrate that large-scale reforestation and re-greening of deserts is possible, and that we can halt the destruction of the last of the Earth’s ancient growth forests.

Suzi Martineau, who founded The Tree Conference says:

“The aim of the conference is to promote citizen-led reforestation and to highlight the crucial role trees play in mitigating climate change. Across Britain and around the world, our ancient growth forests are being denuded by industrial extractive projects whether for timber, fossil fuels or the rare and precious minerals we use for modern technology. Furthermore, EU trade deals for beef threaten the hydrological cycle of the Amazon. With party conferences thrashing out age-old divisions at Westminster, we’re calling for pre or post Brexit legislation to safeguard a positive reciprocal relationship between British citizens and nature to protect the precious land we live on, and which sustains us.”

One of the key issues being considered at the conference is the work of UK environmental lawyer Polly Higgins and her campaign to get ecocide added to the list of international crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. The proposed law, which was tested in the UK Supreme Court in 2011, declares the destruction of ecosystems an international crime, alongside genocide and crimes against humanity, and would hold the perpetrators (CEOs and government ministers) personally accountable. This would include making the deforestation of ancient growth forests a crime.

Speakers at The Tree Conference include Isabella Tree, bestselling author of Wilding_; scientist Dr Martin Bidartondo; Peter Macfayden, author of Flatpack Democracy_; Ayana Young, host of the For the Wild podcast; and Miriam Cisnoros, world expert on the Rights of Nature. The Conference will also be attended by forestry experts from the Royal Forestry Society, conservationists from the Woodland Trust, food sovereignty representatives from the Gaia Foundation, global reforestation activists from TreeSisters, forest-defender filmmakers from If Not Us Then Who?, leaders from local tree planting projects and millenial podcasters.

Andy Egan, CEO of International Tree Foundation, who will be talking at the event, says: “We’re excited to partner with The Tree Conference and the dynamic team behind it. The inaugural conference in 2017 was a truly inspiring event bringing together a diverse group of people who love trees and appreciate their importance for the wellbeing of all life on Earth. The 2018 event will be a great opportunity to learn new things about trees, to be inspired by the efforts of tree defenders, and to create new collaborative initiatives to increase awareness and restore tree cover.”

The Goblin Forest of New Zealand.