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 Neville Gishford


The forests of the world are the most populated of all the land ecosystem on the planet, from under the forest floor, rising to well above its leafy canopy, literally millions of life forms occupy every part of the forest, their lives interwoven with one another like the pattern of a beautifully crafted tapestry. Thousands upon thousands of years of existence have enabled the forests to form and develop relations between the microscopic creatures, insects, birds and animals and themselves which are mutually beneficial and life sustaining to all.

Depending on whether the forests are growing across either the temperate, subtropical or tropical regions of the world, they are very different in the type of trees and cover vegetation and filled with very different creatures that inhabit them.  From conifer forests beginning in the arctic regions, to the giant rain forests of the hot, steamy regions around the equator, the variation is a wonder to behold.

The forests of the world provide many of the raw resources that mankind has come to rely upon and much more importantly, they perform the vital task of absorbing a large proportion of potentially dangerous carbon from our air and water and returning clean pure oxygen into our atmosphere.  This, as you would already know, is one of the most vital reasons for keeping our wonderful forests and helping them to grow and expand in area all around the world where they proliferate.

Although our forests are an absolute necessity to keep the health of our planet in good order and to create an environment which will provide sustenance and sustainability of the creatures that inhabit them, they also perform another very important function for us.  This other remarkable service that the forests of the world provide, is to help re-establish our spiritual connection with our ancient past, where, for the most part, our ancestors lives were totally bound up in the physical and spiritual presence of the great forests.

Long before we began to move to establish societies which relied on people collecting and living together in ever increasing numbers and urban societies became the dominant structure of our population, we lived in a world dominated by forests.  We lived in them, we made our homes from them and we eat our food from them.   It is no wonder that they played such a significant part in our lives.  Because of their importance to us physically, they also became totally bound up with our spiritual concept of ourselves and our world, and although our way of life has changed so dramatically, especially in the modern era in which we now live, for most of us, deep in our subconscious self we are still aware of our more primitive past and the significance and power that the spell of the forest can and often does have over us.

Fortunately, we can experience this connection with our past and this former world and way of life for a short time by taking a walk in a forest.  A comforting sense that we belong there, that we have a right to be able to access the calm, stillness and peace that is created by the towering tree trunks and cooling shady canopy of green foliage above.  The presence of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals only enhance the primeval experience and we are, for that short time taken back to our human roots buried deep in the past.

Our peace of mind and our sense of harmony are enhanced, and we usually, for a short while, have an opportunity to reavaluate whether some of the things we consider so important to us are really worthy of being as high up on our list of important things in our life.  It is true that most of us would find it almost impossible to return to a life in the forest, even if we wanted to, and let us be honest, most of us would not even really want to.  However, we are blessed to still have forests available to most of us, where it is possible to have these wonderful experiences and we should consider it part of our

responsibility as the current custodians of the planet to enlighten and encourage our children, families and others to appreciate the value, visual magnificence and spiritual significance of these great and small forest areas growing across the world which, fortunately for us, are still here and are still accessible to us.

It may well be a very worthwhile act to thank the Creator of the universe every now and again for his blessing of creating the great forests of the world.

Neville Gishford



I have been talking with old grandfather Redgum higher up the mountain and he said that we did not have to worry about what the humans are doing down in the valley, they are only building something called a wood chip mill. 


Over recent years, there have been very few global issues which have confronted people with a more important, and indeed, more controversial decision to make than how green should I be?  Firstly, it would be helpful for everyone to clarify exactly what the meaning of this question really is.  Green is a term which has come into use in the last century or so, as a general description for our level of interest in the natural environment.  So the question really is, how much interest should I take in the state of the natural world?

Strangely, there is no terminology that I am aware of, such as brown or grey for a total lack of concern or respect for the environment.  So, we are virtually committed to consider which position on the green color spectrum we wish to be, or believe we should be.  There are so many names for the different positions people hold on this issue, some of them being just a greenie, right wing greens, left wing greens, political party greens, radical greens and moderate greens.  It just goes on and on.  Some people have political agendas and some have social and spiritual agendas, all shades of green possible.

There are some people who believe that the environment should be totally subjugated and totally subordinate to mankind.  Others believe the environment should be left totally alone and we, as humans, should be satisfied to live within the conditions and environment it dictates.  I believe that the majority of people are both, caring, responsible and intelligent enough to consider that the shade of green we should choose is definitely not the extreme shade at each end of the spectrum, but that we should choose a shade somewhere in the middle, the correct choice is definitely not all or nothing.  Everybody has a different level of responsibility and level of contribution which is normally governed by the individual opportunities and resources we have at our disposal .Apart from the absurd option of total destruction of the environment, there is probably room for almost everyone else to follow their own individual path.  I would also suggest that we all need to be as considerate and as tolerant of the ideas and opinions of others as we can and try very hard to keep open a peaceful dialogue with those people who appear to have a very different view and a different agenda to you.  Always remember, you will gain a far better knowledge and understanding of those who may oppose your ideas if you listen carefully to what they have to say and what it is they believe.  This may assist in some helpful compromises you may not have been able to achieve.

Circumstances can dictate solutions which are not always the perfect results we would like to achieve.  However, people must come first.  We must not only survive, we must also prosper.  This is the natural process of life so it may continue no matter which form of life it is.  So, this leaves all of us in a position to choose the shade of green involvement we wish.  Please do not distress yourself over the amount of good you can achieve, be it small or large.  We are not expected, as individuals, to contribute more than a small effort each.  Remember, the mighty structure of the Great Wall of China was built by simply adding one stone or mud block to another.  If our effort is made with love, concern and genuine intentions to preserve and return a healthy balance to the world in which we live, we will contribute a benefit well worth our effort.

So, as a final comment you may wish to do the following things.

:Assess your ability to contribute.

:Assess the level of commitment which is right for you.

:Take the level of action you, yourself, are comfortable with.

:Take the level of action which will fit comfortably with your work and family.

After considering the ideas above or similar ideas of your own that you arrive at, you will have answered your own question and will have found which shade of green you should be.

Neville Gishford.