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Letter

January 10, 2001

If you planted a tree for Christmas, you already know life is

circular, and your compassion sees into the future. Thank you and bless

you, and the Earth will bless you too.

The dead end, of course, is that during this celebration, the life of

a beautiful 7- to 15-year-old tree, at the flush of its exuberant youth,

is sacrificed. A cross is usually nailed to its trunk. By the millions

this is repeated. And then to see piles of cut and dead trees stacked now

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for disposal, never sold, their lives utterly wasted, cut from our

atmospheric carbon drawdown. They lay in a vacant lot, embarrassing us

with their untimely deaths.

How hopeful we could all feel if we knew such trees were added to the

biosphere each and every year. Instead, we are faced with an

environmental catastrophe that we seem helpless to end or transform.

We need a paradigm upgrade with a reality check built in. This is the

only planet we've got and we need to learn to live in harmony with the

other life forms that inhabit this precious Mother Earth. This custom of

aborting the lives of millions upon millions of trees must somehow make

the leap of consciousness or conscience to one of planting a tree for

Christ. Please don't kill one for Him.

For those who have learned artificial trees are an easy, economical,

ethical, aesthetic solution, and have refused to cast their vote with the

dead tree custom, I say thank you, but plant a tree anyway, and the Earth

will thank you.

For those who say we do it for the children, what do we teach them in

this act? To you I say, when the tree is taken down, count the rings on

the end of the trunk with your child and explain that each ring is one

year, four seasons. Ten to 15 years of life and a grand future have been

sacrificed for this brief enjoyment of holiday decoration. Thank the tree

for giving its life for your chance to acquire the sacred mood. Children

can understand the truth, and will be grateful you've been honest. Then

with that child, plant a tree anyway. It's a bonding experience that the

child in both of you will never forget. It's still not too late to plant

a tree for Christmas.

Help this custom transform into a new paradigm that sees us living in

forest glade. For in this world, people living in the absence of trees

are living in distress. People living in the presence of trees are

literally inspired by the breath of life.

Each of us can add to or subtract from our urban forest and global

biosphere. Transforming this custom should be easy. Transforming this

custom will bring us joy and hope of an unfolding future.

GARY KNOWLTON

LA CRESCENTA

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