Richard St. Barbe Baker, then the assistant conservator of forests in Kenya, founded Men of the Trees in 1922, a worldwide organization still going strong today. His monumental efforts in the course of a long and fruitful lifetime were responsible for the protection of vast tracts of forest around the world including the last 12,000 acres of virgin coastal redwoods in northern California and an ambitious scheme that brought over twenty countries together to re-vegetate the Sahara Desert.

St. Barbe Baker was invited by South Island farmers in the 1950s to advise them on the planting of windbreaks and shelter belts. He loved this country and her people so much that he married a New Zealander and made this his home. He once horse trekked the length of Aotearoa, stopping at schools along the way, inspiring children to plant trees.

We have an election coming soon. You can choose to vote as you always have and watch the continued sale of our assets, assets that all New Zealanders are the rightful owners of. National seems intent on selling these precious assets. Why? Short term thinking. Thinking based only on money. Thinking that doesn’t see the long term implications of these decisions. Chief Seattle once said that we’ll find out one day we can’t eat money. Richard St. Barbe Baker once said that the wealth of a nation is determined by its percentage of forest cover.

In the coming election consider casting your party vote for the Greens and do your bit to help protect our valuable assets and beautiful natural landscape for generations to come rather than for the temporary greed of a few now.


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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See


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