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Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Richard St Barbe Baker
« on: 29/04/2005 11:07:30 »


MEMORIAL TO RICHARD St.BARBE BAKER
corner of Chapel Road and High Street, West End

unveiled by Cllr. Martin Kyrle on Friday 28th March 2003
http://www.westendlhs.hampshire.org.uk/barbe/index.html
Richard St Barbe Baker (1889-1982) History of the founder of
Men Of The Trees
"In the stillness of the mighty woods, man is made aware of the divine"
Richard St Barbe Baker

Richard St. Barbe Baker, O.B.E.
A man of vision who foresaw and strove all his life for a return to a green Earth covered in trees and peopled by nations who lived in harmony.
Silviculturalist. Known as the ‘Man of the Trees’, Baker was posted as a forester to Kenya with the colonial service. In reaction to the destruction of forests he witnessed there in the 1920s, he founded the first ‘Men of the Trees’ association among the Kikuyu forest tribe, winning over the tribesmen by ritualising tree-planting. The movement now has over 20,000 members worldwide and Baker, whose contemporaries thought him eccentric, is seen as an environmentalist ahead of his time.

Baker's book:   My Life My Trees is an amazing read. This guy was responsible for the planting of 26 trillion trees when it was first printed, how many more trees have been planted since then?

http://www.menofthetrees.com.au/history.html
http://www.manofthetrees.org/HTMLS/tribute.html



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« Last Edit: 01/06/2008 09:08:14 by Andrew K Fletcher »


 

Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Richard St Barbe Baker
« Reply #1 on: 01/06/2008 08:53:56 »
Life and work

Early years
He was born in Beacon Hill, Hampshire, England, to John Richard St. Barbe Baker and Charlotte Purrott. He was descended from lines of farmers, parsons, and evangelists – with the occasional adventurer amongst his forebears, as well. As a very young child he was attracted to gardening and, since the family’s Beacon Hill home was surrounded by a wood, he began to explore the forest at a fairly early age. He became very adept at manual work and harbored a lifelong belief in its value.

St. Barbe Baker’s father wanted him to enter the ministry. At 13, he was sent to Dean Close School (a boarding school), in Cheltenham, where he became interested in the sciences of botany and forestry. A clergyman recently returned from Canada appealed to his religious heritage and suggested that the young man prepare himself for missionary work in the western region of that country. He did so in 1910, sailing the Atlantic and heading far inland, where he lived in rough-hewn conditions, devoted to studies that would earn him a diploma from of Emmanuelle College, University of Saskatchewan. Doing evangelical work, traveling widely on horseback, he became convinced that the agricultural practices (including the razing of the natural scrub trees) by European settlers were leading to deplorable soil degradation and potential aridity on Canada’s prairies. Working for a short while as a logger, and managing to save some money, he returned to England to study at Ridley Hall, Cambridge.

When World War I intervened he served in France with Royal Horse and Field Artillery units, being wounded on three occasions. After discharge, he worked in the British Government’s social services for a period.[1]


Work in Africa
He soon resumed studies at Cambridge in forestry. Graduating from the program, he applied for work in British-held Kenya. In North Africa he saw the effects of centuries of land mismanagement, first from wheat farming in the later days of the Roman Empire and after that from the grazing of goats first introduced by Arabs. Immediately concerned with these deforestation problems, in 1922 he set up a tree nursery and founded an organization with Kenya’s Kikuyu people to carry out managed reforestation in the region, utilizing native species. In the regional dialect, the local society was called “Watu wa Miti,” it was a foundation stone for what became an international organization, the Men of the Trees (a translation of the original name).

After leaving Kenya in 1924, he went back to England. After giving a talk at the First Congress of Living Religions within the Commonwealth he was approached by Claudia Stewart Coles who introduced him to the Bahá'í Faith; St. Barbe Baker studied the religion and embraced it shortly after (in 1924).

He then returned to Africa, where he was appointed Assistant Conservator of Forests for the southern provinces of Nigeria from 1925 to 1929, where he went on to do work similar to what he had done in Kenya. He also did forestry planning work in the Gold Coast. During this time, he devoted himself in part to a study of the ecology of extremely complex tropical forests. However, an incident occurred in which he defended an African man against abuse by a British official and, thereby running afoul of the Colonial Office, he was discharged from his duties.[2]


Work in Palestine
He attended the First World Forestry Congress in Rome and then went on to work in Palestine and set up a chapter of the Men of the Trees there. There, meeting and winning the support of Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith who became the first life member of the Men of the Trees in Palestine, he was able to get the backing of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian leaders for a program to reforest Palestine.


Work in America
Travelling to America, where he crossed the country and toured the Redwood groves on the West Coast, St. Barbe Baker became an author and sought-after lecturer, and received laudatory national attention from popular radio host Lowell Thomas. Returning to England via Australia, his thoughts returned to California and he started the Save the Redwoods campaign. Sir Francis Younghusband, first president of the British chapter of the Men of the Trees, championed the cause in the UK. St. Barbe Baker’s connections with the United States remained strong, and in the late 1930s he worked with President Franklin D. Roosevelt to establish the American Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), said eventually to involve some six-million youths.[3]


Establishment of the Men of the Trees
In good part because of St. Barbe Baker’s continued travels, chapters of his organization, the Men of the Trees, were founded internationally. After World War II, a lecture tour into Austria, Germany and other countries launched his concept of an international Green Front to promote the idea of reforestation worldwide. Probably the largest single challenge that he addressed himself to was the concept of gradually reclaiming the Sahara Desert through the strategic planting of trees. This idea took shape after a 25,000-mile expedition around the Desert (through 24 countries) that he made with a team in 1964.[4]

St. Barbe Baker’s organization, the Men of the Trees, eventually grew to be known as the International Tree Foundation. Ultimately, there were chapters in over 100 countries. By some estimates, organizations he founded or assisted have been responsible for planting at least 26 trillion trees, internationally.


Death
St. Barbe Baker died on June 9, 1982 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Just days before his death he planted his last tree on the grounds of the University of Saskatchewan, and he was working on his thirty-first book.


Bahá'í Faith
David Hofman, a Canadian Bahá'í who served on the Universal House of Justice said of St. Barbe Baker's acceptance of the Bahá'í Faith (shortly after 1924)[5]: "He always said that this was the beginning of his true life, and he realized that he derived so much benefit from these [Bahá'í] prayers that it was only fair that he should serve the Bahá'í Faith to the best of his ability." Mr. Hofman has also said that, "... he spread knowledge of the Faith wherever he went and was greatly admired by Shoghi Effendi for his dedication to the cause of humanity."


Bibliography
Richard St. Barbe Baker [1970] (1985). My Life, My Trees, 2nd edition, Forres: Findhorn. ISBN 0-905249-63-1. 

References
^ St. Barbe Baker, Richard (1985). My Life, My Trees. Forres, Scotland: Findhorn Press. ISBN 0-905249-63-1. 
^ St. Barbe Baker, Richard (1985). My Life, My Trees. Forres, Scotland: Findhorn Press. ISBN 0-905249-63-1. 
^ St. Barbe Baker, Richard (1985). My Life, My Trees. Forres, Scotland: Findhorn Press. ISBN 0-905249-63-1. 
^ St. Barbe Baker, Richard (1985). My Life, My Trees. Forres, Scotland: Findhorn Press. ISBN 0-905249-63-1. 
^ In Memoriam, Published in Bahá'í World, Vol. XVIII: 1979-1983, by Hugh C. Locke

Further reading
Hugh C. Locke (1982-06-10). Richard St. Barbe Baker, O.B.E. 1889-1982. bahai-library.org.

« Last Edit: 01/06/2008 09:41:17 by Andrew K Fletcher »
 

Offline rosalind dna

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Richard St Barbe Baker
« Reply #2 on: 01/06/2008 12:19:58 »
Thanks Andrew and for our TNS members, who don't live in London or the UK, Chapel Road and High Road is in the S.E. London. not as you put the West End. These roads are about 7 miles away from there.
nice market too
 

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Richard St Barbe Baker
« Reply #2 on: 01/06/2008 12:19:58 »

 

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