In the words of Richard St Barbe Baker at an address in Perth in the nineteen eighties:
“It has now become vital to plant forest trees for our lives. Of the Earth’s thirty billion acres, already nine billion acres are desert. I look at it this way. If a man looses one third of this skin, he dies. If a tree looses one third of its bark, it, too, will die. The botanists and the dendrologists will agree. And I submit that if the Earth loses one third of its green mantle of trees, it will die --- and it will not need an atomic holocaust to bring about the end of man on our planet. In ancient wisdom we are taught that the Earth is a sentinent being and feels the behaviour of mankind upon it. And I humbly submit that as we have no scientific proof to the contrary, we accept this point of view and behave accordingly. Man is himself, an endangered species”
“.... And if every farmer of Australia today realised it they could double their crops if they put 22% of their land back to trees. They’d take away 22% and they would grow twice the crops on what is left”.
“Every time a jet plane becomes airborne, at Orly airport for instance, it means that all the oxygen from all the leaves on all the trees in the forest of Fontainbleau for 24 hrs is taken up. That is a very considerable sized forest. Each person needs the oxygen from 16 acres of forest. Very few countries are self supporting as regards oxygen. I think it is very serious, so serious indeed because we have never been in this position before. The more jet planes we have the more oxygen is taken up and the less there is for human beings. We have got to plant forest trees for our lives”.
Quotes taken from Oldfied, B. Fyfe, C.(1989) Richard St Barbe Baker 1889-1982. A Keepsake Book for All Ages and Generations. Men of The Trees.