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Life Saves the Planet

A Forest Journey: The Role of Trees in the Fate of Civilization

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Date and time
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
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In 1989 Harvard University Press published the book _A Forest Journey, a history of human civilizations from the Sumerians to the present _revealing that without vast supplies of wood from forests, the great civilizations of Sumer, Assyria, Egypt, Crete, Greece, Rome, the Islamic World, Western Europe, and North America would never have emerged. Never. The book was recognized as a Harvard Classic in Science and World History and listed as one of the university’s One Hundred Great Books. Its author, John Perlin, continued his research and field work over the next 25 years and when asked by Patagonia to update the book in light of the escalating climate crisis, he was well prepared to do so. Biodiversity for a Livable Climate and GBH Forum Network are honored to present John Perlin and his book _A Forest Journey: The Role of Trees in the Fate of Civilization_. The 2023 edition of the book concludes with two new chapters on the importance of mature and old-growth forests for our survival. The ability of trees to remove co2 from the atmosphere and sequester it safely in soils and roots is now well known. But the role of trees in keeping the Earth temperate by emitting water into the atmosphere, reducing heat and supplying rain to distant areas cannot be underestimated in a world where drought and warming increase exponentially. John Perlin reminds us, “_Humanity needs trees more than ever before. But this time intact._” ### Resources [Link to John Perlin's book](https://aforestjourney.com/) [Review of the book in LA Times](https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2023-02-10/forgotten-classic-a-forest-journey-by-john-perlin-reissued-by-patagonia) [Chapter Summaries](https://www.patagonia.com/on/demandware.static/-/Library-Sites-PatagoniaShared/default/dw297d2869/slots/RMA/PATA_AForestJourney-Summary-010923.pdf)

Paul Hughes has served as Forests Forever’s executive director for 30 years and as executive director of Forests Forever Foundation since its founding in 1998. Hughes holds a B.A. in Journalism from Indiana University and has worked as a reporter, editorial writer, and environmental freelance writer, as well as editor of communications for an array of environmental groups. An environmental activist since 1974, he worked for Sierra Club in the Midwest and directed several other NGOs in the years prior to his arrival at Forests Forever, which is now based in Berkeley.

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