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Reverence for Nature
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GreenFriends Australia - Living Consciously Project

3. Develop Reverence for Plants


“Shouldn’t we express our gratitude to Mother Earth, who patiently provides her lap for us to run, jump and play upon? Shouldn’t we be grateful to the birds who sing for us, the flowers that blossom for us, the trees that provide us with shade and the rivers that flow for us? ”   Amma


As a Global community we need to stop the destruction and preserve what is left of our Old Growth Forests, they have evolved complex ecosystems over thousands of years and cannot be replaced. Old growth forests around the world are still being destroyed at a rapid rate. These forests provide us with the air we need to live.

As individuals we can make choices that help protect existing forests. We can support sustainable forestry and eco-friendly agricultural practices. When constructing new buildings we can use ecologically sound and recycled building materials. Both Urban and Rural landscapes can be regenerated by: - planting indigenous trees, removing introduced weeds and protecting remnant bush land. By being involved in these activities and educating others we can help unify communities with a common cause.

We need to raise awareness on the delicate complex structure of the earth’s ecological systems and the importance of these systems in insuring the survival of our own race. Through practical activities we can help others experience the joy and beauty that can be found in nature and help develop greater respect and love for the natural world.

  • It is estimated that the earth hosted between 20 and 100 million species of plants and animals before humans began inhabiting the planet 12,000 years ago. 
  • Rainforests house 60% of the world’s animal and plant species. 
  • Of the original estimated number of species only 50% still remain.

The Amazon rainforest is considered the lungs of the earth as it produces
more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and stores 30% of the world’s fresh water.

Rainforests have evolved over millions of years to become the highly complex, interconnected, delicate eco systems that we see today. In just three acres of rainforest an estimated 2,500 types of trees and plants can be found.  These forests not only sustain thousands of species of plants and animals but have sustained indigenous communities for thousands of years and are an invaluable source of renewable resources, medicinal and edible plants.

Approx. 80% of the developed world’s diet originated from tropical rainforests.  At least 3000 edible fruits are found in rainforests and 25% of prescription drugs are derived from rainforest plants. Rainforests are so rich in life that a single rainforest in Peru is home to more species of birds than are found in the entire United States.  The number of species of fish in the Amazon exceeds the number found in the entire Atlantic Ocean.

More than half the world’s rainforests have already been lost forever.  The majority of this destruction has taken place in just the last fifty years.  With the world population expanding, these demands are becoming even greater.  Scientists estimate that we are losing more than 137 species of plants and animals every day because of rainforest deforestation. That is 50,000 per year! 

More than 200,000 acres of rainforest are burned every day around the world.  The Amazon rainforest is vanishing at a rate of 20,000 square miles a year. If this continues all will be lost within the next fifty years.

Deforestation in Madagascar

Deforestation on this scale:

  • Causes complete collapse of local eco systems and all dependant life forms, having a follow on effect on all surrounding forests and ecological systems.
  • Affects weather patterns all around the earth. 
  • Causes water erosion and pollution and eviction and decline of indigenous tribes including thousands of years of accumulated knowledge of plants and earth lore.
  • Destruction of rainforests release massive amounts of carbon dioxide and pollution into the air further increasing global warming.

Fewer rainforest mean less rain and less oxygen for us to breathe. It is as simple as that!

The majority of the largest rainforests are located in some of the poorest Nations on Earth.  These eco systems are sold off for a pittance, usually to foreign multinational corporations who make billions of dollars on the timber used for furniture, wood products, for paper pulp and to fuel power plants for electricity.  Land is also cleared and destroyed for mining operations and hydroelectric projects. Millions of acres of land is cleared for cattle and subsistence farming and whilst rainforest land looks fertile, once cleared of its self-sustaining ecosystems, the land is usually of poor quality and not suitable for long term farming. 

Forests destroyed for commercial agriculture

Some solutions;

The Bigger Picture
Experts agree that by leaving rainforests intact and harvesting the valuable resources of nuts, fruit, oil producing plants and medicinal plants the rainforest has more economic value than its worth if cut down for timber and cattle.  Promoting the rainforests on economic terms for this use, as a long term natural renewable resource, could stop the destruction of the rainforest.

The latest Statistics show that rainforest land converted to cattle yields the land owner $60 per acre, if timber is harvested the land is worth $400 per acre.  However, if the renewable and sustainable recourse are harvested, the land has the potential to yield $2,400 per acre. 


  • We can support sustainable forestry both, locally and abroad, by refusing to purchase rainforest timbers that are not harvested by such methods. 
  • Do your own research into which products are sourced from rainforests or old growth forests so you can be empowered as a consumer. 
  • Use recycled timber products, use only paper sourced from sustainable forestry.
  • Put pressure on Governments locally and world wide to instigate change and put a halt to the mass destruction of Old Growth Forests and Rainforests around the world.
  • Talk about the issue to raise awareness.
  • Practice Love and Respect for Trees and in fact, for all of Nature.
  • Plant trees!! 

Although we cannot replace old growth forest and the highly complex rainforests that take millions of years to evolve, we can locally start replacing indigenous plants and rebuilding local ecosystems.  If the entire world focused on doing this we will have ample timbers in our own back yards without the need to go pillaging from tropical rainforests. With proper management and care eventually these ecosystems will adapt and evolve and the trees will grow to be hundreds of years old! 

(Images and statistics from;,, National Geographic and from GreenPeace.)

Past Activities & Updates

Eco-Meditation: Monday the 18th of April, Weston Park, Canberra (Canberra GF Newsletter)
Tree Planting: Sunday the 1st of May, for the Canberra Centenary Tree Planting, Lower Cotter Catchment (Canberra GF Newsletter)
Rainforest Camp in the Border Ranges National Park, May 2011: Click here

TREE PLANTING  - Melbourne SAT 21st May. 

In line with Green friends Living Consciously project step 3 - GreenFriends Melbourne organized an educational day on tree planting and bush rejuvenation.  We met at the ashram then drove to meet passionate environmentalist and farmer Daryl Hook at his farm in Pound Creek (near Inveloch) for a tour, talk and morning tea. Daryl has planted out an incredible 45 acres of his 300 acre farm with local indigenous plants.  These once bare paddocks are now thriving bush land with an abundance of wildlife.  With over 20 years involvement with the local Land Care group Daryl has a great depth of knowledge on bush regeneration and green farming methods and inspired us all. Following that we headed up the road to farmer Rogers’s acreage to do some more tree planting and see how the saplings are going from last years tree planting effort! The day also contributed to AYUDH aim of planting 1008 trees in 12mths, with this effort adding to the tally we should well exceed this goal for the year!

Click here for the update and photos >

Tree Planting - Melbourne July 2012 - click here for update and photos >


Contact Us & Local GreenFriends Coordinators

Adelaide Abhiram Molloy
Brisbane Lalana Davidson and Gemma Waddington
Byron Bay Salini Bedford
Melbourne Benita Davis
Newcastle Anna Zerafa
Sunshine Coast Sri Devi Woodhead
Sydney Thankam Rydstrand
Tasmania Greg and Libby Maulder


“Nature is nothing but Gods visible form, which we can see and experience through our senses.  Indeed, by loving and serving Mother Nature, we are worshipping God directly”.  AMMA   Embracing the World

“The earth, plants and animals are all manifestations of God. We should love them as our own self”



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