Transcript: A Scientist's Sacred Wisdom About Trees | Sep 28, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a black suit, white shirt, and purple tie.

A caption on screen reads "A scientist's sacred wisdom about trees. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says SCIENCE AND SACRED KNOWLEDGE OFTEN WALK ON DIFFERENT SIDES OF THE STREET, SO TO SPEAK. BUT WHERE TREES ARE CONCERNED, DIANA BERESFORD-KROEGER FORGES A PATH BUILT ON THEIR COMBINED WISDOM. SHE IS A BOTANIST, MEDICAL BIOCHEMIST AND AUTHOR MOST RECENTLY OF, "TO SPEAK FOR THE TREES: MY LIFE'S JOURNEY FROM ANCIENT CELTIC WISDOM TO A HEALING VISION OF THE FOREST," AND SHE JOINS US NOW FROM MERRICKVILLE IN EASTERN ONTARIO TO EXPLAIN.

Diana is in her seventies, with long gray hair. She's wearing a green jacket and a printed scarf.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a picture of a verdant forest.

Steve continues DIANA, IT'S SO GOOD TO SORT OF MEET YOU, VIRTUALLY AS IT IS THESE DAYS, BUT THANK YOU FOR COMING ON TVO TONIGHT. HOW ARE YOU MANAGING DURING THE PANDEMIC?

Diana says IT'S HORRENDOUS FOR EVERYBODY ACROSS THE WORLD. THIS IS THE FIRST IN PANDEMICS. EXPECT MORE.

Steve says EXPECT MORE. OUCH. THERE IS SOMETHING IRONIC ABOUT YOUR COMING FROM IRELAND WHICH I GATHER IS ONE OF THE LEAST FORESTED NATIONS IN THE WORLD, AND YET TREES HAVE BECOME SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR LIFE. DO YOU WANT TO EXPLAIN THAT FOR US?

The caption changes to "Diana Beresford-Kroeger. Author, 'To speak for the trees.'"
Then, it changes again to "A bridge between two worlds."

Diana says YES. WELL, I'M THE LAST CHILD OF THE KINGS OF MUNSTER OF THE SOUTH OF IRELAND, AND I WAS ORPHANED WHEN I WAS VERY YOUNG, AND ALL OF THE ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE OF THE CELTIC WORLD WAS GIVEN TO ME AS PART OF MY INHERITANCE. AND I WAS GIVEN A SACRED TRUST AT THE TIME WHEN I WAS 13 TO CARRY THIS KNOWLEDGE INTO THE NEW WORLD THAT IS NORTH AMERICA BECAUSE AT THE TIME IT WOULD BE NEEDED. THAT SOUNDS VERY STRANGE, BUT IT'S TRUE.

Steve says YOU SAY YOU WERE ORPHANED VERY YOUNG. I WANT PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND, WHEN YOU SAY VERY YOUNG, YOU MEAN VERY YOUNG. HOW OLD WERE YOU?

Diana says OH, I WAS 11 YEARS OLD AND MY WHOLE FAMILY WAS WIPED OUT.

Steve says I KNOW YOU TALK ABOUT IT IN THE BOOK. I HATE FOR YOU TO GO INTO TOO MUCH DETAIL BECAUSE I KNOW IT'S GOT TO BE PAINFUL...

Diana says NO, HE'S NOT. NO, NO, IT'S NOT PAINFUL AT ALL. EVERYBODY WAS WIPED OUT. AND WHAT HAPPENED WAS IN IRELAND, IF YOU'RE AN ORPHAN, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT I COME FROM ARISTOCRACY, AN ORPHAN IS PUT IN AN ORPHANAGE AND THAT'S EQUIVALENT TO THE SAME KIND OF SCHOOLING THAT THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE HAD HERE IN NORTH AMERICA. IT WAS A PUNISHMENT SYSTEM RUN BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. AND I, BEING THE GRANDCHILD OF LORDS CHARLES BERESFORD OF THE BRITISH FLEET, AND VARIOUS OTHER PEOPLE RELATED TO THE ROYAL FAMILY, VERY CLOSELY, ACTUALLY, IN ENGLAND, SO THE JUDGE WAS TERRIFIED THAT HE'D LOSE THINKS JOB IF HE PUT ME IN THE ORPHANAGE. SO HE GAVE ME A CHOICE. HE PULLED ME INTO HIS CHAMBERS, AND I WAS JUST REALLY SCARED OF THIS MAN. HE HAD A BIG BROWN... HE HAD A WIG ON HIS HEAD AND HE HAD THESE, YOU KNOW, THE USUAL THINGS THAT JUDGES WEAR, AND HE SAID, "DIANA, IT'S YOUR CHOICE," WHICH WAS VERY UNUSUAL AT THE TIME. SO I WAS GIVEN INTO THE CARE OF A BACHELOR UNCLE WHO HAD NEVER MARRIED, HE WAS A FAMOUS HURLER, HE HURLED WITH THE PRESIDENT OF IRELAND AT THE TIME, AND HE WAS A VERY FAMOUS MAN AND I WAS PUT IN THE CHARGE OF A BACHELOR AT THE EDGE OF 12, 13, UNDER THE COURT SYSTEM, WHICH IS VERY STRANGE.

[LAUGHTER]

Steve says STRANGE INDEED. AND WE HAVE TO SAY, HIS PARENTING TECHNIQUES MIGHT NOT STAND UP TO MUCH SCRUTINY TODAY. BUT CLEARLY, IT DEVELOPED IN YOU A SENSE OF RESILIENCY... I MEAN, LOOK AT YOU TODAY. YOU HAVE A MARVELLOUS DISPOSITION. BUT I WANT TO GET TO THE CORE OF THIS ANCIENT CELTIC PHILOSOPHY THAT OBVIOUSLY HAS BEEN SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR LIFE. WHAT IS AT THE CORE OF IT?

Diana says WELL, NOW, I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING ELSE, STEVE. IN THE SUMMERTIME, I WAS SENT DOWN TO THE COUNTRYSIDE, AND THE COUNTRYSIDE... THE WHOLE AREA, THE SOUTH OF IRELAND, WHICH MY FAMILY WAS, THE KINSHIP OF MUNSTER, I WAS SENT DOWN AS A CHILD, THE PEOPLE THERE DECIDED, ABOUT 22 PEOPLE, THEY DECIDED THAT I WOULD BE GIVEN THE ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE. THE LAWS OF THE CELTIC WORLD ARE BASED ON THE BREHON LAWS AND ACTUALLY THEY'RE BEING POLISHED OFF RIGHT NOW. AND THOSE LAWS COVERED MOST OF EUROPE, AND I WAS TAUGHT SOME OF THESE LAWS. I WAS TAUGHT ALL KINDS OF THINGS IN GAELIC (SPEAKING GAELIC) I'M SAYING TO YOU RIGHT NOW, I'M SPEAKING IN IRISH. SO I WAS TAUGHT IN OLD IRISH ALL OF THE OLD THINGS, AND THE LAWS, THE BREHON LAWS AND THE LAWS OF THE TREES.

Steve says LET ME FOLLOW UP ON THAT, THE LAWS OF THE TREES. I MEAN, IT'S... YOU WILL TELL ME THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT, BUT I KNOW JUST SORT OF EMOTIONALLY, SPIRITUALLY, WE FEEL GREAT WHEN WE'RE OUTDOORS SURROUNDED BY TREES. WE DON'T KNOW THE SCIENCE BEHIND IT NECESSARILY, BUT YOU'RE GOING TO TELL US. WHY IS THAT?

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Diana says THERE ARE COMPOUNDS CALLED ALPHA AND BETA pinene THAT ARE LIBERATED FROM THE FORESTS AND ALL OTHER KINDS OF COMPOUNDS THAT I KNOW SCIENTIFICALLY, BUT THE ALPHA AND BETA pinene ARE ENORMOUSLY IMPORTANT. AND WHAT THE pinene DOES IS YOU BREATHE IN SO MUCH pinene, IT AFFECTS ALL OF YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM AND IT AFFECTS YOUR BRAIN AND IT AFFECTS THE T-CELLS OF THE BODY. IT'S BEEN FOUND BY THE NIPPON SCHOOL IN JAPAN AND ONE STOP AND VARIOUS PEOPLE ACROSS THE WORLD. AND SOME PHYSICISTS IN GERMANY.

Steve says I SHOULD HAVE BEEN CAREFUL IN MY LANGUAGE. I SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID WE DON'T UNDERSTAND, I SHOULD HAVE SAID I DON'T UNDERSTAND, AND YOU DID. YOU HAVE MANAGED TO LIVE A LIFE WHERE THE SO-CALLED SACRED AND SCIENTIFIC INTERSECT. AND I WONDER IF, AGAIN, HOW DO YOU MAKE THAT HAPPEN? HOW HAS THAT INFORMED HOW YOU'VE LIVED YOUR LIFE?

Diana says WELL, THAT'S A VERY LONG QUESTION FOR ME. IT HAS INFORMED ME BECAUSE I THINK WE CANNOT LET GO OF THE SACRED IN LIFE. I CANNOT EVEN LOOK AT YOU WITHOUT RECOGNIZING YOUR DNA. MY DNA RECOGNIZES YOURS. AND THE ACTUAL PATTERN LANGUAGE OF DNA IS SO EXTRAORDINARY, IT'S ABSOLUTELY EXTRAORDINARY, THAT YOU CANNOT JUST LOOK AT THIS AND SAY, THERE IS NOT A DIVINE INTERVENTION BEHIND ALL OF THIS. IT'S JUST LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE IF YOU'RE A SCIENTIST, YOU UNDERSTAND PHYSICS, YOU UNDERSTAND CHEMISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY, YOU UNDERSTAND THE MOTILITY OF THE BODY. ALL THE LIFE AROUND US. AND IN FACT THE ABORIGINAL PEOPLE WERE CORRECT: IT IS A TAPESTRY OF LIFE. THE TREES SUPPLY LIFE INTO THE ATMOSPHERE THAT YOU AND I ARE BREATHING RIGHT NOW. HOW CAN YOU DENY THAT THE UNITY OF LIFE IS NOT AN EXTRAORDINARY THING? SO THERE ARE MANY MODALITIES THAT I COULD TALK ABOUT BY WAY OF MATHEMATICS AND SO ON AND SO FORTH. BUT I THINK, YOU KNOW, I WOULD BORE THE BLAZES OUT OF THE LISTENER. SO JUST TAKE IT AT THAT.

Steve says WE WILL TAKE YOUR WORD FOR IT. YOU KNOW, WE'RE IN SUCH A CHEERY MOOD RIGHT NOW AND I HATE TO BRING THE MOOD DOWN, BUT THE REALITY IS, IF YOU LOOK OUT ON THE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES RIGHT NOW, THE TREES ARE HAVING JUST ONE AWFUL TIME. THE PICTURE... WE'RE GOING TO SHOW YOU A SERIES OF PICTURES NOW.

Diana says YES, YES.

Pictures flash by. The first shows a rampaging forest fire. The second, the Golden Gate Bridge enveloped by smoke and an orange sky. The third shows a forest enveloped in smoke.

Steve says I MEAN, IT LOOKS ALMOST APOCALYPTIC. THIS IS MADEIRA COUNTY IN CALIFORNIA FROM A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO. LET'S FLIP, SHELDON, TO THE NEXT ONE. THAT'S THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, EVERYBODY KNOWS. IT'S ORANGE FROM THE GLOW OF THE FIRES. THEN LET'S GO TO A COUNTY IN OREGON. THERE'S ALMOST NO VISIBILITY AT ALL. DIANA, I'M A BIG BASEBALL GAME AND I WAS WATCHING A GAME OUT OF SEATTLE THE OTHER NIGHT AND THERE WAS THIS AWFUL HAZE AFFECTING THE WHOLE STADIUM. YOU HAD TROUBLE SEEING THE ACTION ON THE FIELD FROM ALL OF THIS. IS MOTHER NATURE TRYING TO TELL US SOMETHING RIGHT NOW WITH THE WILDFIRES ON THE LEFT COAST?

The caption changes to "Forests on fire."

Diana says THE LAST TIME I WAS THERE, I WAS LECTURING DOWN THERE AND ALSO DOING THE FILM CALLED "THE CALL OF THE FOREST," THAT'S GONE ALL OVER THE WORLD. NOW, LET ME ADDRESS THIS SITUATION IN CALIFORNIA. WHEN I WAS DOWN THERE, I DID LECTURE ABOUT THE PLANTING OF EUCALYPTUS FORESTS WITHIN THE GREAT FORESTS OF THE WEST COAST. THEY DIDN'T WANT TO PUT IN THE IF YOU LOOK AT EUCALYPTUS, EUCALYPTUS OIL WHICH IS BORNE IN ALL THE EUCALYPTUS SERIES IN THAT FAMILY, THE OIL OF EUCALYPTUS, IF YOU PUT IT INTO A CLOSED CUP, WHICH IS A SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT, ITS FLASHPOINT IS AT 48 degrees CENTIGRADE. THE TEMPERATURE OF AUSTRALIA... THE TEMPERATURE OF CALIFORNIA REACHED AT THAT POINT AND WENT BEYOND IT. IT IS A FIREBALL. THOSE TREES BECOME FIREBALLS. AND THE FIRE SHEETS THAT ARE SPREAD ACROSS CALIFORNIA ARE PARTIALLY OR IN MANY PART BECAUSE OF THOSE EUCALYPTUS TREES. THEY SHOULD NEVER, EVER HAVE BEEN PLANTED IN CALIFORNIA. AND I WARNED THEM AND I WARNED THE GOVERNOR ABOUT THAT MAYBE FIVE AND SIX YEARS AGO.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says AND YET... WHAT? BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN HUBRIS AND STUPIDITY, THEY DISREGARDED YOUR ADVICE AND DID WHAT THEY WANTED?

Diana says OH, THE WHOLE SCENE ABOUT THE VALUE OF THOSE TREES DOWN THERE IS A WHOLE POLITICAL SCENE AND A MONEY SCENE. BUT I AM SAYING TO THE PEOPLE OF CALIFORNIA: STOP PLANTING EUCALYPTUS SPECIES. KEEP THEM IN AUSTRALIA WHERE THEY ARE NEEDED IN AUSTRALIA, BUT TAKE THEM OUT OF CALIFORNIA.

Steve says HOW MUCH OF A RISK... I MEAN, THOSE PICTURES HAVE SCARED A HECK OF A LOT OF PEOPLE, OBVIOUSLY.

Diana says YES.

Steve says AND WE'RE WONDERING HOW MUCH OF A RISK WE HAVE HERE IN ONTARIO OF EXPERIENCING THAT.

Diana says WE RUN A VERY, VERY LITTLE RISK OF THAT HAPPENING HERE. BUT WE'VE BEEN DOING SOME VERY STUPID THINGS HERE IN ONTARIO. WE'VE TAKEN OUT ALL THE HEDGEROWS, THE FIELDS HAVE BECOME OCEANIC. THE FIELDS ARE COMING DOWN IN ONTARIO AND NOBODY IS KEEP AN EYE ON IT. NOBODY IS KEEP AN EYE ON THE FOREST IN ALL OF CANADA, REALLY, AS A MATTER OF FACT. WE ARE 1 percent VIRGIN FOREST OUT ON THE WEST COAST, AND THAT TOO LOOKS AS THOUGH IT'S... PEOPLE ARE REALLY FIGHTING IT PROTECT IT. SO WE'RE IN NO GREAT SHAKES HERE IN CANADA, AND I WANT TO STOP THAT IF I POSSIBLY CAN. NOW, LET ME ADDRESS FOR HERE, WHERE YOU'RE LIVING, STEVE, AND FOR WHERE I'M LIVING HERE. THERE IS VERY LITTLE CHANCE OF THAT KIND OF FOREST FIRE HAPPENING BECAUSE THE SHEETS OF FLASHING FIRE, THE FIREBALLS, IT'S ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE FOR THAT TO HAPPEN HERE.

Steve says FOR ARGUMENT'S SAKE HERE, LET ME PUSH BACK A BIT. BECAUSE I'M IMAGINING THERE ARE PEOPLE WITH THE MINISTRIES OF NATURAL RESOURCES, FOR EXAMPLE, OR WITH TIMBER COMPANIES THAT SAY, YOU KNOW, WE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FORESTS OF THIS PROVINCE AND FOR THIS COUNTRY, AND WE DO THE REGULARLY CONTROLLED BURNS AND WE TRY TO MAKE SURE WE MANAGE THINGS IN SUCH A WAY SO THAT KIND OF THING CAN'T HAPPEN. ARE THEY NOT DOING THEIR JOBS?

The caption changes to "Humanity's biggest challenge."

Diana says I THINK THE REGULATIONS FOR CANADA NEED TO BE VERY CLOSELY INSPECTED AND REALLY CHANGED. WE ARE LOOKING AT CLIMATE CHANGE, AND CANADA IS DOING VERY LITTLE ABOUT THIS. SO THE WHOLE PROCESS OF FORESTS AND THE FACT THAT THE FORESTS ARE COMING DOWN IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU REALIZE. BECAUSE THE FOREST IS THE ONLY MODALITY OF TAKING THE CARBON DIOXIDE OUT OF THE ATMOSPHERE. WE HAVE OVER 400 PARTS PER MILLION OF CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE ATMOSPHERE. IT IS CAUSING CLIMATE CHANGE. IN CANADA, WE HAVE A VAST WILDERNESS OF FORESTS. WE HAVE THE BOREAL FOREST TO THE NORTH, THAT VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT, AND THAT FOREST MUST BE MAINTAINED AND MUST BE PROTECTED. WE NEED IN CANADA, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, TO PLANT MORE FOREST BECAUSE WE'VE TAKEN DOWN SO MUCH AND WE'VE TAKEN THEM DOWN SO CHEAPLY. AND I WOULD SAY TO THE FORESTERS AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE WORKING IN THIS INDUSTRY, THE WORD "SUSTAINABLE." I WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT MAINTAINING THE FORESTS AS THEY STAND IN CANADA AND ADDING TO THEM, AND THIS IS A MESSAGE I HAVE FOR ALL OVER THE GLOBE, THE WHOLE GLOBE, WE NEED TO DO THIS. IT IS THE CHEAPEST WAY OF STOPPING CLIMATE CHANGE. LET'S GO BACK TO THE FIRE SYSTEMS, STEVE, HERE IN CANADA. IF WE HAPPEN TO HAVE FREEZING RAIN, IF WE HAPPEN TO HAVE VERY BAD FREEZING RAIN THIS COMING WINTER, NOW, THEY DID HAVE IT A COUPLE OF WINTERS AGO OUT ON THE WEST COAST. SO THERE'S A LOT... WHAT HAPPENS IS THE FREEZING RAIN SHEARS THE BRANCHES OFF TREES AND IT SHEARS THE BRANCHES WITHIN THE FOREST. THIS HAS HAPPENED OUT IN B.C. IT HAS HAPPENED ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO HERE AROUND THIS AREA. THERE IS NO WAY THAT WE HAVE THE MONEY TO BE ABLE TO CLEAR THE WHOLE FOREST OF THE TREES COMING DOWN AND OF THE BRANCHES COMING DOWN. THERE'S NO WAY. WE JUST CAN'T DO THAT. SO IT'S A FIRE HAZARD. AND THAT'S THE ONE FIRE HAZARD WE HAVE.

Steve says WELL, LET ME PICK UP ON WHAT YOU JUST SAID. BECAUSE YOU HAVE TALKED ABOUT THE NEED FOR A GLOBAL BIO-PLAN.

Diana says THAT'S RIGHT.

Steve says WHAT'S THAT A REFERENCE TO?

Diana says WELL, THE GLOBAL BIO PLAN IS THE CHEAPEST, EASIEST WAY TO STOP CLIMATE CHANGE. AND IT CAN BE DONE BY EVERYBODY ON THE PLANET AND IT IS SO SIMPLE AND IT IS FUN TO DO. BUT LET ME EXPLAIN THIS TO YOU AND TO ALL OF THE LISTENERS ABOUT SOMETHING. I'M A SCIENTIST. THE MOST IMPORTANT EQUATION ON THE PLANET RIGHT NOW IS THE PHOTOSYNTHETIC REACTION. AND WHAT THAT IS, YOU TAKE CARBON OUT OF THE ATMOSPHERE. YOU PUT IT INTO SUNLIGHT. THE CARBON BREAKS INTO TWO. YOU GET OXYGEN IN THE ATMOSPHERE. THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE BREATHING RIGHT NOW. AND CARBON GOES INTO THE TREES. THE TREES AND THE FORESTS OF THE PLANET ARE THE GREEN MACHINES THAT MANAGE TO OXYGENATE OUR ATMOSPHERE. YOU TAKE DOWN THE FORESTS, AND YOU TAKE DOWN THE ABILITY OF THE GREEN MACHINES TO UTILIZE THE CARBON. IT'S THAT SIMPLE. WE'VE TAKEN DOWN TOO MUCH FOREST. WE'VE TAKEN DOWN SO MUCH FOREST.

Steve says WHAT DOES THAT MEAN... I MEAN, I'M WORKING RIGHT HERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BIGGEST CITY IN THE COUNTRY. WHAT DOES A GLOBAL BIO PLAN RIGHT HERE IN THIS, YOU KNOW, WHAT MANY PEOPLE WOULD CALL TOO MUCH OF A CONCRETE JUNGLE... ALTHOUGH THERE'S A LOT OF GREEN IN TORONTO... BUT WHAT DOES THAT KIND OF PLAN LOOK LIKE HERE?

Diana says THE PLAN THAT I'M INVOLVED AND I'M INVOLVED WITH SOME OF THOSE PLANS IS PUT A FOREST BACK INTO THE CITY.

Steve says WHERE AND HOW?

Diana says OH, THAT'S TOO COMPLEX A QUESTION RIGHT NOW, BUT IT IS HAPPENING. YOU'VE GOT LOTS OF SPACE... YOU DON'T HAVE THAT MANY GREEN SPACES IN TORONTO. BUT THE GREEN SPACES THAT ARE THERE NEED TO HAVE A FOREST IN THEM, AND THE FOREST IN THEM WILL ACTUALLY PROTECT THE PEOPLE AND THE PEOPLE'S HEALTH. RIGHT NOW YOU'VE GOT A PANDEMIC IN TORONTO, AND I'M ASKING YOU: WHERE IS THERE A PLANTATION OF WHITE PINE SO THAT THE PEOPLE OF TORONTO CAN GO IN AND MAKE THEIR IMMUNE SYSTEMS MORE EFFECTIVE? THEY'RE NOT THERE. THEY DON'T EXIST.

Steve says YOU KNOW, THERE IS A VIEW OUT THERE THAT SAYS WE'RE TOO FAR DOWN THE ROAD AND NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THIS OR FEEL THAT THEY CAN DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. WE'RE ALL DOOMED. WHAT'S THE POINT OF TRYING? WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THOSE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THAT?

Diana says I IS A I TO THEM: THAT'S ROT. BECAUSE THE MOST EXCITING THING IN THE FUTURE IS THE GREEN ECONOMY. THE MOST EXCITING THING IN THE FUTURE IS ACTUALLY A NEW FORM OF ENERGY, AND THE NEW FORM OF ENERGY IS PHOTON ENERGY FROM THE SUN. AND THAT SHOWS A THING CALLED ENTANGLEMENT THAT EINSTEIN THOUGHT WAS THE WEIRDEST THING EVER IN THE WORLD AND HE CALLED IT THE WEIRD EFFECT OF PHOTONS. SO WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE QUANTUM COMPUTERS AND WE HAVE THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE FREE ENERGY FROM THE SUN BY WAY OF THE ENTANGLEMENT OF THE PHOTONIC ENERGY AND THEY'RE WORKING ON IT DOWN IN THE STATES, THEY'RE WORKING ON IT AT DIFFERENT UNIVERSITIES.

Steve says OKAY. I WANT TO NOW PIVOT TO THE TEACHINGS FROM THE CELTIC ALPHABET THAT YOU HAVE INTRODUCED, INTRODUCED US TO, RATHER, THE CELTIC ALPHABET OF TREES, WHICH IS FASCINATING. I WANT TO READ A LITTLE QUOTE FROM YOUR BOOK HERE TO SET UP THIS QUESTION.

A quote appears on screen, under the title "The alphabet of trees." The quote reads "This is the first alphabet of Europe, in which every letter is named for a tree or an important companion plant of a tree. This alphabet gave birth to the literacy of Ireland; words like 'car,' and 'hospital' that are still common today come to us from that ancient language. The philosophy behind the language carries a way of thinking about the rebirth of the forest, namely, to consider how intimate the connection is between forests and humans."
Quoted from Diana Beresford-Kroeger, "To speak for the trees." 2019.

Steve says NOW, I WONDER IF YOU COULD TAKE US THROUGH A COUPLE OF LETTERS HERE AND JUST SORT OF SHOW US HOW THIS WORKS. LET'S START WITH THE LETTER "D."

The caption changes to "Teachings from the Celtic alphabet."

Diana says THE FIRST GREAT ALPHABET IN THE WORLD OF COURSE IS SANSKRIT, AND IN SANSKRIT DAR, IF YOU CAN HEAR THE ENUNCIATION, IS OAK. IN THE CELTIC LANGUAGE... NOW, LET ME REFRAIN. IT'S NOT THE IRISH WORLD, IT'S THE CELTIC WORLD. LET ME REFRAME THE CELTS FOR YOU. THE CELTS WERE IN IRELAND, ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, IN GERMANY, ALL OF THE BALTIC COUNTRIES, THEY WENT DOWN INTO TURKEY, THE GREAT PART OF TURKEY WAS CELTIC, AND THEY WENT ACROSS TO THE UKRAINE, THE CELTS WERE IN UKRAINE, AND THEY WENT INTO THE CENTRAL PART OF CHINA. THIS WAS A HUGE, HUGE CIVILIZATION. SO GOING BACK TO THE WORD UNDAR, THE DAR, THE OAK, WAS THEIR MOST SACRED TREE. AND THE DRUID WERE NOT STRAIGHT WEIRDOS, THEY WERE THE ILLUNA. THEY HAD THE GREAT MATERIA MEDICA OF THE WORLD STILL STANDING TODAY. BUT BECAUSE IRELAND WAS THE VICTIM OF ALL KINDS OF THINGS IN THE 500 YEARS WAR IN IRELAND, ALL THE IRISH ARE REALLY THOUGHT TO BE KIND OF INFERIOR IN THINKING. BUT WE ARE FAIRLY... MORE THAN THAT. THEY WANT THE MEDICINES FROM THESE TREES TO BE PROTECTED. THAT'S WHY THEY INITIATED THE ALPHABET. AND THAT IS WHY THE ALPHABET IS STILL BEING USED TODAY.

Steve says WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TREE OF THE ALPHABET, IF I CAN PUT IT THAT WAY?

Diana says AH, IT HAS TO BE FROM... BECAUSE I'VE DONE SO MUCH WORK IN IT BLOOD WORK AND IN SURGERY, AND IT'S THE DAR, UNDAR, BECAUSE IT HAS MISTLETOE COMING INTO THE DAR AND THAT'S USED IN THE SURGICAL WARDS TODAY.

Steve says CAN YOU SPELL THAT WORD FOR US?

Diana says WHICH ONE?

Steve says DAR.

Diana says D-A-R.

Steve says D-A-R.

Diana says DAR.

Steve says ALL RIGHT. IT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE PART OF THE CELTIC ALPHABET BUT YOU WRITE THAT HICKORY TREES HOLD A FIRST CLASS STATUS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE. DO YOU WANT TO EXPLAIN THAT FOR US?

Diana says HICKORY TREES... LISTEN TO ME, STEVE. I'M VERY EXCITED ABOUT MY HICKORY TREES. BECAUSE I HAVE MANAGED TO GET (LATIN) THESE ARE THE KING NUTS, THEY'RE ALMOST GONE FROM THIS COUNTRY, AND I MANAGED TO GET FIVE NUTS OF THE (LATIN) ACTUALLY, IT WAS ONLY ABOUT NINE MONTHS AGO DOWN AROUND WINDSOR, I DID A TALK AND A FILM DOWN AROUND WINDSOR. BUT THESE TREES ARE ALMOST GONE, AND THEY HAVE A DOUBLE EMBRYO IN THEM AND THEY ARE PRODUCING TWINS. IT'S JUST UNBELIEVABLE BOTANICALLY. I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

Steve says DIANA, LET'S FINISH ON THIS. HOW IS IT YOU HAVE MANAGED TO MAINTAIN YOUR ENTHUSIASM AND ZEST FOR ALL OF THIS IN THE FACE OF SO MUCH CYNICISM AND SKEPTICISM AND FRANKLY MISERY AROUND THE WORLD?

Diana says WELL, IT'S BECAUSE I WAS GIVEN A SACRED TRUST AS A CHILD. I WAS TOLD WHEN I WAS 13, 14 YEARS OLD, THAT I WOULD BE THE LAST VOICE OF THE ANCIENT WORLD OF IRELAND, THE ANCIENT CELTIC WORLD. I WAS INSTRUCTED AND TOLD TO BECOME AS EDUCATED AS I POSSIBLY COULD BE, AND GOD KNOWS, I MEAN, JUST LAST YEAR I WAS GIVEN AN AWARD THE SAME AS KOFI ANNAN, THE SAME KIND OF AWARD. AND SO I'VE STRIVED TO DO THIS. BUT THEY TOLD ME I WOULD BE THE LAST VOICE, THE LAST CHILD OF THE ANCIENT CELTIC WORLD AND TO TAKE THIS KNOWLEDGE AND TO GIVE THIS KNOWLEDGE AND THIS WISDOM TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD TODAY. AND I'M BUSILY DOING IT.

Steve laughs and says YOU SURE ARE!

Diana laughs merrily.

The caption changes to "Producer: Patricia Kozicka, @TrishKozicka."

Steve says I HAVE TO SAY, I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED YOUR BOOK. LET ME HOLD IT SO THAT... THERE WE GO, RIGHT THERE. THAT'S THE ONE. IT HAS A BEAUTIFUL COVER: TO SPEAK FOR THE TREES: MY LIFE'S JOURNEY FROM ANCIENT CELTIC WISDOM TO A HEALING VISION OF THE FOREST WHAT DOES ONE SAY, DIANA BERESFORD-KROEGER, BUT KEEP ON KEEPING ON. AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON TVO TONIGHT.

Diana says IT IS MY PLEASURE, STEVE. MY PLEASURE.

Watch: A Scientist's Sacred Wisdom About Trees