Ramblin’ Man: Friends of the Trees

Michael Pilarski and Friends of the Trees

rambling man columnMichael Pilarski is taking action to save the worlds forests.Inspired by Richard St. Brubaker, who promoted tree planting internationally; Pilarski helped found Friends of the Trees Society (FOTS) in 1978.

FOTS mission is to double the worlds forests, inspire, enable, educate, and assist people to live in harmony with forests and trees, and publish positive visions of a sustainable world with strategies to get there.

Rather than just sound the alarm about threats to the environment, FOTS emphasizes immediate action..

“We are a part of the pro-active wing, we have solutions,” Pilarski said.

FOTS operates at local, regional, national, and international levels. They have distributed over 170,000 seedlings, thousands of seed packets, and sponsored events which have brought information to thousands of people. Currently they have over 10,000 people on their mailing list. FOTS and Pilarski have played a huge part in forming the Bellingham Permaculture Club which combines practices of urban and rural sustainability and meets on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.

The overall system of agriculture and living which has a minimum negative effect on the planet. FOTS has also created The Travelers Repair Network (TERN) which links travelers with individuals and organizations in other countries around the world who are involved in sustainability.

Is Pilarski satisfied with FOTS progress so far?

“Heavens no, the world is heading hell bent for disaster, but the good news is – more people are aware we’re heading there.”
Pilarski offers some everyday steps people can follow to help save the planet: plant trees , look for ways to reduce consumption of the earth’s resources, and support the restoration of nature.

” At Friends of the Trees, we believe in multiple functions for single elements, in other words, one person can do more than one thing at a time.”

“Friends of the Trees is not a radical group,” Pilarski said , “We’re not into extreme action, we’re into promoting non-violence and less consumption.”

In addition to founding FOTS , Pilarski has edited Restoration Forestry: an International Guide to Sustainable Forestry Practices and compiled The Third World Resource Guide with Michael G. Smith. Currently FOTS is sponsoring workshops on gathering local herbs and edible wild plants without damaging the environment on the eastern and western slopes of the North Cascades as well as the Puget Sound lowlands.

On August 16 and 17, FOTS, The Herbalist (Seattle) and Wonderland Tea and Spices (Bellingham) sponsored The Northwest Herbal Fair at the River Farm near Bellingham. This event’s focus was showing people how to use local herbs in their lives. For more information on Friends of the Trees, Permaculture, or current events in sustainability contact Friends of the Trees Society at (360)738-4972.