TEDxJacksonHole – David Milarch – Ancient Trees For The Future

TEDxJacksonHole – David Milarch – Ancient Trees For The Future


Translator: Tanya Cushman
Reviewer: Peter van de Ven I’m David Milarch, and I’m a co-founder
of Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, and what I’m about to present to you is only important to those of you that need to drink clean water
and breathe fresh air. Really, the rest
don’t need to pay attention. We find ourselves, all of us together, at the beginning of this millennium facing enormous environmental challenges, don’t we? Environmental challenges that some scientists say threaten
our very existence here on earth in 50 to 100 years. I have two sons
and I have two grandchildren, and 20 years ago,
when I started to hear this, I decided to do something
to maybe avert that. So, twenty years ago
we put together a team; we began crisscrossing the country looking for the largest,
oldest living things on earth. And then we went to other countries looking for the largest,
oldest living things on earth. Things that were already 1,000 years old
when Jesus walked the earth. Things that are older
than the great pyramids, older than Stonehenge. And of course what I’m talking about
are the ancient trees of planet Earth. And why did we do that? And why do we continue to do that? Because I hope I can share with you how these ancient beings can help save our children and save our earth. Here in the United States, 98% of our old-growth forests
have been cut down, destroyed. 98%. Globally, 78% of our old-growth forests have been cut down. By the way, that’s an old-growth,
3,000-year-old redwood forest. That’s been there over 11,000 years, and 95% of the coast redwoods
have been cut down and destroyed. It so seems that as human beings
we have geographic amnesia, which means none of us were alive
or around a few hundred years ago to see what our ecosystems
and our forests should look like. We know what they do look like, but we have that geographic amnesia
to know what they did look like. And what we’ve done is forest by forest, country by country, we’ve gone in, and we’ve picked the mother trees – the biggest, straightest,
healthiest, best trees, the mother trees that produce
the seeds to keep our forest going – we’ve cut them down,
and we’ve left the junk. Cut the best; leave the rest. And we didn’t do that just one time. We’ve done that four or five times, going in and taking the best,
leaving the rest, leaving the junk of the junk
of the junk of the junk. Here in the United States, we’ve done that to 98%
of our old-growth forests. Well, now we have this dilemma
on our hands called climate change. The planet’s warming. And it’s warming quickly. People need to know that trees
breathe in and feed on carbon dioxide, the culprit for climate change. They exhale life-giving oxygen, that most all things on earth need. So we’ve deforested the planet, robbed the planet’s ability
to start to sequester the excess carbon dioxide
in our atmosphere. We at Archangel Ancient Tree Archive
have decided to make a run at that. That’s job one – one of our main goals – is to try and go after and reverse
the negative effects of climate change. That’s in the Amazon. That’s what a pristine watershed,
forest and ecosystem looks like. When you return home, in your neighborhood, in your community,
and in your state as you drive around, and you see the fragmented forests
wherever you come from, know this: that’s not what a forest
is supposed to look like. Those forests have been
cut over several times, four or five times. And that’s the junk of the junk
of the junk of the junk that we’re going after and asking
those trees to help us combat some of the most intimidating
environmental problems that we have. The immune systems are weak; the genetics are not strong, and that’s what we’ve left behind to help combat some of these
environmental challenges. That’s what an intact
watershed looks like. I ask you, what does your watershed
look like where you live? Okay. So, what are the effects
of this mass deforestation of this land? Well, number one, we’ve destroyed the earth’s ability
to cleanse our water. The filter system for earth
that cleans our water, cleans the air that we breathe, cleans the soil that we grow our foods in, is the canopy,
in large part, of our forest. And as we’ve destroyed
these forests, section by section, we’ve destroyed the world’s
natural filter system to keep things not toxic, healthy, and of good value to all living things. We’ve urbanized the planet
at such an incredible rate, and where did we urbanize our planet? Usually by rivers, lakes,
streams or the ocean, where our watersheds
are the most predominant and prevalent. Alright, what else have we lost? There’s new science that shows
that in this intact ecosystem there are many,
many beneficial aerosols where out of the leaves of these trees aerosols are released
from the leaves of the trees – and also in the roots of these trees – into the soil and the water, that are natural disinfectants, natural antibiotics, and, in the case of the black walnut tree, there’s strong evidence to show
that the aerosol of the black walnut, which we’ve cut virtually
every one down for furniture, shows great promise for cervical,
ovarian and breast cancer for women. Just breathing in the aerosols
of the black walnut, or the aerosols of the black walnut
releasing into our watersheds looks very promising for one of the most worst
scourged diseases on earth. Okay, what else did we do
when we deforested this planet in the name of 2 by 4s? Well, phytoremediation. What is phytoremediation? Phytoremediation means phyto-,
means you pick it up, remediate, you store it. In the trunk and in the roots of trees, there are many, many species of trees, including the willows – any number of trees – that phytoremediate heavy metals, dioxins, even lead and toxins out of our water and our soil. So when we clear-cut the planet,
that’s what we lost. We all need to restore
the ecosystems of our planet by reforesting this planet. Now why does this matter? Why does this matter to you?
Why does this matter to your family? Well, because it affects all of us,
everywhere on this planet. There’s no place left to hide anymore. Now let’s talk money. Let’s talk big money. Let’s talk your money. What’s the value of a tree? Is the value of a tree a stack of 2 by 4s? Well, here’s a pie chart that shows that one tree, over a 50-year life span, gives the services of $162,000. It provides services for you,
your family, your community, of $162,000 for a 50-year span. What if we were to plant
ten of these in your yard? How about an acre? You do the math. And I ask you, who can afford
not to plant trees? Alright, now I’d like
everyone in this room, to please – you can close
your eyes if you need to – I’d like to ask for you
to picture in your mind’s eye the most beautiful aquarium
that you’ve ever seen. You can close your eyes, if you need to. And picture the most beautiful aquarium
that you’ve ever stood in front of. Have you got it? Can you see the sparkling, clean water? Can you see the beauty
of the color of the fish? Does you aquarium have healthy plants? Alright, unbeknownst to you, somebody has come to your aquarium
and unplugged the filter. You don’t know this, but you’re busy. You go on along about your life, and you’re gone for a week. A week after, you see your beautiful aquarium,
and it’s been unplugged. I want you to return, and in your mind’s eye
see what that same aquarium looks like. What does the water look like? What does it smell like? How are your beautiful fish doing? Some are dead; some are gasping for air. What about those beautiful plants? Are they green and healthy? Well, my friends, when we deforested this planet, that’s exactly what
we’ve done to ourselves. And guess who’s the fish? We’re all the fish. The trees are the filter,
and we’re the fish. We need to rebuild and reestablish
our filter systems of this planet. About a month ago, I was asked to speak
in San Francisco to NASA at a TEDx, and as soon as I arrived at the hotel, three or four of their
climate scientists grabbed me, had a conversation at one of the tables, and about an hour later [I had learned]
that there was a consensus at NASA – the people that keep track
of the weather, the oceans and things – that we have about 50 years. Human beings have about 50 years
at the rate that we’re going. That’s a real possibility. That shook me to the core. Okay. What are we doing about it? We’re building an ark. Archangel Ancient Tree Archive
is building an ark. No, not a wooden one; we’re building an ark with the genetics
of the greatest trees on earth. We’re travelling the globe, finding the largest, oldest trees, cloning those trees, and putting those genetics
in the genetic ark so science can study them. And we all can utilize
the clones of those trees – the biggest, strongest, oldest
trees that are proven survivors – to begin this job
of reforesting this planet and re-establishing our watersheds. This is one of our facilities
in Michigan, with the babies. This is 30,000 black willows. Black willows clean the water
better than any tree. We have trees in California – we’re working with the coast redwoods
and the giant sequoias. But we need your help. Two of the best trees on the planet, the fastest growing
that stack carbon dioxide – the culprit in climate change – is coast redwood and giant sequoia. In 30 years, a coast redwood –
from a small baby – can be 100 feet tall
and 30 inches in diameter. They stack carbon like crazy. That’s one of the coast
redwoods that we cloned – that’s up in Northern California. One of the projects
that we started a year ago – we were told that it was impossible; you can’t do it; it’s never been done; the oldest one that’s ever been cloned
on earth is only 80 years old, but we set out against all odds, a tree called the Waterfall Tree. It’s the 5th largest tree on earth. It grows in Northern California
on the top of Sierra Nevada Range in what we call the Lost Grove. No one’s ever been
up there to find these trees. That tree is a giant sequoia
in the Lost Grove – that’s my son Jake, one of our climbers, taking tissues off the fifth
largest tree on earth. That tree is 3,000 years old. It grew there for 1,000 years
when Jesus came to earth. All the experts we talked to
said it couldn’t be done; we’d never stand a chance. But we did it anyway –
and several others from the Lost Grove. And I’d like to bring something
that the world has not seen – anyone, the media has not covered it – and I have a couple of friends here
that would like to show you the world’s two first living clones
of 3,000-year-old trees. Those babies – could we have a little house lights? – are the world’s first giant sequoia
3,000-year-old clones. That is the solution. (Applause) Pretty cool. Those trees are 3,000 years old. and they stack carbon faster
than any tree on earth. We need your help, but we have a saying at
Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, and we really say this to each other, “We’re all working for our grandchildren,” really. And my friends, we hope you will do the same for yours. I thank you. (Applause)

10 thoughts on “TEDxJacksonHole – David Milarch – Ancient Trees For The Future

  • Probally started as a young hippie and grew into his shoes…all levels of awareness are useful and the norm. Lets not attack even the begginners..How Say.

  • Excellent presentation on THE MOST important subject. This should be shown to every Govt official, every Banker, every local authority employee especially decision makers. In Ellesmere, Shropshire, England, where I live, we have just had yet another veteran Oak vandalised for housing development by a very precious water source and this by the land owner, a County Councillor who is on the Central Planning Committee which makes yes/no decisions on planning.

  • I, too, was employed to sound the alarm about our self-demise in the loss of the biosphere on earth… This is so exciting to find David Milarch – I didn't know he existed until finding the PRX interview with the author of a book about him.

  • Never forget this giant ancient oak that was killed by a land owner in Alabama years ago. People from all over the world came and tried to save it. It looks like the one in the presentation. We used to hang out under its branches. People are unreal.

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