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70 women marry trees in Bristol to stop them being cut down

·2-min read
Photo credit: Michael Prince - Getty Images
Photo credit: Michael Prince - Getty Images

Plans to cut down 74 mature trees in Bristol, to make space for a new apartment block, have seen local women take matters into their own hands... and hearts.

70 women have 'married' the at-risk trees in a bid to save them. Although not legally binding, the ceremony made a huge environmental statement.

The new development project, near Baltic Wharf Caravan Site on the east of the city, aims to build 166 new apartments, but will have to remove some long-standing carbon-suckers to do so.

"Bristol needs mature trees more than it does luxury private housing," campaigner and bride Suzan Hackett told the BBC. "To get married to a tree is an absolute privilege. It's not just a sentimental gesture, it is highly significant and symbolic.”

Siobhan Kierans, creator of the mass marriage event, said that she hoped the ceremony would show that "trees are our partners for life."

This isn't the first time humans have gone to such lengths to save the trees they love. The motivation behind this event was largely inspired by India’s Chipko movement, where a group of women in the 1970s attached themselves to trees to protect them from being cut down.

Another more recent event in 2018 saw women in San Jacinto Amilpas, Mexico, take part in a group wedding ceremony with endangered trees to protest their illegal destruction.

One of the tree’s brides at the time, Dolores Leycigi, said that "marrying a tree is a way of protesting, to say that we need to stop exterminating Mother Earth every day, every minute, every second."

What’s next for the Bristol development?

The building application is still being examined by Bristol City Council, but locals are not optimistic. Professor John Tarlton of regenerative medicine at Bristol Veterinary School, writer of the trees’ vows at the wedding ceremony, said that "once the planning application has been approved, it is too late."

Global Forest Watch reports that the UK has lost 4,150 hectares of its natural forests in 2020 alone. Much of this deforestation came from the construction of new apartment buildings.

With the ever-degrading state of the climate, trees such as these act as a lifeline for the preservation of our future, and people are prepared to go to great lengths to protect them.

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