In March, 2018, a German forester by the name of Peter Wohleben conducted an interview with Richard Grant, from the Smithsonian Magazine.
What he had to say was a little out of the ordinary.
Wohleben is the author of the book, The Hidden Life of Trees, in which he writes about an idea he has: talking trees. Yes, trees that communicate with each other, in a way not identical but similar to humans. Using complex systems of underground roots, fungi networks, and electrical signals, they can convey rudimentary ideas to each other.
Care. Competition. Information about where the soil is bad, where old stumps are still hanging on, or which trees are hogging all the good sunlight.
While they aren’t exactly sending text messages, they can use their underground system to convey basic ideas or even complex ideas like good or bad intentions. The idea is that trees could be communicating everything from uneven root growth to breaks in ethics and other “thoughts”.
And it’s created enough of a stir that it’s been looked into in more than a few circles for its validity. Obviously, this is a controversial idea. It’s hard to imagine trees communicating, holding grudges, feeling feelings and holding memories in the same way as it would be hard to imagine rocks singing or a glass of water telling a good joke.
But what if they could talk?
What would they say? And would we even want to know?
Join us, today, as we take a closer look…
Gary: I am … so bored.
Nick: Oh man, not this again.
Gary: I mean it. I’m going crazy. I’m covered in cobwebs and squirrel poop, there’s a stone under my root system that’s been bothering me for 83 years, and I am more bored than any tree ever! Why is there never anything to do in this forest? They should put, like, a Jamba Juice in or something.
Nick: A Jamba Juice?
Gary: That’s right. A Jamba Juice.
Nick: Where would they put a Jamba Juice, Gary? First, I don’t even know what a Jamba Juice is because I have zero frame of reference. Secondly, where, for the sake of argument, would they install a Jamba Juice in the middle of this South American rainforest?
Gary: Over there in that cave.
Nick: The cave filled with bears?
Gary: Fine. In the clearing over there, then.
Nick: You mean Spooky Ghost clearing?
Gary: I just wanna juice, man!
Nick: You’ve got no mouth, and a root system that’s miles long, Gary. What could you possibly want with a paper cup full of papaya juice?
Gary: I thought you didn’t know anything about Jamba.
Nick: I Googled it. It sounds dumb.
Gary: You sound dumb.
Daniel: You both sound like saplings.
Gary: Oh! The high-and-mighty lord Daniel honors us with his presence!
Nick: To what do we owe this surprise, Danny Boy?
Daniel: I’m literally rooted to the spot, Nick. I’ve been here for 150 years. We all have.
Gary: Quick! Daniel, play 20 questions with me!
Daniel: No, Gary. You always play the same word. And it’s always “soil”.
Gary: I promise it won’t be soil.
Daniel: It’s going to be soil.
Gary: It’s not going to be soil.
Nick: Just play 20 questions with this idiot, please. He’s been going on about it for months.
Daniel: Alright, fine. Is it brown?
Daniel: Is it cold?
Daniel: Is it soil?
Daniel: EVERY TIME, GARY!
Gary: Well, there’s a lot of it around!
Nick: I think a squirrel just pooped in me.
Daniel: If I could, I’d poop in both of you talking trees.
Consequently to Wohleben’s article, the way we see trees may be forever changed.
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