The Great 60th Birthday Tree Plant 

A Force for Repairing the ‘Metabolic Rift with Nature.

Since university, I have held the opinion that the nature/human dichotomy is the fundamental crux of the climate and ecological crisis and our failure to address this false separation will only escalate such crises further. This understanding emanated from my discovery of Edward Wilson’s work on Biophilia, who suggested that humans share an innate tendency to affiliate with nature and other forms of life. Our long and paralleled coevolution with(in) nature forged a symbiotic relationship where we became codependent to satisfy our physiological and psychological needs. 

An entomologist by trade, Wilson’s arrival at the Biophilia hypothesis stemmed from observing the interconnectedness of all life and the paradox of human’s apparent disconnect. For centuries now, our relationship with the rest of nature has been compromised through human interventions like industrialisation, capitalism and urbanisation to name a few. An unintended consequence of this was what Marx described as a ‘metabolic rift’ between nature and society that resulted in the loss of dialogue between humans and other forms of life. In order to overcome this rift, we must re-weave ourselves into harmony with the natural kingdom and what better way to do this than getting one’s hands dirty in the soil?

During the 60th birthday celebrations, I had the pleasure of planting my first ever trees guided by the stewardship of the Findhorn Hinterland Trust. Alan Watson gave my group a quick demonstration and within minutes we were planting Rowans, Silver Birches and Field Maples across Wilkies Wood. Living in London, I seldom get the opportunity to connect with the Earth and the soil beneath our feet. Cherishing every moment, the trees I helped to plant brought me great joy and a sense of connection with the land that I hadn’t felt since my last visit to Findhorn, where I spent time volunteering at Cullerne Gardens.

I always find that working with the soil can facilitate new ways of relating to, defining and being in nature, overcoming the nature/human binary I’m constantly exposed to within my bubble of urban living. Tree planting is a true force for repairing our rift with nature, as it allows us to reconcile our inherent metabolic relationship with the natural world. We were even joined by a friendly Robin who appeared to approve of our work.

Planting trees isn’t just great for our mental health, but a key pillar of climate action as nature’s way of storing carbon. We often get bogged down with the news about exponential emissions entering the atmosphere and not enough about how to draw carbon back down again.  This can alienate us from action, as large-scale emission reductions tend to operate in governmental arenas like energy and infrastructure. On the contrary, the drawdown movement can mobilise the masses by engaging people in activities such as regenerative agriculture and the tree planting I took part in at Findhorn. This way we can all feel empowered to pull carbon from the sky and participate in climate action at the local level. As we were all informed at school, the carbon cycle is a natural process, but we’ve disrupted it so much to the extent that we now need to remove more than we emit. 

Planting the tree is just the first step. It will take decades of observation, care and nourishment for the trees we collectively planted to grow to their full potential. I now hand over the duty of care to the Hinterland Trust and look forward to returning over the coming decades to monitor their growth.

I would like to thank my uncle Jonathan Caddy, Kajedo Wanderer, Alan Watson Featherstone and all those involved who gave myself and others the opportunity to connect with the land at Findhorn in such a meaningful way. 

Travis Caddy

New FHT Member

and Nephew of FHT Chair

Travis works in London for a company called Evident which is a world leader in certifying renewable energy and clean assets. He had just returned from COP27 before joining the Findhorn Communities 60th Birthday celebration.  He was one of three ‘virgin’ tree planters in the group of 25+ participants who attended the ceremonial event,  who had not had the opportunity to plant a tree before.  He was greatly moved by this simple act.  


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Findhorn Hinterland Trust, Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) SC045806
228 Pineridge, Findhorn, Forres, Moray IV36 3TB