The importance of Canada’s Boreal Forest transcends geographical, cultural and physical boundaries: it has global significance. The Boreal Forest plays a critical role in mitigating global climate change and holds some of the highest quantities of terrestrial carbon in the world - an estimated 208 billion tonnes! That is why when it comes to protecting Canada’s forests we cannot be silent. Therefore, when a company like Resolute Forest Products (the largest logging company in Canada) puts the health of the Boreal Forest at risk with its destructive logging practices, Greenpeace calls for people to come together and help defend the forest (even if it means facing a $7 million lawsuit).
The #StandForForests pledge is a commitment to stand up and help protect this critical habitat and your right to know what’s happening in Canada’s forests. By signing the pledge, your name will be added to the Guardian Tree as a symbol of our shared resolve to protect Canada’s Boreal Forest from Resolute’s reckless clear-cutting.
Belo is the interdisciplinary artist who has accepted the challenge of bringing the Guardian Tree to life. His vision embodies the strength and unity we share in our stand to preserve our forests. His works have been shown in Montreal, New York, Las Vegas and Spain.
But what does art have to do with forests? Art, just like the forest, breaks through geographical boundaries and overcomes language barriers. Its benefits can be felt even without touch.
As we get closer to the big reveal, here are some words from Belo explaining the concept behind the Guardian Tree and how art is a great tool for raising awareness on environmental issues.
What's the inspiration behind your concept for the Guardian Tree?
The inspiration for the Guardian Tree came to me from the actual act of cutting down a tree. When you chop down a tree, you do so at its base to cause its fall. This chopping is done repeatedly until eventually a forest is brought to the ground. This repetitious act is reflected in the Guardian Tree through the multiple layers of wood piled one on top of the other to create the shape of a coniferous tree; a tree found in the Boreal Forest.
How is the Guardian Tree made?
The Guardian Tree will be made from repurposed wood and painted white to signify the purity of nature but also to reference the French term for clear-cutting which is a “coupe à blanc.” Clear-cutting is a logging practice whereby all trees are cut down from a designated area, leaving nothing but empty space. In its final resting point, The Guardian Tree will be installed outside where it will be subject to all the air pollution and other dirt paralleling a tree’s natural filtering process.
Finally, all the names of those who signed the #StandForForests pledge will be written onto the layers of the the Guardian Tree creating a symbolic barrier to protect it against unsustainable logging. The real guardians are all the people who are taking a stand to protect Canada’s Boreal Forest.
In your opinion, what is the power of art in raising awareness on environmental and social issues?
Art can be a meaningful tool for spreading awareness because it raises questions, evokes emotion and emphasizes the urgency to act on pressing environmental and social issues. At the same time, the artist has the opportunity to propose solutions and share his/her vision for the future through the creation.
Personally, I aspire to be an agent for change and wish to use my talents for causes that I hold close to my heart: access to water with ONE DROP, the promotion of public transportation with "In Town, Without My Car!" of the AMT and now the protection of the Boreal Forest with Greenpeace.
Sign the #StandForForests pledge now and add your name to the Guardian Tree. Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to the reveal.
If you wish to learn more about Belo visit www.belostudio.com.