The tree hugging hippie is alive and well in Berkeley, California.
Earlier this month, UC Berkeley announced that they would be moving forward with a tree clearing program that plans to clear a grove of eucalyptus trees from the University’s campus.
On July 18, 50 protesters responded to the tree clearing announcement by arriving at the grove, stripping down to their birthday suits, and posing naked with the eucalyptus trees.
Standing by was their leader, Jack Gescheidt, who photographed the protesters’ intimate encounters with the trees.
The photographs are set to be apart of a series called “The Spirit Project”, a photography project that aims to show environmental awareness for eucalyptus trees through the juxtaposition of naked bodies and trees.
According to Campus Reform, Gescheidt felt that trees were being treated like ‘monsters’ rather than the longest living organisms on earth. He adds, “We need to tell more people and get them involved and put a stop to this nonsense.”
The protesters also made clear that the glyphosate, the chemical used to treat the trees, is in fact toxic and poses a threat to the safety of the community.
The initiative to remove the eucalyptus trees was put in motion by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, (FEMA) as a response to the rampant wildfires previously caused by eucalyptus groves in the past.
Eucalyptus trees are also considered an invasive species. Eucalyptus trees use a great deal of water to grow, and their rapid growth poses a threat to biological diversity in the Bay Area.
Despite all of these very real concerns, Gescheidt and his protesters feel that the claims made against eucalyptus trees are completely untrue. He feels that the trees are not, in fact, an invasive species, and that “all living trees and forests are fire resistant”.
Considering the rampant wildfires rampaging across Washington States only states over, Gescheidt’s statement is a bold one.
FEMA plans to set the tree clearing initiative in motion in late August.
Will the protesters’ naked bodies be enough to keep the trees out of harm’s way? Only time will tell.