What do Tibetan Monks, Christmas trees and David Bowie have in common?
This Christmas Gone West launched a campaign to offset the annual holiday plunder by offering christmas trees as gifts. It was a success - the kind of success that cleans over 200,000 kilograms of carbon from our atmosphere.
But that's a pretty large amount of trees to be planted, and we needed to find a home for them. By some combination of luck and christmas magic a certain place appeared on our horizon - Samye Ling Monastery.
If you’ve never heard of Samye Ling, it is the oldest Buddhist Monastery in the West. It was a day off from our contracting work and yet we found ourselves driving across Scotland to plant more trees. But when we were greeted by the site of the temple roof, peaking over the green hills of southern Scotland it didn't feel any longer like work, it was an adventure.
Seeing these majestic, colorful buildings feels almost like a mirage, until the rain came on strong and forced us inside for shelter. We scattered, taking refuge in the tea house or the library where once David Bowie or Leonard Cohen had sat, sipping on a tea.
The waves of rain came sweeping through the valley, and did not let up, so we geared up and took to the field. It was actually a camp-ground where the monks had chosen for us to plant. So perhaps one day we can even return to sleep under these trees. But today they are still quite small, and we are guarding them with tubes and stakes, while the rain lashes at our faces and threatens to destroy the camera.
In the end, we've managed to plant a thick grove of trees, and perhaps there will be even more to come. Thank you Samye Ling for your eternal hospitality. We look forward to seeing these trees grow old and fulfil their mission to create oxygen and a chance for a better future.
And thank you to all those who decided to give this gift to the planet.