On a recent chilly spring day in Humboldt County, CA, more than 70 clothing-optional volunteers stood butt-naked in an attempt to shed light on old growth redwoods threatened with the ax. Photographer Jack Gescheidt was there to shoot “Land of the Ancients." Gescheidt travels the world shooting beautiful, naked people for “Tree Spirit Project,” a collection of fine art photos featuring “naked vulnerable humans celebrating trees and the natural world.” He calls it a "mission to spread awareness of the critical role trees play in our lives, both globally and personally.”
Which is why hemp is the sane alternative to cutting them down. It takes four acres of trees and many decades to produce the same amount of paper from one single acre of hemp, in a single growing season. Hemp packs more muscle, it’s naturally acid-free, has a longer shelf life, and costs less than half to paper produced from trees. It’s far more sustainable: Hemp paper can be recycled ten times, while wood-based paper fails after a second recycling.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, hemp is actually cannabis sativa, but has no psychoactive properties (less than one percent THC). Humans were wrapping themselves in hemp as early as 8,000 B.C, relying on the crop for everything from ship sails to rope – and calling it medicine as early as 3727 B.C. Once our nation’s number one cash crop, with deep historical roots, the DEA now decides whether farmers can grow — and they say “no.”
Jack Gescheidt says, “The bold citizens here love this forest, know its value to the community, cleaning land and watershed, spiritual renewal and so much more. They volunteered to make this artwork with me to draw attention to the community and larger environmental issues at stake."
Can naked people in trees save the world? Who knows? But the next time you load up your bong, remember these environmental activists who stood naked in the cold Humboldt air in support of the mother plant. Our bond with the plant world is undeniable and the need to re-examine our relationship with the earth is critical. Hemp is waiting in the wings, ready to be planted in America again.
All photographs by Jack Gescheidt @ 2013. For more information and additional photography visit treespiritproject.com.
"Douglas Fir Dance"
"In the Land of the Ancients"
"Tea Tree Tangle"