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article imageReview: Charlotte Gill's Eating Dirt tells the tale of the tree planter Special

By KJ Mullins     Feb 21, 2012 in Environment
A forest takes a thousand years to grow and flourish. Have we humans changed the course of the forest so much that the soil no longer has the power to keep mighty trees alive?
In Charlotte Gill's book Eating Dirt readers are drawn into the world of tree planters, a multicultural tribe of people who work tirelessly to replant what has been fallen.
Each day is much the same for those who dig, bend, plant for months on end to replenish the forests that have been taken away because of the need of big timber.
From our beginnings as humans we have sought the resources that lay inside of trees. From heating to shelter to clothing trees have provided the necessaries that we require to live. Modern man has found even more uses for the pulpy fibres including Twinkies.
Gill has been a tree planter for over two decades, beginning during her university days. Her yearly treks into the Canadian wild where few wander provides the setting of Eating Dirt.
In a man's world Gill blends in. They share a bond that those who are not of their world do. They have to, their very lives are dependent on one another. If a tree falls, a truck crashes or another type of disaster tree planters are the ones that must patch one another up until help can arrive.
Tree planters share their bruises, their filth and the basics of themselves during the long days and nights alone as they work to replant the earth.
Eating Dirt is one of the five books on this year's Charles Taylor Prize shortlist and the winner of the BC Achievement's National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
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