Arborphilia and Ecosexuality are both words that recently gained significance within the environmentalist/green anarchist movements.
They may be taken literally by some, but we see them as mere symbolic representation for a deep love for Nature (and we like them because they sound so provocative).
Trees are wonderful beings.
They are probably the most altruistic beings, they give a lot and take little. They give us oxygen to breathe, filter water for us to drink, gift us with their fruit, leaves, trunks, branches and roots. They live for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, and often withstand events that would be intolerable to other species, such as severe droughts or wildfires.
Climbing is one of the best (if not THE best) all-round workouts and makes you strong and flexible. People who climb often have a deep passionate connection for Nature, in fact this is one of the reasons you often hear when you ask why people like climbing. It makes you feel connected to Nature, and if you climb a tree it makes you feel connected to the tree. If you are harvesting fruit, the deep joy of the harvest might make you feel thankful for the gifts that this tree is giving you and the wonders that took place to allow this – the tree makes delicious fruit from nothing but earth, air and sunlight, and the bees and earthworms and bugs all helped.
While climbing it may happen that the tree even communicates with you: if you listen carefully and pay attention, most trees warn you before a branch is going to break under your weight: like a person that carries a heavy load the tree groans/creeks to show you he can’t hold you much longer.
Paul Shepard wrote in his book “Coming Home to the Pleistocene” that we humans, as former primate climbers, may still be “subject psychologically to instinctive arborphilia, in which safety and all good things are up.”
More and more data suggests that plants have indeed a form of intelligence, can communicate (for example over an internet-like network of fungi) and even have certain character traits. Mother trees recognize and nurture their own offspring, and often there are egalitarian strategies applied in inter- and intraspecific plant-to-plant relationships – which stands in contrast to the traditional notion that trees only compete against each other for light, nutrients, water, etc. (also called ‘survival of the fittest‘).
Ecosexuality is a term characterized by the authors of the book “Ecosexuality – When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love“. For us it basically means falling in love with the Earth – as opposed to seeing the Earth as a lifeless object, to be exploited for human use. The anthropocentric worldview is the enemy of ecosexuality, since it sees only humans as main protagonists of the universe and the world as merely a playground that can be manipulated to fit ones desires.
Even if you acknowledge – not appreciate, acknowledge – Nature for giving us air to breathe and water to drink, this is not enough.
Charles Eisenstein writes:
The lover does not say, “I care about you because without you, who would do my laundry?” Love is for who the beloved is, in and of themselves. To have a beloved then, one must see their “is-ness.” Our ideology has blinded us to the beingness of the planet and to most of what lives in it and on it. To love Earth, we must see it as a subject not an object. Objectification of women, some say, is a key prerequisite for rape. The same must be true of the planet.
It means falling in love with the Earth again. Let’s not forget that once we all were in love with the Earth, as it is still the case among primitive people who haven’t lost the connection to Nature that is inherent in all of us.