The Tarri Pine


Esteemed Tarri pine or Elder pine, thank you for allowing me to sit here on your root and to disturb you with some questions this sunny April afternoon. And thank you for letting me record this encounter or interview with my video camera. I know it is perhaps a little questionable to think that you have given your consent to the recording, but with the risk of resorting to wishful thinking I prefer to trust my feeling that you are generous with your approval in this case. I have to excuse myself for addressing you in English, which is not my mother tongue, nor your preferred language, but I do hope that by articulating my thoughts in writing and in writing by hand, they will somehow be accessible to you. The irony of writing on paper that is produced of the wood of some of your relatives, or if not relatives, at least other trees, is of course a case in point. I would assume that I am not the first person to come to you for advice; humans tend to turn to old trees when in distress, and to respect pine-elders like you, unlike the younger pines on the tree plantations all over the country. This is my first visit to this island, Hailuoto, up in the northern part of the Gulf of Bothnia, so I am not familiar with your name, Tarri, which is used only here, and means something like an old pine tree or also an old pine tree with a thick trunk and a broad crown. I tried to find an explanation for the word on the internet, but the only thing that came up was the brand of a locally brewed beer named after you, sorry for that. In English you are probably called Scotch pine, Pinus sylvestris, but here that name seems rather funny; you have not come here from Scotland, I suppose, but from the vast northern forests of Siberia. We are actually here on the western edges of the enormous forests that cover the northern part of the whole Eurasian continent. And that brings me to my first question, actually. I wonder what you think of the notion pluriverse, does that make sense to you?

The more familiar concept, the universe, or ‘maailma’ in Finnish, that is earth-air, literally, emphasizes one shared world for all of us. While pluriverse somehow suggests that there is a plurality of worlds and worldviews and ways of inhabiting worlds. What would your advice be in this respect? Would it be more conducive for respecting and supporting diversity, biodiversity, cultural diversity, all kinds of diversity, to speak of a pluriverse rather than a universe? Or should we rather emphasize that we do share the same world, the one universe, despite having different ways of inhabiting that universe? What would you prefer? Or rather, do you think the idea of a pluriverse would be something you would endorse? 

I am not sure if it makes things any easier, or if I would respect your experience and understanding of life more in terms of a pluriverse rather than a universe? The notion of pluriversity is then another matter again. People in universities, sites for higher learning, like to play with words, and by speaking of a pluriversity rather than a university they perhaps emphasize, or we emphasize, that there is an urgent need of expanding our epistemologies, our ways of understanding how knowledge is created and shared, how we can know and who can know. So, perhaps the notion of pluriversity could make it easier to explain all the knowledge that you have gathered during your long life. – And that brings me to my second question, which is perhaps the more important one: The climate crises. What should we do to stop global warming and how should we do that? Or what is your opinion? How would you advise us, or me, to address global warming, which causes so many disasters around the planet, although right here the effects might even be benign to begin with? And the climate crises is of course not the only thing, some say that the loss of biodiversity is an equally severe threat. You have seen quite some fluctuations in your circumstances during your lifetime, so what do you think should be done? What would be your advice?


Perhaps it is unfair and brutal of me to expect that you could solve the problem for me, for us. I apologize for disturbing you with my questions, and I suppose you are accustomed to people coming to you for advice. Thank you for your patience with me, and many, many thanks for allowing me to spend time with you like this. Thank you! And all the best for the future.