Activists in Oaxaca donned gowns and veils before saying “I do” to their leafy loves.
And you thought we were treehuggers? A group of women in San Jacinto Amilpas, Mexico took to the trees in a mass marriage ceremony recently to declare their undying devotion to their arboreal amors.
But no, this wasn’t a statement on modern love, it was part of an event called Marry a Tree, and it is helping to raise awareness about illegal logging and deforestation in the state of Oaxaca.
“Marrying a tree is a way of protesting, to say that we need to stop exterminating Mother Earth every day, every minute, every second,” tree bride Dolores Leycigi says.
“I thought it was very interesting that we have a commitment, not only with this tree, but with all of nature,” says another tree bride, Andrea Tanat. “I thought about how much we’ve already damaged nature, so I decided to come and get married.”
The ceremony was led by Peruvian actor and environmentalist Richard Torres. Torres happens to already be tree-betrothed; he married a tree in Bogota, Columbia back in 2014 in an effort to encourage the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia to plant trees instead of inciting war, according to the Associated Press. And he’s taken more brides since then as well.
While the marriages are obviously not legally binding, it is proving a great way to shine a light on illegal logging. “The practice of unlawfully transporting and selling timber has had devastating environmental impacts in Mexico and has been blamed for an increase in droughts,” notes the Huffington Post. And indeed, the country’s forests are taking a real hit with illegal logging, much of the illegal timber trade is thought to be controlled by criminal syndicates. Oaxaca is one of the five states hit the hardest by deforestation
You can see more about Torres and his many loves in the video below. And in the meantime, you don’t have to marry a tree; you don’t even have to actually hug one (though it does feel great!) … all they need is some respect.