EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The story of a tree and what its tells us about our life

John Bruun1,2,3
John Bruun
  • 1College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK (
  • 2College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, UK
  • 3Physics Communicators Group (Chair), Institute of Physics (IOP) for UK and Ireland, London, UK

Our natural world presents many fascinating and often bizarre phenomena to us. The way primary producers convert sunlight with nutrients as part of the existence of life is simply amazing. This gives rise to phytoplankton communities in the oceans and the growth of trees across the world. The signals of our dynamic world, its chronology and patterns of how this life grows are indelibly written into these trees as well as in mineral and oceanic floor strata. In this session I’d like to symbolically ask a generic tree “what were the choices made 150 years ago that led to our current warming?” As interdisciplinary scientists – the thinking process we use whilst embedded in logic and reason – is also closely related to our personal creative and imagining aptitudes. Our social norms also reflect the scope of decisions that we choose to talk about and identify with. By enabling a platform that frames the co-existence of contemporary scientific reasoning together with the artistic expression we re-imagine and further create possibilities, through stories, drawing, metaphor, sound and dance. With this, a wider community of scientists can engage with topics that previously seem technically obscure. A deeper public understanding of geosciences also develops. In the first part of this session I’ll narrate a story of climate change choices see by the generic tree seen over the last 500 years linking this to tree ring records, personal geoscience learning and the EGU photo archive. In the second part – I invite the audience to share their creative points of view about these climatic era’s and to further explore what stories this generic tree may be telling us about our world. The aim of this work is to enable group participation and share creative ideas. My hope is that we may envisage new combinations of opportunities about climatic futures that can enable a more resilient future for us all.

How to cite: Bruun, J.: The story of a tree and what its tells us about our life, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-6417,, 2021.