Compare Denmark to other countries and it finds itself on all the forefronts of sustainable, clean living. We get nearly half of our energy from renewable sources, mainly wind power. More than half of all commuters in Copenhagen commute by bike. Copenhagen is well on its way to becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital. The water in the city’s harbor and its canals is so clean, it is safe to swim in. Denmark is, without a doubt, one of the “greenest” countries on the planet.
But Denmark wasn’t always an environmental world leader. Prior to 1800’s deforestation lead to the nearly total removal of old-growth trees. By some accounts, only about 2 to 3% of Denmark remained forested in 1800. In 1805 Danish Forest Act made deforestation illegal and an effort to reforest the country began. The reforestation efforts really picked up in the 1990’s, but Denmark remains one of the most deforested countries in Europe. Today only around 14% of the country is forested and what little there is, is steadfastly protected. (All of Europe is 35% forested and in the USA forests cover around 34% of the entire country.)
There are over 650 trees on the Danish tree registry, and most of them are named. One of them is located within walking distance from where we now live. I take my dogs for a walk here sometimes, but won’t let them pee on this national treasure!
Klopstock’s Oak is between 800 and 850 years old and is named after the German poet, F.G. Klopstock. Being near it feels divine. I am looking forward to spring and to seeing it come alive again.
One branch fell in 2013, but it remains by its side. Even its pieces are beautiful.