Becky Alexis-Martin
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This chapter explores the connections between Manchester, Hiroshima and peace through the ginkgo tree. The green spaces of Manchester are the adopted home of a living fossil. The paired lobes of the leaves of Ginkgo biloba are marked by prehistoric striations, unchanged for 270 million years. Like Homo sapiens, the ginkgo is the sole survivor of a once ample family tree. Unlike us, a single tree can survive for over two thousand years, outliving our regimes and empires. The ginkgo has somehow persisted, seemingly oblivious to the melodramas of both dinosaurs and humans. However, isotopic traces of our human age are sequestered away within the ginkgo’s trunk during each growing season, to be accessed only by the dark art of dendrochronology. Through the growth and planting of the Manchester-Hiroshima ginkgo trees, the histories of two cities have become entangled as peace becomes globalised.

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Something rich and strange


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