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Environmentalist 'Marries' Tree in Mexico

May 12, 2016 04:56 AM EDT

A Peruvian environmentalist and actor "married" a tree in Mexico as a symbol of standing up for nature and speaking up against its destruction.

On Sunday morning, Richard Torres, clad in a white and blue ensemble, hitched with the famous Arbol del Tule, or Tule Tree. The tree, which is a Montezuma cypress, is one of the oldest and widest in the world, estimated at about 2,000 years old and with a circumference of about 40 meters (about 140 feet).

The symbolic wedding took place in Santa Maria del Tule in Oaxaca, complete with incense and the sound of church bells and conch shells echoing in the town for the Inca ceremony, as per Mexico Daily News.

The wedding was conducted by a curandero, or a traditional healer, and witnessed by environmentalists and local tourists and residents alike. Based on Inca customs, the wedding included offerings, such as water, cotton and salt.

A video by Reuters showed a white cloth hanging on one of the tree branches as its "veil." Torres was also shown putting a ring on one of its branches and kissing its leafy arms after the ceremony.

While it may seem strange at first, it is reported that this is Torres' eighth marriage to a tree, as part of his "Marry A Tree, Save Your Oxygen" project, which aims to raise awareness on deforestation around the world.

"Stop the hand of those who cut the trees," he said, adding that he denounces this forest genocide and asking Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to stop the destruction.

Torres said according to Greenpeace, nearly 5 million acres of woodland have been felled down in Latin America, as per Fox News Latino.

In his speech during the nuptials, he also asked the people to plant a tree and look after nature. Torres said he will continue his campaign in other Mexican states like Guerrero and Chiapas.

The tule tree is a famous tourist spot in the town, located about 11 kilometers from the city of Oaxaca. In 1990, it has been reported that it has been slowly dying due to pollution, water shortage and high traffic in the area.

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