At the Cultures of Resistance Network, one of the most basic things we do to promote sustainability is support tree-planting and reforestation initiatives. While working to address larger social and economic issues, we cannot forget the importance of preserving and expanding our forests and gardens. Throughout the world, trees are being destroyed and illegal logging continues to fuel deforestation. Trees provide us with air, as well as many other essentials, and protecting them remains one of our top priorities.
To address this crisis, we’re supporting several different initiatives:
Since an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010—impacting about 3 million people, according to the Red Cross—there has been a great need to rebuild the country and its environment. The Quixote Center, a multi-issue social justice organization, is one of our allies directly tackling this problem. Its Haiti Reborn campaign aims to build grassroots activism while developing reforestation and sustainable agriculture programs in Haiti. Since 1998, it has helped create a forest of more than 200,000 trees and a nearby nursery that now produces between 50,000 and 100,000 trees. Watch a short video about the campaign below:
To learn more, check out this CNN report on a Haitian farmers alliance trying to plant one million trees a year:
In Korea’s Demilitarized Zone, our friends at DMZ Forum are turning a war zone into public green space through tree-planting. Many Koreans long for reunification of the peninsula, but making progress towards that goal will be a long, difficult process. In this very challenging climate, DMZ Forum has found a way to bring together people from North and South Korea in a cross-border collaboration. They aim to repopulate mountains with trees and build new parks, turning abandoned land with a tragic history into a symbol of rebirth.
In Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa, two of our allies are using tree-planting to help women become financially stable and independent. Tree Aid’s Women’s Forest Livelihoods project aims to empower 950 of the poorest women in the Yako and La-toden areas of the country by providing them with the skills and knowledge needed to start their own tree businesses. This enables the women to earn sustainable incomes and obtain official rights to manage and protect the local forests. Bambini nel Deserto, another CoR Network grantee, runs a tree-planting project and nursery in Burkina Faso. The nursery works with a women’s cooperative in the area of Nagreongo, creating new employment opportunities for women.
Over 8,000 tree species are threatened with extinction and over 1,150 are considered “critically endangered,” meaning that they will soon go extinct if we don’t take urgent action to save them. Every day, the most vulnerable tree species get closer and closer to disappearing entirely. We’re loosing species after species and almost no one is combatting this pattern with the urgency it warrants. The exception is our ally Fauna & Flora International, an organization that is stepping forward to meet the challenge of endangered trees. Alongside Botanic Gardens Conservation International, it co-runs the Global Trees Campaign, which remains the only international campaign dedicated to conserving endangered trees. One of the campaign’s goals in preserving threatened trees is to ensure that their benefits to both humans and the wider environment do not disappear. Its projects include reforestation in Brazil and tree conservation in Ethiopia.
Trees provide medicine, food, and timber, just to name a few of the essential items they offer. On Global Trees Campaign’s website, you can learn more about the many different ways in which trees add value to our lives. Check out the list here. The site also provides a helpful explanation of Red Lists, which give the conservation status of each species. To find out exactly which species face a risk of disappearing soon, take a look at the campaign’s Threatened Trees page.
- Take action with The Quixote Center! From trips to Nicaragua to email campaigns to volunteer work, the organization is always offering new ways to join their exciting efforts around the world.
- Learn how you can live a “global tree friendly life” from the Global Trees Campaign! They’ll teach you how to use wood and paper products wisely, help you join campaigns for stronger laws against illegal logging, and connect you with local planting initiatives in your area.
- Know about other tree-planting initiatives, particularly in the Global South? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.]