As 2019 drew to a close, many among us were happy to see it go. Much of Australia was on fire. Images of injured koalas and charred landscapes filled our social feeds. It was enough to turn a relentless optimist into a doomsdayer.
After all, what could anyone do?
One Tree Planted, however, seemed immune to despair. “2019 was one hell of a year!” the charity chirped in its final Instagram post of the decade. “We thank our friends and partners from far and wide for helping us make this year such a huge success.”
Such chipperness is a hallmark of the nonprofit organization dedicated to global reforestation. “There’s a lot of doom and gloom out there,” says One Tree Planted’s “sustainability maven,” Kaylee Brzezinski. “We’re always trying to be positive. We offer a ton of volunteer opportunities all over the world so people can feel connected to tree planting. At the end of every month, we round up positive environmental news so people can focus on that. There are good things happening for the planet.”
Now, in the perspective-shifting context of a global pandemic, positivity is more precious than ever. People are craving good news and celebrating small kindnesses. Planting trees is an act of kindness toward our planet and all who occupy it. That’s why Sahoja is delighted to support One Tree Planted through our impact platform.
This video explains how One Tree Planted works:
Donate Your Points to Plant Trees
Since its founding in 2014, One Tree Planted has put nearly 6 million trees in the ground. This year, it expects to plant 15 million more. Every dollar donated to the environmental charity funds one tree, which means anyone can do something. Collectively, we can rebuild forests.
When you donate Sahoja points to this charity, you’re helping bring native tree species back to America’s Appalachian Region, where much of the forest has been degraded by mining and timber operations. For every 1,000 points you chip in, One Tree Planted puts one tree in the ground. Just log in to https://app.sahoja.co/ and click on “Projects” to donate.
“We think, ‘Oh my God, global warming! Everything is coming to an end. There’s no mechanism for me to do something immediate,’” says Stephanie Pham, Sahoja’s business development associate. “That’s where Sahoja comes in. We help you do something now to make a difference. You can plant a tree today. You can tell your friends about it. When they start donating, too, we become stronger together.”
Why Are Trees Essential?
Most of us learned the answer to this question in grade school. Trees are the earth’s air filters, absorbing pollutants and releasing clean oxygen. Plainly put, trees are to thank for every breath we take. As global warming wreaks havoc on our planet (e.g., unprecedented wildfires, rapid glacial melt, drier droughts), we need trees more than ever. A mature tree can absorb an average of 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, according to One Tree Planted. In cities, trees can reduce overall temperature by up to 8 degrees Celsius.
Of course, trees do a lot more than clean our air. They give us everything from fruit and chocolate to toilet paper and timber. When it’s hot, we seek their shade. When it’s cold, we burn wood for heat. Here are still more reasons why planting trees makes a difference.
Trees Are a Lynchpin of Wildlife Conservation
Tree planting is a critical component of saving wildlife and preventing extinction. “Trees are connected to so much. That’s one thing people forget about, how everything is connected,” Brzezinski says. “Trees are home to about 80 percent of all terrestrial biodiversity. That means a lot of living things exist within forest – mammals, reptiles, insects, fungi, plants – and it’s all needed. If we lose one thing, we’re going to lose another thing and another thing.”
Planting Projects Give People Jobs
Planting projects provide jobs and training opportunities. In some cases, they can even break the cycle of poverty. Nursery workers are needed to nurture saplings. Other workers are needed to prep land and plant the trees. Arborists and researchers are needed to monitor and optimize reforestation efforts. In Rwanda, One Tree Planted joined forces with a women-led coop to plant 35,000 fruit-producing trees. The women gained forestry and business skills; their community gained sources of nutrition.
Reforestation Improves Water Quality
Like icebergs, trees are more than meets the eye. While their leaves and bark are busy vacuuming our air, their intricate root systems slow the absorption of water into the ground and filter out pollutants. That reduces the risk of soil erosion, floods, and landslides.
It also helps endangered orcas. Wondering what trees have to do with killer whales? Again, it’s about connectedness. Off the coast of North America, the population of whales known as Southern Resident orcas has dwindled to less than 75. The mighty marine mammals are starving. Their staple food, Chinook salmon, is in short supply for reasons that include dams, deforestation, and pollution. One Tree Planted has committed to planting more than 1 million trees across the Pacific Northwest as part of efforts to save the salmon and the orcas in turn. By reducing toxins in the rivers where salmon spawn, trees could give orcas a fighting chance.
At Sahoja, we were so inspired by the following film that we donated to this project on World Wildlife Day.
Trees Boost Our Health…on Every Level
Research has shown that time in nature can be good for people’s physical, mental, and emotional health. The mere presence of trees can be powerful. A seminal study published in 1984 found that hospital patients with tree views fared better than those with wall views. If you’ve ever walked through a forest of tall trees, no doubt you’ve experienced the feel-good effects.
Join Us—and Start Saving Our Forests Today
When you plant trees—by donating on Sahoja’s app or getting your hands in the dirt – the feel-good effects can be exponential. “Taking the time to help the planet,” says Brzezinski, “is something to be celebrated.”