In this episode, I interview Diana Chaplin from One Tree Planted. We discuss how this non-profit organization focuses on global reforestation and fighting climate change.
How did One Tree Planted start?
One Tree Planted started in 2014 – Our founder, Matt Hill, comes from the sustainable packaging world and business, he’s also been an educator. One of his colleagues was trying to find a way to implement a program to give back to the environment through business, and our founder said “you should plant trees!”
Where are you planting trees?
We have projects pretty much all around the world – Africa, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia. And within those countries we plant in a whole lot of different regions.
On who’s land – how are the trees protected? Monetized?
It depends on the project – Some land may be owned by farmers that want to integrate trees into their agricultural land because they have known benefits to that, so that is a case where the land is private. We also do work in national forests in the US, so that’s public land. There is a variety in terms of land ownership.
Is there any protection to keep the trees there?
As part of our process in each project we make sure how we can ensure the long-term survival of these trees, one way or another.
How many trees do you plant per year?
Last year, in 2019, we planted more trees than we had ever before – 4 million.
Commitment for 6M trees in 2020 – have you been able to continue despite the pandemic?
Yes, we have been able to continue with our projects despite the pandemic. There have definitely been some changes – some projects we had to scale down, but other projects have continued – some projects simply have new guidelines in place, you know likes masks and hand sanitizer are required and provided. Some projects that typically would be open to volunteers may no longer be open, and that is mainly to ensure the safety of our staff so that they can continue working on planting trees. We are not taking any risks with travelling and sending staff in and out of areas at the moment. We have had to pause a few projects and talked to our partners about what our next step needs to be.
Do you team with local organizations to do the planting?
We typically work with local staff that are our project partners or sometimes we may need a group of farmers that are part of a particular program through which this reforestation initiative is being done, depending on the size of the project. It’s also important to us to involve people in our projects- or just getting their hands in the dirt. A couple times a year we organize free, public volunteer events so that people can come, we try to get most of the major cities in the US so people can check if there is an event near them and bring their families. We receive incredible feedback and people have a wonderful time.
Are you looking for a certain type of tree? Fast-growing, big, small?
We work with native tree species, local trees so that they never have to travel too far from the nursery that they’re grown in to where they will ultimately be planted. In 7 years, a tree stores carbon in its roots, trunk, branches, leaves and until it reaches a certain size is starts sequestering significantly. It depends on the area and climate for a tree to reach this point, but typically it takes about seven years for a tree to start sequestering more carbon than during its earlier years.
Where can people find more information and contact you?
You can find us at https://onetreeplanted.org/ and we are @onetreeplanted across all media.