November 11, 2019
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Dear Ladies and Gentlemen, friends and colleagues I’d love to be with you in Mali right now. But unfortunatelly due to visa issues, I’m unable to join you. Thank you all for devoting your time and energy to trees and to forests. My friends and I first started planting trees about 12 years ago when we were 9 years old when we first heard about Wangari Maathai and her fantastic work. Today, we are incredibly lucky to be 75,000 children and youth in 67 countries all planting trees with us. And maybe this is why, in 2011 after Wangari Maathai so sadly passed away, the UN Environment Chief Achim Steiner asked us children and youth of Plant-for-the-Planet to continue her work with the Plant-for-the-Planet Billion Tree Campaign. and to lead that effort. We were honored by this enormous responsibility and at first didn’t quite know what to do. The campaign had been so incredibly successfull. And because of that, we had two main questions. The first one was: How many trees even exist in the world? And the second one: And how many additional trees could we plant? We found a team of three wonderful ecologists at Yale Universtity in the US. And they did a three year research project for us to answer these questions. And after that time they came back to us with two important answers. The first one is, that around three trillion trees currently exist globally. That’s about 400 trees for every person in the world. And the second, even more important answer is, that globally we have so much degraded forest and destroyed forest that we can restore another one trillion trees. And we can plant these one trillion trees exclusively on land not used for agriculture, pasture or settlements. Just unused former forests. The fantastic thing about those trillion trees is that most of the potential for reforestation exists in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Exactly those parts of the world
we need to invest in most. So, because of that, we children and youth understood that the next goal of the Billion Tree Campaign should be to plant a trillion trees. And since then, it’s our mission to convince the world to plant these trees. So, what’s stopping us? In the last three years, I had the incredible luck to get to know many fantastic tree planting organizations around the world and many of them would love to scale up their efforts, but the main limiting factor for almost all of them is funding. So what is stopping that funding? Why are so many organizations unable to achieve international funding? I think the biggest problem is transparency. We’re trying to convince people to send lots of money in a very different part of the world. To fund tree planting without being able to see the proof that this is actually happening. So, to be able to facilitate this to help with this scaling up, we children and youth of Plant-for-the-Planet have been working really hard for the last couple of years, to build a platform that allows people all around the world to see tree planting organizations, to see their fantastic work and then support them directly through the app. So, I wanna show you what it can do and I sincerely hope it helps a lot of you with your fantastic work. Once you log in, you can see all the projects registered in the app. And then the user can select one and see more details about it. And soon, we will add the most important feature: a map ot the project. So the user can see exactly where the trees are planted. And it won’t be just a static map, But we are providing global high-resolution satellite pictures of the map. The user can see all of that about every project and then select his favourite project and donate to it. We already support 80 different currencies. So people all around the world can easily participate. And the best thing about this is that Plant-for-the-Planet takes absolutely no share of the donations. A hundred percent goes directly to the tree planting organization. The trees that are donated then show up in the user’s personal tree counter. So, I have already planted 259 trees and my target is to plant a total of a thousand trees. And every user can obviously have their own target. I hope this is usefull to many of you for your work. And if you have any ideas on how we can improve upon it, please do contact me. Thank you so much for your fantastic work in making Wangari Maathai’s vision a reality. Stop talking. Start planting.

Robin Kshlerin

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