In 2007, a 9-year-old boy called Felix Finkbeiner was given an assignment about the polar bear. While researching his favourite animal, he found out that it was in danger of becoming extinct because of something called the ‘climate crisis’. He thought that he could do something to prevent this and soon started to convince other children to take action to reverse this situation by doing something simple: planting trees. On 28 March 2007, the first tree was planted in Felix’s school. One year later, 1 million trees had been planted in his city.
This was the start of Plant-for-the-Planet, an organisation that has so far held training activities to teach people about climate and the environment in 90 different countries, has helped plant 40 million tress throughout the world, 200,000 of them in Spain, and has worked with over 9,000 children and young people across the globe.
We spoke to Jordi Juanos, director of Plant-for-the-Planet Spain, to learn more about this project first hand: “Plant-for-the-Planet is a scheme that seeks to empower children and young people to fight climate change efficiently and with a forward-looking approach by planting trees”, explains Jordi, “The sky is the limit. Sadly, planting trees is something that is sorely needed and it will never go out of fashion. Until proven otherwise, trees will continue to be best natural or artificial way of absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and converting it into oxygen, which is essential for life”.
Plant-for-the-Planet participated in the second edition of B-Value, the programme that we promote together with the Ship2B Foundation, with the support of the Juan Entrecanales de Azcárate Foundation, to transform the social sector through innovation. Speaking about his experience in the programme, Jordi tells us that “We learned a lot and we have slowly been incorporating the lessons learnt into our day-to-day activities, always striving to be professional, something that is, in my opinion, one of the scourges of the third sector in Spain – the professionalisation of companies”.
We ask how we can help to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis. Jordi puts it very clearly: “By becoming aware of the importance, both globally and locally, of the climate emergency. If we want to help, it’s easy – let’s plant trees together. The more the better! And let’s also identify those young people who, no doubt within the next 15 years, will have to make key decisions to safeguard the health of our planet”.
Speaking about the future of Plant-for-the-Planet, Jordi tells us loud and clear, “Let’s aim to identify, train and empower the future climate leaders in Spain and on a global scale.” Planting trees on a massive scale will help to effectively, efficiently and economically take real action against the climate emergency. This is why the work done by organisations like Plant-for-the-Planet is of paramount importance for the planet. “Hopefully more and more companies and institutions will take an active role in this mission that is absolutely vital for both us and our planet”, concludes Jordi.