2022 was an important year for the Global Tree Initiative (GTI)!
This was all made possible thanks to the invaluable contributions of every single one of you. Together, we are creating a global community of conscious, wise, and warm-hearted people who care for the future of our planet and all its inhabitants, present and future.
The Global Tree Initiative is US! So, today we bring you the voices of some of our community members.
Why is the Global Tree Initiative unique? Why are we planting trees? Why do we care? These are some of the questions our community members responded to, below.
We hope you enjoy hearing from them!
Emma Defresne, France
Regional coordinator, France
In the year 2022, I enjoyed crocheting puppets that I could sell at Christmas Markets, to get money for planting trees with the GTI! Trees are the principal link between my generation and the future. Trees are my friends, they give fresh air, and they are the house for a lot of insects and animals. This is why I try to promote tree planting! What I enjoy most about the GTI, is the feeling of a human family, and feeling connected!
Jussa Kudherezera, Zimbabwe
Regional coordinator, Zimbabwe
Tree-planting partner, Manica Youth Assembly (MAYA)
In 2022, I really enjoyed working on the ReGreening Mutare project! Through the involvement of communities, Manica Youth Assembly (since 2018) embarked on programs of forestation and reforestation to address environmental challenges such as:
– bringing awareness to tree planting and managing the existing forests,
– promoting the use of new technology which can substitute the use of firewood as a primary source of energy,
– responding to the deforestation crisis in Manicaland Province Zimbabwe, especially areas surrounding Mutare.
MAYA identified the need for a robust forestation and reforestation program through land preparation, thereby resulting in the planting of both exotic and indigenous trees that will help keep Dangamvura mountain intact. It is a transformative project that will help to re-green the mountains and increase the circulation of air in Mutare! The mountain and trees act as wind barriers which help to prevent natural disasters. Trees help to keep the soil intact which reduces soil erosion. The mountain will also help to preserve various species that are on the verge of extinction. The unsanctioned cutting down of trees and land clearing has destroyed our forests! It is important that we involve communities in planting trees in communal spaces, which provides an opportunity for people to get involved with their community and establish a connection to the land.
So far this year, we managed to bring 4,300 people on board, and more than 10,000 people were directly and indirectly impacted by our project! This year alone, we have planted more than 780 trees and still going!
Francois Fick, South Africa
This year I was motivated to plant trees for the benefit of future generations! At the same time, I plant trees to provide my family and local community with fresh fruit. Most importantly, I use trees as a medium to teach my young son (Robbie) about nature, interdependence, and caring for others.
Carmo Diniz, Portugal
Partner representative, Fundação JMJ Lisboa 2023
We are working with the GTI to answer an urgent appeal from Pope Francis, presented to us in the encyclical letter, Laudato Si’: “to protect our common home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development”.
Pope Francis tells about an urgent need to care for the natural and human environments, which are deeply connected: “The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation.”
Planting trees is a way to care for our future and our children’s future. We want to encourage this attitude within the organization of World Youth Day Lisbon 2023, in the hopes that every pilgrim understands the urgency of caring for our common home.
Mohamed el Moukhtare (Dah Ebbe), Mauritania
Partner, Association Nesser pour l’agriculture et development (ANAD)
We (ANAD) do afforestation projects in order to protect the earth from desertification and environmental degradation. Accordingly, we contribute to food security, reduce climate change and environmental pollution, and we reduce carbon emissions and global warming.
What we enjoy most about the afforestation projects, is knowing that we are serving the land and preserving the traditions that our Islamic religion urges us to do, in which there is service to humans and animals. This is beautiful for us! It is an honor for me to get to know the GTI. In the future, we look forward to a partnership where we collaborate on projects that serve nature and humanity, together.
Jorge & Jennifer Troyan, USA
Author and interpreter of the blog Mewsings from Jorge
Hi! I’m Jorge the cat and that’s my Mama in the picture.
It feels so nice to be part of a global community with like-minded people (and animals!).
People have been so nice and receptive to my little stories each month. We are taking care of our world together and learning from each other!
Matheus Pangracio, Brazil
Regional coordinator, Brazil
What I most enjoyed about this year, was planting and dedicating trees for people who were sick; to feel that planting trees brings us hope for a better, healthier future. Every time I look at these trees, I feel happy. I remember having planted them with friends and dedicating them to those who were sick.
I love planting trees within my community because it makes me feel connected with like-minded people who want to make the world a better place, starting with themselves. I feel united with brothers and sisters around the world, working together towards a more conscious and harmonious world!
Bonnie and Kat O’Lone, USA
GTI Mascot (Bonnie) and Regional coordinator, USA
I plant trees and promote tree planting because I think everybody understands that trees are essential for the health of our planet. But, besides the obvious environmental benefits trees have, and simply loving nature, I also care because of Bonnie. Trees don’t just affect us, but countless animals, birds, and other living beings. Even though gray squirrels are not endangered animals, habitat loss is causing many species to decline. And, because we are all interdependent, it’s like a domino effect causing more wildlife to suffer and triggering ecosystems to collapse. People are responsible for creating this problem, but I will rather be a part of the solution. Planting trees is a great way to start, anyone can do it. The more people do it, the better!
Pia Carapaz, Germany
This year, I really appreciated that I could plant trees through one of the GTI Marketplace partners, Tribal Data. I also loved that I could meet people from the GTI’s global community, and become friends with them. It feels like I am part of a global community, and that we are connected by the love of trees and nature, and caring for each other and nature.
Mrinalini Nigde, India
Regional coordinator, India
This year, I am delighted to see that people from India became aware of the GTI’s tremendous potential, and have joined our mission! Apart from Hirwai and ISRWAY, Treewalks by Lokendra Balasaria joined us. Working for Sacred Grove (Devrai) by Raghunath Dhole has an impact on greening open land, while working with Chhaya Taralekar has an impact on greening cityscape with her research on companion plantations.
Working with Ropvatika (a nursery initiative by people from Navi Mumbai) helps in making saplings for the city landscape, and our GTI partner Ms. Sandhya Chougule helped me to create a sacred grove in the name of my husband Manish, on the occasion of his 50th birthday. Mr. Dharmendra Kar’s everlasting spirit to find time for plantation gives hope and inspiration. I see so many people concerned about the environment. The list is endless and these are the people who give me the inspiration to work for GTI.
Apart from my duties as a homemaker, caring for nature is part of my very important duty. I exist because of nature. Each and everything which I use in my day-to-day life comes from nature after processing. So, my work for nature, especially planting trees, is an act of showing gratitude towards nature. I thank our founder Tenzin Ösel Hita, for creating this space called GTI, where warm-hearted communities are planting trees. Since I joined GTI, I made friends from all over the world through this beautiful space.
For me, GTI means growth. Growing, while planting trees to create a global, warm-hearted community. A big thank you to our previous global director Jacie Keeley for her inspiration and unconditional friendship! A big thank you to present global director Hans Timpner, for visiting us in India which boosted our spirits! And, thanks to Anrich, Anna, Julie, Francisca, Mark, Chetan Joshi, Prajakta, Deepen Mehta Mukesh… (list is endless) and all GTI global community for supporting, sharing knowledge, and helping us grow!
Imam Maiyaki, Nigeria
Regional coordinator, Nigeria
Founder of Farmtastic Farms
For me, the GTI is a global organization that has quickly developed into a big community, where we all have a feeling and sense of belonging. GTI is blessed with dedicated, supportive, and easily accessible staff and members!
Due to human activities and natural occurrences, we keep losing the Earth’s natural vegetation, thereby causing climate change and global warming. Therefore, we recognize that planting trees across Nigeria is one of the most efficient and cheapest ways of taking carbon dioxide (CO2) gas out of the atmosphere to tackle the adverse climatic crises.
At Farmtastic Farms, we started a project called The Green CommuniTree Project. Our vision is to build a resilient venture that will mitigate climate change and global warming where people and the environment can thrive, and to operate a sustainable tree planting project that provides vital habitat for animals and ecological services for humans. Since joining GTI as a regional coordinator, I was able to accelerate my project by planting more trees. The mentoring and networking experience I got from the GTI family will remain with me forever!
Anrich Bester, Germany, and Francisca Gusmao, Portugal
Project coordinator & Project specialist
What I loved most about the year 2022, was that I could personally meet some of our global community members! I feel excited and grateful to be part of this global community of like-minded and like-hearted people. I am experiencing, firsthand, how the GTI is creating a global community through the activity of tree planting. I am so happy! Thank you to our founder, Ösel, for starting this project. – Anrich.
Seeing the mission and vision behind GTI was love at first sight, at a time when I was looking for something more than just protecting wildlife and their habitats. What I think makes the GTI so special, is that GTI targets the root cause of all the problems we face today. And then, GTI offers a solution through tree planting, through warm-hearted connections, through caring for others in a very deep and selfless way. Regardless of age, gender, nationality, language… I can see a community developing, and growing. And that is so incredibly powerful! – Francisca
Julie Caldwell, USA
Director, Universal Clear Light Inc.
Tree planting partner, Bellview Food Forest
What I enjoyed most this year, was getting outside and learning by doing! In addition to the hands-in-the-dirt activities, the children (from Bellview Elementary school) love looking into their microscopes to look at soil, pollinator wings, leaves, water, and compost.
We (Bellview Grange and Bellview Elementary School) are planting and dedicating trees with the GTI to be part of something bigger than ourselves. To know we are part of a global community. The school counselor teaches a kindness curriculum to the students. She thought dedicating the trees was truly significant! We dedicated 100 edible trees, shrubs, and plants at the all-school assembly on Earth Day 2022. We held the assembly in front of the Food Forest garden. And, the students rejoiced as they sang “Made in Paradise”. A re-write of Joni Mitchell’s song, “Big Yellow Taxi.” Because they took down a parking lot to plant our Food Forest!
At least 1,000 people from our local community are involved in the Bellview Food Forest. Ranging from donors, to businesses gifting us trees and planting products, and volunteers to help plant and provide ongoing maintenance and groundskeeping.
We engaged 275 students (K-5) in some aspect of the program. With 50 fifth-graders participating in ten outdoor education activities both last year and this year. And, at least 50 adult volunteers ranging from post hole digging, tree planting, mulching, watering, making signs, collecting, and making compost. The project is a partnership between the Bellview Grange and Bellview Elementary school. The members of the Bellview Grange provide financial support and volunteers to work with the students and the project. We have the full support of the school district and have received funding and support from them, our local Food Coop, and the school foundation to operate our project.
Hans Timpner, Aruba
Global Director of the GTI
Regional coordinator, Aruba
Maha Space Coordinator
This was an extraordinary year for me personally, with lots of changes, and the start of a think tank campaign within GTI to look at the future! During 2022, I really liked the campaign for the dedication of the trees planted by our members in July. It made me truly realize how many dedicated people this young organization has, people from all walks of life, from all religions from all 4 corners of the world. It is humbling to be part of such an active group!
You know, at times it is easy to sit at your computer/phone/tablet and see what other people are doing and send likes, etc. to support their great efforts. This community of GTI has a big community of dedicated people that want to do more and, are doing more. The planting of trees is the manifestation of the thought to help the planet to survive, and to create a space where our children, grandchildren, etc. will still have a habitable planet. This can only be done by being actively involved and doing something. Planting trees is, personally, my answer to creating the causes for a better tomorrow. I want to thank all the people I met within the last three months that are a continuous inspiration for a great future of the GTI, and thank you Ösel for inspiring not only me, but so many others. Together, we will create the future.
Thank you all for 2022. We look forward to what we will accomplish, together, in 2023!
What did you enjoy most about the year 2022? Let us know in the comment section below!