Reflections on Earth Day 2023 from our Chairman and Founder, Jenny Henman
It my pleasure to write to you on Earth Day 2023 and share some reflections on this important day. Earth Day was founded by Gaylord Nelson with the purpose of raising awareness of the need to protect the Earth’s natural resources for future generations, and promote sustainable stewardship and justice. I thoroughly recommend watching this short and inspiring film to learn more about the Earth Day movement.
I set up Plant your Future because I strongly believe smallholder farmers have to be part of the solution to maintain and restore our planet’s health. Why? Because almost 40% of our global population live on smallholdings in our world’s economically poorer nations. Many of you will have read my article published in the i-news back in 2019 – I am certain one of the biggest opportunities for tackling the global climate crisis lies with these millions of family farmers across the globe. In the Peruvian Amazon smallholders are the main driver of deforestation, and as a result the owners of large swaths of deforested farms. To make any meaningful progress to protect and restore the Peruvian Amazon and the global climate we have to support smallholder farmers to transition to regenerative agriculture and help them bring trees back onto their farms.
While at times the level of degradation at all levels of our planet can feel overwhelming, at Plant your Future we are taking concrete action at the grassroots with smallholders to restore the Amazon. And we’re already seeing amazing results.Taking direct action is so important, but it isn’t easy, and it requires financial resources which is why your support for our work is so important and appreciated.
Our field teams in Loreto, Huanuco and Ucayali in the Peruvian Amazon are into the final throws of our biggest planting season ever. We’re striving to hit our target to plant a quarter of a million native trees (yes 250,000) by the end of May. We can only plant during the rainy season, and in the Peruvian Amazon that is approximately between January and May so it’s all hands on deck right now.
Our planting target this year represents a herculean effort. We grow all our saplings ourselves from seed in our community-run nurseries. With the farms located far from the comfort of tarmac roads transporting these saplings and other inputs such as tools and fertilisers is in itself is a big challenge, not least with regular flooding of access routes. For many of the farmers we’re working with they are adopting agroforestry for the first time. So our team have to build their capacity in managing and maintaining the trees so they not only survive but thrive; training local families through farmer-field-schools, one-on-one farm visits and workshops remain a central activity.
On this Earth Day 2023 we’d like to say a special thank you for your support. I encourage you to take advantage of our match giving campaign to double the impact of your support by donating today. I also look forward to meeting those of you that can join us at the Peruvian Embassy, London on the 10th May for our fundraising event – buy your ticket today to avoid disappointment as they are selling fast.