Farmers in Burundi tend to their soil.

Address root causes

There is no shortage of causes around the world to care about. Every year, thousands of new nonprofit organizations file paperwork to start programs. For people wanting to make an impact, often the problem isn’t finding opportunities to make a difference but choosing one!

The Plant With Purpose team has experience working on a number of different issues, from wildlife conservation to refugee resettlement, human trafficking to orphan care. This wide range of experiences has led us towards a mission that addresses the root of so many problems.

Many of the world’s biggest problems have similar causes.

If you look at a range of different issues, from sex trafficking to child labor, high crime rates to disease, you’ll find that that the people affected by these challenges share a common trait: vulnerability.

Which areas do diseases like Ebola or Zika hit hardest? Impoverished areas where people live close together.

Which women in Thailand are most frequently tricked into sex trafficking? Which children in Haiti most frequently suffer from forced labor? Those who come from poor rural areas into cities to find work.

What keeps children from getting an education? Often it’s the lack of money to pay for school materials, or the need for extra farming hands to help during a famine.

Families in Mexico experience the way the environment impacts their economic wellbeing.
Families in Mexico experience the way the environment impacts their economic well-being.

An unhealthy environment further fuels the cycle of poverty.

We must treat poverty and environmental issues as two sides of the same cause

It can be easy to think of poverty relief as one good thing to do, and environmentalism as another, separate endeavor. The two issues are actually so deeply bound together. Their solutions should not be so separate.

85% of the world’s poor rely on agriculture and a healthy environment in order to eat and earn an income. Rural farmlands are often the first to feel the effects of natural disasters, soil infertility, or rising baseline temperatures.

When unhealthy environments threaten incomes and survival, problems get worse. Fathers leave their families to work in other countries. Young men often join violent groups. Tensions between tribes escalate into conflicts.

Ultimately, this contributes to a fractured spiritual atmosphere, where relationships between people, God, and creation are damaged.

Program leaders in Thailand conduct an environmental training workshop.
Program leaders in Thailand conduct an environmental training workshop.

The world’s problems are interconnected. We need a holistic response.

A holistic approach treats the whole community, taking into account social, economic, environmental, and spiritual factors, rather than just treating symptoms of an issue.

Plant With Purpose seeks to create holistic change by addressing environmental, economic, and spiritual needs. 

Activities like tree planting, sustainable agriculture, as well as water conservation are crucial for providing families with a sustainable livelihood.

Economic interventions like establishing savings groups for rural areas lacking banks are important in order to help families continue to grow out of poverty.

Spiritual development is also important to begin the process of turning a community’s despair into hope and restoring relationships that may have been broken.

A healthy spiritual life can provide the motivation to participate in economic and environmental solutions. Environmental solutions assist in fighting poverty, while economic growth helps contribute to a better management of resources. A holistic approach creates lasting change throughout rural communities.

Plant With Purpose’s three-fold mission transforms the lives of families in hundreds of communities. While planting 25 million trees and helping rural communities save $4.2 million are encouraging measurements, some of the greatest area of impact go beyond measurement. Countless people will experience hope for the first time. Families grow stronger. Loved ones heal after tragedy. Children get an education. To learn more about how to be a part of holistic transformation, learn about becoming a Purpose Partner.

Philippe Lazaro

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