The following is a letter from our Creative Director, Philippe Lazaro, on what happens when a global pandemic runs into Easter- a day where we celebrate resurrection.
What a month it’s been. To echo a Tweet by Andy Crouch I read, “Honestly, I hadn’t planned on giving up this much
A divisive social climate contributes to an unsustainable global climate
It’s a presidential election year in the United States, and unsurprisingly political tensions and anxieties run high. There has been no shortage of words about the way our world is extremely polarized and divided. Spend more than a small amount
“The faithful have a long tradition of ministering to and seeking justice for the most vulnerable and providing the action we need to achieve a just and healthy world. As such, the faithful are leading on climate solutions today.”
–Kara Ball, Blessed Tomorrow
Plant With Purpose is a Christian environmental
“Do you want to know the most exciting thing about regenerative agriculture? It’s the word “regenerative.” It means we actually have the ability to bring seemingly dead, practically infertile soil back to life!”
–Sheryl Karas, Center for Regenerative Agriculture Systems at CSU Chico
Excitement around regenerative agriculture, sometimes called regenerative
We often overlook the way nature teaches us about God
It’s not uncommon to hear people explain how a little time in nature helps people feel closer to God. But the idea of spending time in nature as a spiritual discipline can still be startling for many people.
Environmental storytelling has often failed to focus on the communities that are most impacted
The people most vulnerable to climate change are those living in the poorest areas.
This has been a consistent area of focus for Plant With Purpose. It is the reason why we work in the places
The most important command about how we treat each other is clear: Love
“This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two.”
Christians widely recognize that Love is central
What moves people to actually care for the environment at a local level?
Duang Dee lives in Thailand, though he himself is Karen. The Karen are an ethinic group in Southeast Asia that do not have their own formal country. Instead, they live between Thailand and Myanmar. Historically, the areas
Dirty water is one of the biggest hazards to humans around the world
Every year, about 3.5 million people around the world will die from unclean water. About two thirds of them will be children. This is the equivalent of a large commercial airplane crashing every single hour.
So why does it often feel like family values are a different set of interests than environmental values?
More likely than not, this is based only on outward appearances. The thought of family values might make one think of a warm home, and the thought of environmental values might make
Their past was riddled with conflict. Their future is about security and abundance.
Nobody would consider Kakumba an easy place to live. Simply getting to it takes extensive climbing up steep hills and mountain sides, on trails that are often inaccessible due to rain… or worse.
It wasn’t long ago
Environmental concern is urgent. It is also timeless.
Have you ever caught yourself thinking, wow, this sustainability trend sure is taking off, isn’t it?
You’d have good reason for thinking that. Fidelity, the investment giant declared last year as the year “sustainability went mainstream” declaring that “professional and private investors
We hear a lot about the importance of preserving the Earth’s major rainforests. What about forested areas that aren’t as vast?
The Amazon. The Australian brush. The Indonesian palm rainforests. The Congo Rainforest and Basin. A lot of these major rainforests are familiar names to people concerned about the fight
Perhaps you’re familiar with the Enneagram? If not, then the rest of this article might not make much sense, and it might be worth getting familiar with the personality profile system that has seen a resurgence in popularity over the past few years. With origins that go back to the
First Nations communities lose the most during climate change but often have the most insight on how to respond.
“These fires have obliterated entire forests, and, with it, they’re obliterating the cultural memory of our Aboriginal groups,” declared Bhiamie Eckford-Williamson, a Euahlayi indigenous research associate in Australia. “The burning of
Is that even the right question to ask?
“The world was just issued a 12 year ultimatum on climate change”
“A terrifying look at the consequences of climate change”
“Climate crisis: 11,000 scientists warn of ‘untold suffering’”
The above headlines ran on The Smithsonian, The Economist, and The Guardian, respectively.
Recent reports outline the extreme vulnerability of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to climate change.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) can be one of the hardest places to live. Widespread hunger, the outbreak of epidemics, and political instability have led the UNDP to rank the central African
Our work over the past year is a testament to your contribution.
Plant With Purpose has just unveiled the fiscal year 2019 edition of its Annual Report. The report is a summary of program results, successes, and outputs over the past fiscal year. As a publication, it serves as a
A group of people 800 million strong are critical to solving our environmental crisis.
Our planet is undoubtedly at a critical moment right now. Various reports show that close to a million species are at risk of extinction. Meanwhile, 2030 has been projected as the date by which changes to
How can we prevent a mass extinction event? Can we remove enough carbon from the atmosphere to avoid irreversible climate change? Can we protect and restore the forests we have left?
It can be so easy to get overwhelmed by the daunting nature of protecting our planet. Maybe it isn’t
The rains aren’t coming when they should
Weeks go by and Thailand moves further into what is supposed to be its rainy season. Except it hasn’t rained. The people still wait. Especially the farmers, for whom the arrival of rain is needed to feed their families and to bring in
It’s a new year and a new decade at that. The beginning of the 2020s puts us at a crucial spot in trying to address some of our planet’s biggest environmental issues.
The decisions that we make over the next decade will have an impact on our planet. This impact
At the very beginning of the decade, Plant With Purpose was in the process of a major rebrand. While our team was contemplating our identity as an organization moving forward, world events reminded us of the urgency of our work. One of the strongest natural disasters of the decade struck
It’s been a great year for adventurers seeking to restore the planet while challenging themselves. From paddle boards to bikes to running trails, we saw so many of you in the Plant With Purpose family embark on creative fundraising adventures. All funds raised went towards supporting our mission of restoration.
What does Advent have to do with sustainability?
The season of advent and the anticipation of Christmas allow us to think about our lives and our world in the framework of hope, waiting, and redemption. When it comes to the conversation surrounding the environment, these themes are definitely at play.
How do you move forward when the worst has happened?
At some point in our lives, we’ll all experience something not going to plan. For some of us, these disruptions may be especially devastating. And unfortunately, in certain parts of the world, these are unfortunately more commonplace.
In many parts
Wilner’s community used to be extremely barren
It seems like not long ago when Fonds-Verrettes was a very barren place. In fact, it wasn’t that long ago. About ten years before many community members joined Plant With Purpose groups and learned the value of reforestation, they lived on unproductive soil.
There’s a surprisingly strong link between these two major issues
There are more slaves living right now than at any other point in human history. Around 30 million people are caught up by exploitation that values profit over human life. Human trafficking and exploitation comprise a multi-billion dollar industry.
Glacial retreat represents a variety of ecological concerns
Glacial retreat is a term that describes what happens when a glacier’s furthest point doesn’t reach as far down valley as it used to at the same time of year. It can be used as a shorthand to describe the shrinking of
Do trees matter as much in an urban setting?
Our planet’s villages need more trees! This simple realization, decades ago, led to Plant With Purpose’s existence and work since. Eight countries and 30 million trees later, we believe in that statement even more. We’ve seen what trees can do!
We believe in looking at root causes- including spiritual roots
As an organization, we’ve long held the belief that in order to solve big problems, you need to look at root causes. A lot of energy is spent treating the symptoms of problems rather than the actual problems themselves. If
Paying attention to God’s involvement in the environment gives us a more encouraging way forward.
“Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” explained Phileena Heurtz. “When I consider the state of our world and the concern of the future for our planet, it feels very heavy.
This Giving Tuesday, we’re loving God by loving Creation
One thing we hold in high value at Plant With Purpose is our identity as a Christian environmental organization. We believe that our environmental care truly is an act of worship. By being caretakers of creation, we are brought back to
Imagine what gratitude looks like at its most intense level
There’s no real way to measure who the most grateful person in the world must be, but can you imagine what life must look like for that person? A deep appreciation for practically everything and an overflow of joy towards
Empowerment groups help both people and the planet
Wherever Plant With Purpose works, participants join empowerment groups. These groups support environmental restoration efforts with economic development through loans and savings. As community members save their extra income in shares and lend money to each other to generate further income, poverty
Children are the most affected by our environmental choices
People widely recognize the fact that children have the most to gain or lose based on how we treat our environment. In fact, providing a better life for children and grandchildren was the most frequently cited answer in a survey of
What motivates Christians to care about climate?
This is a question many have asked, from both within and outside the faith. While people in general may have all kinds of reasons for concern- from uncertainty towards the future to concern for the poor, how this is influenced by people’s spiritual
Our survival depends on a new story
When it comes to the environment, it appears more and more obvious that we need new ways of doing familiar things. The behaviors and habits that have gotten us to where we are will not sustain us for where we want to be.
We’ve made significant amounts of progress against poverty in recent times
When we look at things going wrong in the world, things like poverty and injustice, we must remember that it doesn’t have to be this way. God did not create the world intending for poverty and human suffering, and
What happens when the line gets blurry between sustainability and marketing?
Some of our planet’s most needed solutions are ready to be unearthed. They aren’t waiting to be discovered in the labs of our top research institutions. They aren’t waiting for tech entrepreneurs to figure things out. They’re in the
Part of living a more sustainable lifestyle includes rethinking our relationship with the physical world. Sometimes that means reconsidering the importance of the forests in Ethiopia, or the trees in our own neighborhood. Other times, it means reconsidering the physical objects in front of us- our drinkware, the clothes on
It can be easy to only notice the bad things going on in the world, especially when it comes to environmental issues. While it’s important to stay concerned and connected to the planet’s challenges, it’s equally important to stay tuned in to the stories of hope. These stories remind us
Haiti has faced challenges year after year.
Haiti is no stranger to the hopelessness that comes from generations of government changes and promises, with little to show for it. Even when big changes are made to better the country, small farmers like Messoyel often are the last people to be
One extremely high value at Plant With Purpose is the empowerment of locals. We are simply partners. Doing so requires a spirit of collaboration that goes against many norms in the world of international charity. Here are a few of the shifts we seek to further local empowerment.
At Plant With Purpose, we aim to equip rural farmers with sustainable agriculture skills. These skills help them become resilient against hunger and environmental problems. One challenge in Tanzania is the lack of space for farming activities on many people’s property. A solution is the creation of sack gardens. Here’s
Empowerment often takes the form of learning
When it comes to community development, you can give away food. You can give clothing. You can give scholarships, or water, or trees. These are all things that are all deeply needed in many parts of the world, and there are many times
Attention to our environmental condition often fades in and out. Things like news coverage or public concern may come and go, which sometimes makes it easy to forget that our ecological story is constantly unfolding. Here are some things that are happening right now.
Families are feeling the burden of
22 miles on a paddleboard is no easy feat!
Will Allen and Emily Bark will be paddling 22 miles from Catalina to Palos Verdes to support Plant With Purpose this month! They have chosen to raise money to plant trees in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of Plant With
The two go hand-in-hand
“I’m so happy I discovered your organization. I’m a Christian and I’ve been wondering where my love for the environment fits in with my faith!”
This isn’t an unusual comment for us to hear sometimes. There are many people with a deep Christian faith who hold
For over 30 years, Plant With Purpose has advocated for planting trees as a simple but powerful response to the environmental challenges that our planet faces.
Swiss researcher Tom Crowther speaks about planting trees urgently. As far as climate solutions go, “it is available now,” he says. “It is the
An investment in the environment is a promise to future generations
“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
You might see that quote attributed to Les Brown or to Warren Buffett. While the author of the phrase is unclear, its significance is
What happens when the line gets blurry between sustainability and marketing?
Over the past decade, clothing giant H&M has received much criticism for the company’s environmental impact and the working conditions of its manufacturers. After the fatal collapse of a factory in Bangladesh killed 1138 workers in 2013, H&M became
Sometimes it’s the hardest moments of life that produce the most growth
If we were to list out the most meaningful things we’ve done throughout our life and then make a second list featuring the most difficult things we’ve ever done, I suspect we’d find a good amount of overlap.
How hopeful do you feel when it comes to the environment
“I’ll be honest, sometimes it can feel like there are many reasons why finding hope is difficult,” explained Plant With Purpose executive director Scott Sabin.
Scott’s assessment feels very relatable. Between the rampant threats to places like the
Displacement affects about 10.7 Million people in Africa
Displacement refers to somebody who has left their home due to force or a lack of safety, in most cases, conflict. This term differs from refugee status, since refugees are technically defined by crossing a national border.
When regional conflicts came to
Terence Lester says that “to really understand something, we often need to experience it for ourselves or at least hear the story of someone who has experienced it.”
This captures the importance of empathy when it comes to problem solving.
And when it comes to understanding our environment and
Perhaps you’ve been with us on the journey of environmental restoration for some time. You care deeply. You often look at the big picture of what environmental challenges look like across the globe. But for those wanting to get more involved, the big picture can sometimes look too broad.
Following Jesus and taking care of the planet go hand-in-hand. While today’s churches might easily overlook our role as stewards and caretakers of the planet, this hasn’t always been the case. Throughout church and Biblical history, our relationship with the natural world has often been seen as a reflection of
In many ways, the effects that the environment has on human health seem a little obvious. Still, there is a variety of different ways to think about their relationship that all underscore its importance. Here are some of those ways.
Biodiversity helps support resilience and nutrition.
A lack of biodiversity
Horseshoe Bend. Havasupai Falls. The Happy Boulders in Bishop, California. It seems like not long ago, these places were under-the-radar beauties for outdoor adventurers. A visit would’ve been a chance to escape into solitude while admiring these natural spectacles.
Actually, it wasn’t that long ago. A decade, give-or-take. Today, however,
There are times when it’s hard to feel strong.
Think of a time in your life when it seems like one challenge after another kept rising up, and it started to take an emotional toll. Sometimes, it’s not just a calamity that can leave you discouraged, but a constant stream
You reap what you sow, right?
You’ve heard the expression, I’m sure. It comes right out of Scripture– several times.
Galatians 6:7 reads, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”
2 Corinthians explains that the point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also
Haiti’s challenges are deep and complex.
One of the most famous images of Haiti contrasts its lack of vegetation with a neighboring National Park in the Dominican Republic. The difference is so stark that nature follows the political border.
A flight into Haiti might provide another example of its environmental
One principle of sustainability is doing things with benefits that go beyond your lifetime.
In one of his most famous poems, “Manifesto”, Wendell Berry suggests doing things that we will not live to see the benefit of:
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the
If you’ve been to the Dominican Republic, chances are, you saw the eastern part of the country, either the coast or the area around the capital of Santo Domingo.
Statistically, these are the places most visitors go.
Far fewer visitors go west. If you have, you may have more
If you are anything like me, gardening might sound expensive and like a lot of work. However, backyard gardening is something Plant with Purpose encourages to all of our partners. These partners often are struggling with a lack of capital, and gardening is actually a way to generate income. Here
Finding Hope and a Future
In a country long ridden with war and conflict, people are looking for change and hope. Due to this, communities in Burundi have come together to promote peace, growth, and empowerment. Many of these communities have partnered with Plant With Purpose. Now one of our
Sayumi’s story started with her farm and a single cow.
Sayumi’s life wasn’t easy. It was simple, but she had to work exceedingly hard just to survive.
She tended her family’s farm every single day, which provided them just enough to get by. Still, her family’s life was full of uncertainty.
The 2018 Annual Report is Here
We’re excited to announce that we’ve completed the 2018 Annual Report! We can’t wait to share it with you.
The Annual Report includes updates on our program activities, finances, and impact across our eight partnering countries.
But that’s not all.
Our Annual Report is just
Has God ever felt quiet to you?
God is always present and near. But that doesn’t mean it always feels that way. Throughout the course of one’s lifetime, there may be long stretches of silence and seasons that feel unusually dry.
Sometimes, our relationship with God can feel like going
Fefela stands out in her community for her hard work and dedication to restoration.
In fact, Fefela might never sit down. During our team’s visit to her community of Los Piños, she was up and moving the entire time, making sure that everything was running smoothly.
The community of
For Isaya, poverty took many forms
Isaya lives in Tanzania, where he and his neighbors once lived in poverty. They didn’t just lack money, however. They also lacked trees, enthusiasm, and the awareness of how to improve their situation.
The barrenness of the land around him left Isaya concerned about
Rombo isn’t an easy place to get to. You’ll need to drive for quite some time on the remote roads of Tanzania. In terms of distance, it isn’t too far from Mt. Kilimanjaro, a frequently visited and easily accessible spot. But getting from the city areas to the village of
The start of something sweet
Juan urged us to come a little bit closer to look at what was growing on some of the trees on his farm.
A team from Plant With Purpose was visiting Juan and some of his neighbors in his community in the Dominican Republic. For
In order to help people, Plant With Purpose plants trees!
That’s the short version of why we exist. The longer version of that is, well, much more nuanced. The way we plant trees is just as important as the fact that we plant them. We encourage and empower locals to
If you’re a Purpose Partner, if you’ve started a fundraiser for Plant With Purpose, or if you’ve ever donated towards our mission of reversing poverty and deforestation, you should know that your donations weren’t a hand-out. It’s more accurate to think of your gift as an investment. The financial growth
Welcome to 2019! It’s an excellent time to both look back and look ahead at the many things worth celebrating and anticipating. Last year was one of our strongest yet- we are planting more trees, working in more communities, and putting more of your generosity to good use than ever
As Plant With Purpose prepares to begin its work in Ethiopia, our international team has spent time learning from local leaders and experts about its environment. The East African nation has seen a number of changes over the past year, including a new prime minister, its first female president, as
Christina knows the challenges of rural living
Christina lives in the village of Siha, on the western slope of Mount Kilimanjaro. Though she is close to the mountain, it can be difficult to get to her village. The steep slopes and unpaved roads demand a cautious drive away from the
Plant With Purpose is heavily committed to the use of community savings groups. Across seven countries, over 1,200 savings groups regularly meet. Community members can bring the cash they’ve been able to save, investing that money by purchasing shares. When they’ve accumulated enough in savings, they can then take out a loan
Poverty is a serious threat to many families
Millions of families around the world live in poverty, but their hopes are pretty similar to the hopes of most other families. Parents want to be able to put their kids through school to get a strong education. Children hope to grow
Savings groups help rural communities grow out of poverty through their own resources. As members gain the opportunity to save their money, that money is then lent out to reinvest back into the community through small businesses, livestock, education, and other means.
Alongside that activity, however, groups also gather a
That is the amount of families currently working directly with Plant With Purpose across eight countries. As we seek to grow and expand, its important to look at what families experience on an individual level.
A typical family in Tanzania is a good representation of the hopes and worries
In his village, there were no banks. And that was a big problem.
Palmarito is in the rural Dominican Republic. Like many rural parts of the country, the community lacked banks.
This wasn’t just an inconvenience. Having somewhere to save your money makes a big difference in economic wellness. Having
Trying to make an impact on the world isn’t an easy task. While change is possible, the process isn’t linear. There are ups and downs, setbacks, and moments of discouragement that every person who tries to make an impact faces.
That’s why a key trait of people who make a
In the central hills of the Dominican Republic sits a community that has been part of the Plant With Purpose family for many years. La Represa has become an exciting example of what kind of change is possible when we invest in holistic change.
Once they faced a situation familiar
What is silvopasture?
Silvopasture is a farming method that has the potential to relieve some of the planet’s biggest environmental problems. Estimates suggest that has the capacity to reduce carbon dioxide by 31.19 gigatons of and the potential for over $650 billion in economic savings.
Millions of rural farmers around
The communities where Plant With Purpose works are some of the most difficult places on the Earth to live.
As much as our stories focus on change and how a better world is possible, they are also incomplete without a reminder that our group members live very difficult lives.
Recently, some members of our team paid a visit to Haiti to meet participants from our program. The trip was meaningful and brought to life many aspects of Plant With Purpose’s program. Our Creative Director, Philippe, shares about an encounter meeting our friend Gernita.
The community of Fonds Verrettes is
Where is the most difficult place on the planet to survive?
You could certainly make a case for a few of the countries where Plant With Purpose works.
Experts frequently mention the Democratic Republic of the Congo among the most difficult countries for someone to live. Frequent episodes of
We don’t do anything alone. Plant With Purpose has been blessed by the generosity of so many different kinds of supporters, from churches across different denominations to innovative companies and startups to passionate individuals. Each month, we love to feature a new partner who has made our work possible. This
Visit any farmer field school across Plant With Purpose’s international programs, and you’ll find people enthusiastic about why you should diversify your crops and income.
Why? To put it simply, diversity is strength.
In many developing countries, farmers have been encouraged to over-invest in a single cash crop.
A typical decision made by rural families:
Imagine this scenario: You are a parent living in rural Burundi. For years you’ve struggled to earn an income of about 80 cents a day. With five children to feed, things have never been easy.
Lately, however, things have started to look a
Haitians are forced to deal with the reality of natural threats.
Haiti is not only a country with many political and economic struggles, but it also has to deal with the fact that it is located in one of the most vulnerable locations when it comes to natural disasters.
Worship has no boundaries
A big part of spiritual renewal is learning that we shouldn’t compartmentalize our relationship with God within church walls. Our faith isn’t just for Sundays. A vibrant, robust faith impacts every single thing we do, from church to work to life at home. There are no
A team from Plant With Purpose recently climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
About a month ago, a group from Plant With Purpose took on the challenge of climbing to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. The group included Executive Director Scott Sabin and Board Chair Cindy Outlaw, along
Ruta 1 transects the Dominican Republic from north to south. While it is a major road, an hour away from it sit a number of communities that are quiet. Rural. Often overlooked.
Maizal is one of these communities.
Here, you won’t find any banks, any grocery stores, or any major
Environmental degradation rids farming families of their ability to make choices
The connection between people’s freedom and the environment isn’t one made very often. For an overwhelming part of the world’s population, however, the ability to make decisions hinges on the health of their ecosystems.
Freedom is the ability to
Five voices we should listen to as we take action to care for creation.
Good leaders are good listeners.
We don’t always listen like we should.
Noisy conversations online and in the media show that people are anxious to be heard. The demand for good listeners is high, the
What does it look like to come together as one?
Picture a stone church on the top of a small mountain. In front of the church are garden beds, and just outside its entryway is a large patio.
On the patio are a couple dozen chairs arranged in a circle.