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
We’re celebrating a successful first season of Plant With Purpose’s Grassroots Podcast! While we’re on a little break right now, feel free to go back and listen to any of our past episodes here! And if you’re not totally sure where to start, here are a few quotes from our
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
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
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
Downstream problems have upstream solutions.
Plant With Purpose’s model of international development evolved from a series of discoveries.
First: We discovered that if we wanted to help people improve their lives, we needed to improve their environment, because both were so deeply connected. Second: We saw that helping people out
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
July 11 marks World Population Day, a day marked to raise awareness of issues related to world population. Though this is not the most well known commemoration, its relationship to the environment makes it worth exploring further.
So, what is World Population Day and where did it come from?
The Grassroots Podcast is officially live!
As of July 2, Plant With Purpose’s premiere podcast is finally live.
Whether you get your podcasts on Spotify, Apple, Google, Overcast, Breaker, Anchor, Pocket Casts, or RadioPublic, you’ll be able to listen to our new show for free!
We are committed
The impact of climate change and degradation is not felt evenly.
Environmental degradation is a cruel phenomenon. It has the harshest effect on people who already suffer a great deal: the world’s poor. Especially the rural poor. While most common images of poverty depict something urban, poverty is mostly rural.
There’s no shortage of problems in the world to solve.
As a student, Philippe Lazaro knew he wanted to apply his international interests to help solve some of these problems, but getting started was a journey in and of itself.
A slew of internships and volunteer opportunities took him around
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
Here’s fun news- we’re launching a podcast!
Over the past few months, our team has been arranging interviews, talking to fascinating individuals, and reflecting on our own experiences on the journey of environmental restoration all for the purpose of putting together a moving and informative podcast experience.
The show will
Rio Garza once suffered from the environmental conditions that plague many rural communities around the world.
Problems like deforestation, poverty, and soil erosion create difficult lives for people living in rural areas around the world. This is the reason why rural poverty remains a challenge to eradicate, even though the
Humility is an increasingly underappreciated value in today’s culture. In a world where personal branding, hyperbole, and debate are highly visible, humility seems to be a forgotten art. In spite of this, there is something truly refreshing about being in the presence of somebody who is sincerely and genuinely humble.
Solidarity is an act of hope.
Solidarity means moving in the direction of pain in the world, standing with those who are suffering and taking up their cause as if it were your own. Doing so is both an act of hope and an imitation of Christ.
Vitor Westhelle once
What changes when you invest in mothers?
Mothers are a major part of any family. Whether it be a working mother of two or a stay at home mom, the mothers in our lives have helped shape us. The title of ‘mother’ is not a light load. Mothers are some
Why is saving small amounts of money impactful?
Although saving a couple dozen cents a week does not sound like much, it is significant. The impact of 20-30 women saving thirty cents a week is catalytic. It causes a chain reaction of change which results in benefits for both the individual
First of all, what is a biodiversity hotspot?
You might guess by the name that it’s a place on earth where biodiversity is either abundant or threatened. In fact, both are correct. To be a biodiversity hotspot, a location must meet two criteria:
You cannot find half a percent
Restoration happens through everyday decisions
At a glance, environmental restoration looks like a very large undertaking—and that’s true, in part. Threats to the health of the planet have reached an urgent, global scale. But the magnitude of the challenge should not distract us from this simple reality:
Plant With Purpose is deeply committed to environmental restoration. This dream is shared among our partners in eight different countries. Jah Cho envisions future generations being able to reap the benefit of a restored forests. Isaias imagines that his community of Ojo de Agua as a rejuvenated, green landscape.
Purpose Partners are more than just donors. They’re believers.
If you want to know what keeps our work going, look no further than our Purpose Partner community. Our support from these monthly donors means that every month, rural communities plant forests. Mothers in Tanzania, Burundi, and the DRC open small
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
Integrating sustainability and development provides many benefits to female farmers
Plant With Purpose is deeply committed to addressing the root causes behind poverty and environmental degradation. An amazing thing about addressing root causes is discovering how they affect so many issues.
Take, for example, women’s empowerment. Gender based inequality may
How one Plant With Purpose supporter is using her love of running to plant more trees
Jenny Gruber is an engineer, a Plant With Purpose supporter and a marathon runner. While she had already ran 29 marathons going into the month, she wanted to do something a little bit more
You probably already know more about these kinds of trees than you realize.
The idea of staple foods is probably a familiar one. Staple crops like corn, wheat, rice, and potatoes are an important part of many diets. Most world cuisines eat one or two of these staples almost every
In 2019, Plant With Purpose will begin program work in Ethiopia
We are extremely excited to announce that this year we will begin working with families and communities in rural Ethiopia.
In mid-2018, we were approved to begin working. We have appointed Getnet Takere to serve as the Pilot Project Manager,
Meet Ross Boone AKA Raw Spoon
This month we’re teaming up with Ross Boone, an Atlanta-based artist and illustrator. We’re also featuring him as our Supporter of the Month!
Raw Spoon is Ross Boone’s artist name- and if you’re not sure why, then try reading that sentence out loud. His
The opposite of poverty isn’t wealth. It’s justice.
This quote comes from Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy. In that book, Stevenson recounts his experiences as a lawyer, working to exonerate people who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes. His work to get people off of death row and out of
If you planted a tree for every tree mentioned between Genesis and Revelation, you would easily end up planting quite a large forest.
You’ll find a bush that burns without burning up, a court held underneath palm trees. You’ll find Jesus in a garden hours before his death and mistaken
When you pay attention to the news about the environment, the stories you come across are often grim. Many of them are alarming, warning about how we can’t continue our demanding lifestyles without irreversible damage to the planet.
Those stories are important, and it’s important to heed their warnings, but
The following post has been adapted from an article by Matthew Sleeth for Christianity Today. You may read the full version here.
Trees are found all throughout Scripture
Every major character and every major theological event in the Bible has an associated tree. The only exception to this pattern is
A couple weeks ago, our team had the opportunity to go to STORY Gathering in Nashville, Tennessee. As far as the conference goes, it’s so unlike other conferences that it’s a bit hard to describe. In short, it’s a place for people who believe that a well-told story can change
Purpose Partners make our world go around
If you don’t know what it means to be a Purpose Partner, well, hopefully you’re new to Plant With Purpose because we like to talk about our Purpose Partners a lot. We celebrate them.
Purpose Partners are the reason:
John Mark McMillan: Creation care is an act of love
John Mark McMillan is a widely-respected music artist. He is also passionate about how the environment impacts people. This fall, Plant With Purpose has had the privilege of teaming up with John Mark McMillan on his seventeen city tour. The
People need trees, and trees need people.
What would happen without trees? In many parts of the world, people would suffer greatly.
Trees fix soil with vital nutrients. Trees fix beneficial nutrients in the earth which enables other plants to grow, including vegetables and crops needed to feed people and
It started with a different vision.
About twenty years ago, a visit to the community of Ojo de Agua, “the eye of water” in Mexico’s Mixteca region would have looked quite different. The steep hillside would have been brown and dry.
For years, the people of Ojo de Agua relied
Noticing is a spiritual act
Fred Rogers once said that “appreciation is a spiritual thing,” and that’s an idea that has a profound impact on what we believe and how we live.
All throughout scripture, we’re encouraged to engage the world with a profound set of gratitude and wonder at
This summer, Plant With Purpose has had the treat of having a team of highly skilled and mindful interns around our San Diego office. These interns bring with them unique perspectives and rich experiences.
Our Communications Intern, Caillie, was drawn to Plant With Purpose by her concern for some of
Living sustainably is living the way God intended. It takes grace.
Sustainable living is a good thing. You already knew we wholeheartedly believe that.
But living in a way that protects creation and honors its Creator isn’t just a good thing to do. It’s so much more than that. Living
Sustainability isn’t a chore, it’s a calling
Future generations will be living the world we shape through our actions. Today, there are many reasons to be concerned.
People all around the world are consume resources that are disproportionate to their population size. A recent study done by Washington State University,