2019 Jan 01

Trees Future

A letter from executive director John Leary

A letter from executive director john leary

Under humanity’s watch, Earth's trees and biodiversity have been decimated at rates higher than anything this planet has ever witnessed. Because of this, it is easy to be scared of what the future holds. By the time we wake up tomorrow morning, dozens of species and tens of thousands of acres of trees will be lost. The state of our environment is causing ice storms in Guatemala and 90 degree temperatures in Alaska. We know that widespread land degradation in the form of monocrops - and the massive, toxic meat and dairy industry that they feed - are one of the leading contributors to global climate change, ocean dead zones and desertification on land. Three decades ago our founders saw all of this coming. They saw how farmers were mistreating the land and that forests were paying the price. They saw the effect on community after community being left in poverty, devoid of any reliable resources. Over the past thirty years we have worked tirelessly to achieve the vision of our founders while also working to adapt to the ever-present harm being done to our planet. We’ve learned about the importance of tree cover, how to revitalize lands, and how to fight the degrading practices of “Big Ag” at a grassroots level. The impact of all this knowledge is clear, our approach and methodology are working and we’re making true, lasting change for entire communities. But something else has grown in the last three decades that has extended far beyond our tree planting efforts in small communities and the farmers we work with: Our network of support. Despite the challenges we consistently face, we find hope in the individuals and organizations that believe in our mission and our ability to affect change. Because of the dedicated support of individual donors, private sector business partners, foundations, and ambassadors, our knowledge has been put into action and is making true, sustainable impact. We are thinking bigger and reaching more people and, thanks to your support, our expertise has made us leaders in our field. We are regularly asked to advise organizations and governments such as the United Nations which is spreading our impact even wider. Thirty years ago it was hard to imagine where we have landed; thank you for your financial contributions and for sharing our message. YOU have made Trees for the Future a household name that will influence the way development progresses. No doubt, like me, you hope for a better future: one free of hunger, poverty and deforestation. Personally, I have felt no greater joy than seeing the lives of farmers and their families completely transformed by our approach. And I hope that you share in that joy because you’ve had everything to do with these successes. Of course, I worry for our planet and am frustrated that we have allowed the industrial food system to degrade our soils. And now the consequences are imminent. But with hard-working farmers and staff and the one-of-a-kind support network TREES has created, I am hopeful the change we’ve been working towards over the last thirty years will come before another thirty years pass by.

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