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Felix & Friends

Tree by Tree Now We Children Save the World

“When I read about how much carbon dioxide (CO2) we are putting into the air with our cars, airplanes, houses, factories, and power plants and what CO2 and the other green house gases do to the atmosphere, it made me really upset. With the warming climate, the melting glaciers and the rising oceans, our future is being destroyed, and people are just simply sitting around discussing it! Why aren’t we doing anything?” Everything began in 2007 with a simple school presentation from the then 9-year-old Felix. In it he explained to his classmates how the greenhouse gas effect works and the terrible consequences of the resulting rise in global temperatures – if we humans don’t do something to stop it. However, Felix had also read that trees can capture these dangerous greenhouse gases, so he ended his presentation with the words, “Let us plant a million trees in each country on earth!” That was the beginning of the Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Initiative, which has since developed into a truly global movement. Through this campaign, children are not only planting trees all over the world, as young world citizens, they are fighting for climate justice....

This online book is equivalent to the original by Plant-for-the-Planet. It is only available through book on demand. The original book was written in German. This edition is released in accordance with the Creative Commons Licence as follows: BY: www.plant-for-the-planet.org NC: Non-commercial NO: No derivates

8th updated edition, 2016 Editor: Veronika Straaß and Claus-Peter Lieckfeld Concept and editing: Ulrike Völkmann Cover, illustration, layout: Carsten Abelbeck Translation: Austin Warren, Susanne Kloiber Lector: Robin Gibblin, Orla Farrell Revision: Karolina Reinhart (Plant-for-the-Planet Secretariat) Print on Demand, Not for Sale Free for download on www.plant-for-the-planet.org and free for Print-onDemand in all available languages. Only to be distributed to children on Plant-for-the-Planet Academies. Printed on FSC® certified paper. All rights reserved by Plant-for-the-Planet

Felix & Friends

Tbyree Tree Now we Children Save the World


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

1. Why we Children have to Act

3. What We Can Do

Felix explains: 11 How everything began . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What everyone can do … e . . 60 Or: Protecting the climate at hom

. . . . . . . . 12 A presentation with consequences 14 We are growing! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . lanet . . . 16 Prominent people with Plant-for-the-P

60 What’s wrong with traffic? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Energy eaters at home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Changing the electricity supplier? . . . . . . . . . . 63 How much CO2 is on my plate? . . . . . . . . . . .

Wangari Maathai: Mama Miti – The Mother 18 of Trees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

19 Why Wangari became active . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Green Belt Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Billion Tree Campaign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . tive . . . . . . 24 Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Initia paign . . . . 24 Plant-for-the-Planet Billion Tree Cam tion Our appeal for the largest afforesta 26 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ry histo an project in hum 28 ificance of afforestation . . . . .

The sign

our earth? How many new trees can we fit on Or: How many carbon reservoirs 30 can we still plant? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

Why did I join

an? 2. What does climate change me 38 Climate in crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . an” Clara´s interview with the “weatherm 38 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . nel chan TV an Germ a from 41 Climate change before our time . . . . . . . . . . . The climate makers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


43 The cycle of carbon dioxide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Where coal and oil come from . . 44 Smoking chimneys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Humans as the climate “engine” . . . . . . . . . . . justice? . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

What is climate

Emissions trading: The simple thing 52 that is hard to do . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

How trees help to counteract 54 the climate crisis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

About political engagement … re Or: The courage to take the futu 65 into our own hands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . in Children who are actively involved Plant-for-the-Planet 66 Or: Examples of bravery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

How can you find supporters? ve . . . . 70 Or: Other ways to become acti

le! . . . . . . 70 Give presentations and inform peop for our Find prominent community members . . . . . . 74 ing.” campaign “Stop talking. Start plant

. . . . 75 Inspire your mayor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Organizing demonstrations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77 Running an information stand . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78 Chocolate tasting promotion . . . . . . . . . . . . . ity . . . . . . . 79 Plant with friends and your commun s . . . . . . . . . . 80 Be a moderator for our academie . . . . . . . . . 80 Organizing a Run4Trees charity run 81 How to find fellow campaigners? . . . . . . . . . . . 81 Get support from your mentor . . . . . . . . . . . . . area . . . . . . 82 Connect with ambassadors in your paign . . . . . . 83 Everything you need for your cam 83 Hand out our sticky hands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . “Run4Trees” – Benedikt’s brilliant 84 idea for his Environmental Group . . . . . . . . . . .

Academy for Climate Justice 96 Ambassadors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Module 1: Introduction ate Justice Or: Hearing and discussing a Clim 96 Ambassador’s speech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Module 2: World Game justice . . . . 98 Or: Discussing the topic of climate Module 3: Public Speaking & Style res . . . . . 99 Or: Learning how to give short lectu Module 4: Planting Campaigns Or: We plant trees ourselves and 101 prepare new planting campaigns . . . . . . . . . . Module 5a: World Café Or: We collect ideas how others can 102 be involved . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Module 5b: Work in school groups 102 Or: We take action! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Module 6: Our first lecture . . . . . . . . . 103 Or: We present our aims to adults at Lake Our annual Children’s Conference 104 Starnberg, Germany . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Youth Summit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . elves… We’re planning our future for ours 106 . . . . . . . . . . . Limit the t abou ns Or: Negotiatio I’ll be a coordinator... try . . . . . 108 Or: Coordinating events in your coun 110 Everything would be alright . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


160 Contact information / Image credits . . . . . . . .

4. Our vision ld … We are the children of the wor al Or: Our glob 114 planting community . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . We children are global citizens and world politicians … Or: Thinking and acting as 130 global citizens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Trees for the South… 86 Or: 20 euros = 20 trees . . . . . . . . . . . . Our planet needs Climate Justice Ambassadors… Or: The Plant-for-the-Planet 94 Academies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

ry! . . . . . . . . 132 We should learn from recent histo 134 What gives us courage? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What would we children do? Or: Our 3-Point-Plan to save 134 our future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Coal, oil and gas should be left in the ground ... Or: The “Elmau commitment” and the 21st Climate Conference 138 in Paris in 2015 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . s dor We are Climate Justice Ambassa for ting figh are we Or: How

140 our future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

140 The Heads of Government . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 The United Nations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145 Parliaments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3-Point-Plan for states, cities, 146 communities and companies . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 Future Fee from the private sector . . . . . . . . . The Change Chocolate - Our first 149 Plant-for-the-Planet product . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 Our first global political party . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 Democratically organized . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 154 iMatter – we are important . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 Our office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Our headquater: Germany’s first 156 Energy-plus railway station . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158 Social Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Introduction The climate crisis is threatening our Earth and we humans are responsible. If we continue to act as we have up to this point, it will result in catastrophic consequences. Yet, there is far too little being done to stop this. We children want to change that – especially with this book! We have written “Tree by Tree” primarily for people like us, kids and teenagers, because we are the ones who will pay for it if adults cannot fully solve these global problems. However, we are also consciously directing this book to adults, to parents, teachers, politicians, entrepreneurs and other “decision-makers” in our society, because we want them to help us in what we are doing. We have many plans: we want to save the climate and thus our future, tree by tree! You think it’s not possible? Then you are mistaken! Our Plant-for-the-Planet children´s initiative was very small when it has begun in 2007, but since then it has become a global movement. Compared to most adults, who are willing only to talk about climate change, we are actually doing something about it! You can experience too how great planting can be if you decide to join in and help! With this book, we hope to give you the courage to do so.


We would first like to tell you how Plant-for-the-Planet began and how it developed into a really big (and exciting!) movement within a short time. You will learn what “climate change” means, how much we humans contribute to it and what we can do in order to protect our environment. You will see why it is so important that we children commit ourselves to more climate protection and climate justice in this world. And we will explain to you why we are planting trees to achieve these goals. You can also learn a lot of really exciting things. For example: do you know how much air a single tree can clean and why? Do you know the difference between weather and climate? Do you know how coal and petroleum (oil) form? Do you know what CO2 is and the impact it has on our atmosphere? And do you know why it is so bad if the ice melts in Greenland and the Antarctic, or that there is a so-called “World Climate Summit”every year? etc… If there is something in this book that you don’t understand, for example, a word or a phrase that you’re not familiar with, just ask your parents, your teacher or another adult. They are here, after all, to help us kids. Also, if you have internet access, you could also take a quick look there. Speaking of help: many adults helped us write this book for you. For all of their hard work, we would especially like to say thank you to Carsten, Claus-Peter, Karolina, Kathrin, Maria, Marina, Ulrike and Veronika. Thanks! Most importantly, we want to show you with “Tree by Tree” how easily you can take part in what we are trying to achieve, and how much fun you can have doing it!

Felix & Friends



Wangari Maathai: Mama Miti – The Mother of Trees   18 The significance of afforestation


Why did I join? 


“It‘s the little things citizens do. That‘s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.” Wangari Maathai Nobel Peace Prize recipient and ­environmental activist

Why We Children Have to Act

Felix explains: How everything began



Felix explains:

How everything began Without my teacher, this children´s initiative ­probably wouldn’t exist today. Back in 2007, it was her who first thought it was time for us ­children to start thinking about the climate crisis. The winter of 2006-2007 was unusually warm and my teacher suspected that it could have something to do with global warming. In any case, she felt that we students should at least do a little research about it on the internet to see what we could find. I promised to give a presentation on the climate crisis on the following Monday. So that weekend I watched Al Gore’s film, “An Inconvenient Truth” and I made slides for my presentation based on, which my grandfather had bought for me. When I read how much CO2 we are putting into the air with our cars, airplanes, houses, factories, and power plants and what CO2 and the other greenhouse

gases* do to the atmosphere, it made me really upset. With the warming of

the climate, the melting of the glaciers, and sea lever rise, our future is being destroyed, and people are just sitting around discussing it! Why haven’t we done something? On the internet I read about Wangari Maathai* from Kenya. During her life she

ga*sesGreenhouse and why they are becoming more dangerous for our climate is explained on page 42.

has planted trees in many African countries and has also fought against the selfish

interests of the rich. Then I had the idea that we kids could also plant trees! Children all

Learn more *about Wangari

over the world could join in and work together, Maathai on page 18. like a big global family! If Wangari Maathai can manage to make sure that 30 million trees in Africa are planted in 30 years, then we kids could absolutely do it too, planting at least one million trees in every country of the world. Right?

one of Wangari planting n trees. the thirty millio


A presentation with consequences The next Monday I gave my presentation in front of the class. I called it, “The The end of the polar bears was the beginning.

End of the Polar Bears.” I told everybody about the greenhouse effect and what the increase of CO2 has to do with the increase in climate temperature. I also spoke about how trees bind CO2 and turn it into oxygen. Trees help make greenhouse gases harmless. Of course, I realized, there need to be more trees – we just have to make sure that they are planted! So, at the end of my presentation I told my classmates, “Let us plant one million trees in every country on earth.” Since then we have been planting trees. Through this we are setting an example for climate justice. Compared to an African, an American emmits 40 times as much CO2 and an European 20 times as much. If every person had the right to put out an equal amount of CO2, let us say 1.5 tons of CO2, then an African, who puts out only half a ton, could sell the rights for the other 1.0 ton to somebody else, someone who wants to drive a big car for example. Individuals would have to dig a little deeper into their pockets for this luxury. In this case the African would receive more money for not affecting the environment as much as the others, and with the money they could do good things like building schools and hospitals. This could ultimately help to change the fact that over 30,000 people, mainly children, are

Frithjof ­Finkbeiner talks about his son, Felix:

dying of starvation and easily avoidable diseases every single day. 30,000 in an incredible rich world.


About Felix Finkbeiner Felix has always been an independent kid. Already

in Bavaria call a “thick wood driller” or in High Ger-

at the age of seven, he travelled alone every day

man, a headstrong individual, but in a good-sense

from our little village of Paehl for four hours on the


train, bus, and tram system to Augsburg and back,

When he was 9 years old and had the idea about

because he absolutely insisted on attending the

planting trees all over the world, we thought it

international school there. For us parents, it was

was really nice, but we didn’t really give it a lot

a hard time. When he takes to something, he is

of thought– until early 2008 when we had a key

incredibly determined and persistent; he is what we


At first I was amazed at how much interest I had awakened in my class. My classmates thought it was a great idea and my teacher thought so, too. Two days later she let me hold my presentation in front of representatives from each class in the school. And on Thursday I held the same presentation once more, in front of the head of school! Pretty soon I was traveling with a laptop to other schools, explaining what the climate crisis is and talking about my tree-planting idea. At this time I was 9 years old.

The presentation at the school was really well ­accepted. Probably because there are a lot of c ­ hildren who are really worried about the climate c ­ risis like I am and they want to do something about it too. And maybe they feel like I do, that adults should stop talking and finally do something. I think that if we children don’t find solutions and force adults to act, then nothing will happen for a long time! We kids have to work together! All of the bigger problems that we are currently facing can only be solved on a global level. The climate crisis, the resources depletion, the loss of biodiversity, the financial crisis, the conflict between the rich and the poor all of this is more than likely not solvable as long as everybody only thinks and acts as if their own country should have the biggest gain. Clearly there can be no global contract when everybody thinks only about themselves. Only when we see ourselves as a global family, as global citizens,

When Felix was 5 years old his Aunt Michi gave him an oversized cuddly-toy polar bear for Christmas. The polar bear became his favourite animal: pyjamas, t-shirts, calendars, posters, bed linen – all of them covered in polar bears. When he had to give a presentation in Year 6 about climate change he already knew what the title would be: “The End of the Polar Bears”. The Arctic and the polar bear were in trouble. Time to do something about it. Time to plant trees.

and only when we understand that the future isn’t divisible, will we be able to solve all of these problems.


The Global Marshall Plan Foundation, which was

in line to get in! The story was reported and written

founded by my wife and me, had organized the

about 500 times! It was at this point that we and

World Commons Forum in Berlin. A fantastic event

our foundation first understood how much power

with a press conference, experts from all over the

children wield in this fight. But for the children, this

world and many important and influential people,

fight is not over economic growth, influence, or

but nobody from the press was seen there. Not

production figures, it is the fight for their future,

one! A month later Felix and his friends organized

their lives. Their credibility and sincerity of pur-

their own press conference in the Munich Liter-

pose is something that we adults often lack.

ature House, and people from the press stood

We are growing! Many childern and youth have already joined our campaign. The high-school graduates Gregor, Sascha, and Christian, who came to us from the Protestant Academy in Tutzing, created a website for us, over 100 students helped us to send letters to other schools. My sisters Franziska and Flurina helped me and also my parents. Now the only thing left was to find a name for our movement. On the internet I finally discovered that in 2003 the UNEP had started a project rg r-the-planet.o www.plant-fo

for kids called Plant-for-the-Planet (By the way, UNEP is the abbreviation of the United Nations Environment Programme, the department of the UN*which is responsible for the protection of the environment). For a long time nothing had really been done with this project - but WE wanted to do it and immediately! Plant-for-the-Planet - the name matched perfectly with our plans.

UN (Uni*tedTheNations) is

a union of many countries from around the world. Its main tasks are: the security of the free world, observing international law, protection of human rights, and the promotion of international cooperation.

Because everybody on earth has to work together, an English name for our organization made sense. It is the only way we could guarantee that people from all nationalities could come together. We children want our voices to be heard! Incidentally, Wangari Maathai matched our start with the UNEP with the launch of her own “Billion Tree Campaign” for adults. Together, the adult´s and children’s campaign is called Plant-for-the-Planet Billion Tree Campaign. On March 28, 2007, two months after my presentation, we planted our first tree in front of my school. Shortly after, other schools began to follow.


Journalists from newspapers and from radios came and wanted to know more about our idea. In November 2007 I gave my first official presentation to the Rotary Club in Weilheim, Germany. The CEO from Toyota Germany was also present. He came up to the stage and invited me in front of all people to hold a presentation for 1,200 Toyota car dealers in Cologne on December 6. I accepted immediately. Before I left for Cologne it became really hectic because I thought that I had forgotten my notes. After the presentation I finally found them though -- in one of my socks! I had stuffed them there so that I wouldn’t forget them at home … but ever since then I haven’t needed my notes to give a presentation. Our first tree was planted on March 28, 2007. However, in just a year I was able to announce at a press conference that we had already planted 50,000

trees. The story of what we children had done for our own future was reported everywhere: in newspapers, TV, radio and on the internet. In June 2008, I traveled to Norway in order to hold a presentation about climate justice in front of 700 children from 105 countries at the children’s conference of the UNEP. Afterwards the other children in the Youth Board of the UNEP voted for me to join them. The Board consists of 7 children, each one representing an entire continent. “My” continent is Europe and my task is to explain to as many people as possible that we absolutely need to do something against the crises of the climate, justice, and inequality, not sometime in the future, but now! Even in my wildest dreams I never thought that Plant-for-the-Planet would be such a success! But a very important part of my idea was that we children would tackle these problems together – including the fact that not only I, but also as many other kids as possible, would travel around, giving presentations and interviews, organizing information events and hosting tree-planting parties. Plant-for-thePlanet is a message that needs Ambassadors! Today I am no longer the only person who is giving presentations and calling for tree-planting parties. Now, all over the world, there are over 51,000 ­Climate Justice Ambassadors, children from over 193 countries working with Plant-for-

Together we can achieve quite a lot!

the-Planet. And people are really listening to us! Our idea is contagious!


Alone I would have had no chance to answer every request for presentations and interviews. We simply had to have more kids. Initially many kids don’t have the confidence to take over such a task, but actually it’s not a problem at all! They only have to study the facts about climate change and know how to present the information to other people. At the end of October 2008, we invited a group of students to our first “Academy” in a meeting place in Sonnenberg, Germany. Every school in the state of Lower Saxony was allowed to send 2 kids. Franziska, Gregor and I held presentations at the Academy and explained our experiences to the students. Suddenly it didn’t seem like such a strange idea that they could give presentations, not only to other children but in front of adults too. Now the children had the confidence to explain to everyone how we can tackle these critical problems. More *mation

inforabout these Academies and what you can learn through them is on page 94.

Since then, many of these Academies have already* taken place; and not only

in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, but also in Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Burundi, Chile, China, the Dominican Republic, France, Ghana, Great Britain, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Italy, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Kenya, Columbia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Zambia, Scotland, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, the Czech Republic, Uganda, The USA, and the United Arab Emirates and many other countries in the near future!

Prominent people with Plant-for-the-Planet


To make sure that our Plant-for-the-Planet movement spreads around the world as quickly as possible, it needs many Climate Justice Ambassadors. Therefore, from the very beginning we gave it a lot of thought who would be most-suited for this job - aside from us children of course. Who could be better than the people who

alk. Don’t t Plant!

are really well known?! In a short amount of time we won over many prominent* and influential people to our cause, people who find our idea really great and who agree with us about how important it is. Included in this group are musicians, athletes, scientists, politicians and many other high-profile people in society. These include, for example, Michael Stich (tennis player), Klaus Töpfer, (scientist, politician and former director of the UN Environment Programme), Gesine Schwan (politician), Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, Hans Küng (author and theologian), Gisele Bündchen (model and actress from Brazil), Harrison

Incidentally, *“prominent” refers to “excellent” which naturally makes us happy – because it means that we are able to work alongside so many “excellent” people!

Ford (actor), Han Seung-soo (former prime minister of South Korea), Masenate Mohato Seeiso (Queen of Lesotho), Wei Wei (Chinese pop star), Til Schweiger (actor) and many more. We aren’t saying that to brag. We’re saying it because we are excited so many well known and influential people are really supporting our cause! And we are sure that we are going to find many, many more people who want join us.

affay Prince

Peter M

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Wangari Maathai (1940 - 2011): Mama Miti - The Mother of Trees The most common reason why people plant trees is because they want to use them later on, as fuel for a fire or as building material. Sometimes, people might want fruit from the tree, for example apples, plums, pears, or ­cherries. Trees are often planted for aesthetic reasons. Indeed, the special charm of most parks and This is a quote *from the book, “Trees Save the World!” in which Wangari Maathai’s life and story is reported about very detailed. Through it you learn how Wangari Maathai became the “Mother of Trees,” as well as bright role-model for the world and especially for us from Plant-forthe-Planet.

gardens can be attributed to an abundance of lush and beautiful trees. In earlier times, trees were planted along the roadside, in order to provide shade for travellers and horse-drawn carriages. There have always been people who planted trees with the aim of improving their environment. For example, designers of ancient cities knew that forests or green-belts can improve the quality of the air if the wind blows through them before it reaches the city. With this knowledge they began the tradition of planting forests on the side of the city from which the wind typically came. Felix first came up with the idea of Plant-for-the-Planet when he read about Wangari Maathai, an African woman who planted trees in order to save her country. For her, it wasn’t necessarily a question of obtaining wood or fruit, it wasn’t even about the beauty of the trees themselves; what she wanted was to make something that was about more than personal use. She wanted to create something that could be used and enjoyed by everyone.



Wangari Maathai was born in Kenya on April 1, 1940. When she was small her mother often sent her out to gather wood, telling her many interesting stories about the trees and shrubs of her African homeland. At that time, the fig trees were sacred and Wangari knew that you were not allowed to disturb their peace. “Even the fallen branches should not be collected,”* was something she used to say. Many of the children in Africa may have also heard such

advice … eventually forgotten, but not Wangari. She soaked up all information to do with the living world, like a tree root soaking up water. Another thing that Wangari’s mother often told her, hoping that she would someday make it her life motto, was “Do not just sit around idly, go plant something!” Later, Wangari would become world-famous for doing exactly that.

First things first. Wangari was


lucky that her intelligence and ability was noticed by some of the local missionary

sisters. Together the sisters decided to make sure that this young Kenyan girl from the countryside could attend a well-known convent school and be given a good education. Wangari’s performance in school was so good that she went on to receive a scholarship to study abroad. First she travelled to the United States and afterwards to Germany to study biology. In 1971 she was the first Kenyan woman at the University of Nairobi to receive her PhD. That same year she became the first Professor of Anatomy in veterinary medicine.

Why Wangari became active It was a specific experience that led Wangari to devote herself to protect the environment. Petra Schäfer-Timpner writes*: “When she was searching the

surrounding environment in Nairobi for ticks to study in her laboratory she saw with horror that the rivers were full of mud, which pour out onto the streets, and that the cows were emaciated because they could not find enough grass to eat. Suddenly everything became clear to Wangari. She realized that the ticks weren’t the worst thing for the cattle farming, the worst thing was the destruction of the environment … Then afterward she discovered that her beloved fig tree had

Petra *Schäfer-Timpner

is the author of the book, “Trees Save the World!”


been cut to make room for a tea plantation … And that a nearby brook, which she used to play in as a child, had been purposely dried up.” Wangari Maathai could see that the defiling and devastation of the land clearly had a lot to do with the fact that the trees had disappeared. For many years the Kenyan government had been clearing forests so that coffee and tea could be planted in their place. Entire forests were destroyed!

Wangari had already been a member of the National Council of Women of Kenya

Kenyan Fig Tree

(NCWK) for some years. At the next meeting she told the other women about her idea of “planting” to protect against soil erosion and drought. Wangari was sure that her colleagues also knew how trees could help to keep the ground firm. Even in torrential rain, which is normal during the rainy season in Africa, the roots of tree can stop precious soil from being washed away.

Trees hold the ground firm!

On the other hand, Wangari knew how difficult life could be for the people in the small villages and she knew that they could not afford to fight against the depletion of their forests at the expense of the use of firewood for cooking and staying warm. Simply put, they would cut off the branch on which they sat. Does anybody really have the right to tell the poor, who often have far too few resources already, “Keep your hands off the trees?” Isn’t that like denying the last few kernels of corn to a starving person?



Wangari Maathai took a big step forward with her idea when she participated in the first UN Women’s Conference in Mexico City in 1975. Attendees from 133 countries around the world were in agreement that the three areas, women, development and environment should be considered as a single unit.


In 1977 the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK), commissioned Wangari (who was already at that time a well-known scientist both nationally and internationally) to put her tree-planting idea into action. That was the beginning of the “Green Belt Movement”.

Green Belt Movement The beginning was not easy. Police forces of the corrupt Moi* government

destroyed the seedlings that women had hand planted. From the first day, the movement had to fight to survive. But the pioneers of the Green Belt Movement were not discouraged. Eventually Wangari received a commitment from the Kenyan Forest Service that they would provide one million seedlings for free. Unfortunately when the women began to


Daniel arap Moi was President of Kenya from 1978 to 2002. Although he was elected, his presidency was really a dictatorship.

engage in planting parties throughout the country, the Forest Service broke its promise. “Only against payment,” one told Wangari and her helpers, implying that they were also against the women. Unfortunately there was no money available to purchase a hundred thousand seedlings, let alone a million! The people from the Forest Service knew this and hoped that by breaking their promise they could get rid of the “troublesome” women. The idea that finally saved the movement, was actually quite simple: “We’ll grow our own seedlings!” How it worked was that women from the countryside received 4 US-cents for every seedling they grew at home from the Green Belt Movement. This may not sound like a lot, but for many of these women it was the first own money that they had earned in their entire lives. For the first time the women could purchase basic essentials for themselves and their families, essentials which up to that point had been out of reach.

Wangari Maathai distributing seeds to the villagers and convincing politicians.


In 1981 Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, hosted the UN Conference on the theme of “Renewable Energy”. For Wangari this presented a great opportunity to meet many other like-minded people from around the world. Colleagues from the Norwegian Forestry Board offered her a small salary so she would have the time and opportunity to grow and strengthen the Green Belt Movement even further. Money also came from the United Nations (UN) so that her organization could start to pay full-time employees. The Green Belt Movement developed slowly and tentatively in the beginning, but now it has become strong and hardy, like a young tree in good soil. Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come. Wangari achieved further success by bringing many high school graduates from Nairobi into the organization to work as inspectors. Delegations from all over Africa continued to open their doors to the women of the Green Belt Movement – hoping that they also could learn how to protect their own country’s environment like these inspirational women. The idea blossomed and continued to bear fruit.


Petra Schäfer Timpner writes: “In 1989 together with Mother Theresa, Wangari Maathai was awarded the Woman of the World prize. She personally received the prize from Princess Diana. This event spread knowledge and awareness about the Green Belt Movement around the world. However, what Wangari was most happy about was that the world was finally seeing great things happening in Africa, great things that were led by the initiative of African women.”

2004 22

In 2004 Wangari Maathai was the first African woman ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This was the first time that Wangari’s protection of the environment – along with her resistance against the Moi-Dictatorship – had been recognized as a peace-keeping action. But as the leader of the Nobel Prize committee Ole Danbold Mjøs wisely stated: “Peace on the Earth depends upon our ability to maintain a living environment.” This prize honored both her efforts to protect the environment and her courage for attempting to change the government of Kenya. Earlier, when Daniel arap Moi was just running for office, Wangari Maathai had risked her own safety by standing up as a presidential candidate against him – a bold action which resulted in her being sent to prison where she was sadly mistreated. At Amnesty International she thanked all the people from many countries around the world who had given her their support while she was in detention: “I cannot count the number of times that they saved my life and have made our work possible.”

The Green Belt Movement is active in 13 countries, and has established over 600 tree nurseries. So far, over 30 million trees have been planted by members of the movement. They thanked her giving a nickname, “Mama Miti,” which means “Mother of Trees” in Swahili, Kenya’s native language.

Billion Tree Campaign When a corporate group in the United States told Wangari Maathai it was planning to plant a million trees, her spontaneous response was: “That’s great, but what we really need is to plant a billion trees.” The idea of a Billion Tree Campaign was born and it was launched during the UN climate summit COP12 in November 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya, under the patronage of Wangari Maathai and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and the support of the UNEP. At the same time,


ten thousand kilometres away in Germany, Christmas time, Felix was reading in Al Gore’s book “An Inconvenient Truth”. In the internet he learned about Wangari Maathai, that inspiring women from Africa.


Wangari Maathai receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004

Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Initiative On January 15, 2007 when Felix was in the 4th grade he gave his first presentation about the climate crisis in his class. His logic: if women in Africa are able


to plant a million trees each year, we children worldwide will be able to plant a million trees in every country of the world. This was the launch of the Plant-forthe-Planet Children´s Initiative. The adults in the Billion Tree Campaign succeeded to bring the billionth tree in the ground in November 2007. Felix and his friends in the Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Initiative reached the first millionth tree in May 2010.

Plant-for-the-Planet Billion Tree Campaign


On September 21, 2009 Wangari and Felix met for the first time in New York. Both attended a press conference of the UNEP during the UN General Assembly. Wangari Maathai underlined the need for the campaign by saying: “People talk too much. We are no longer talking, we are working. The challenge now is to tell the world to go dig holes and plant seedlings. I have no doubt we will achieve our goal.” Felix presented in New York at the same time the campaign “Stop talking. Start planting.” Wangari and Felix decided to cooperate closely together in future in the Plant-for-the-


Planet Billion Tree Campaign. Felix made the pictures for the campaign „Stop talking. Start planting.” with Wangari, Gisele Buendchen, Jia Zhibang, the Chinese Minister of Forestry and many others. Two years later, it was in New York again, both Felix and Wangari were invited by the United Nations to address the UN General Assembly on the occasion of the opening of the International Year of Forests on February 2, 2011. In his UN-speech Felix proposed to Wangari Maathai to set a 1.000

Felix and Wangari Maathai meeting for the first time in New York in September 2009

billion trees as a new official goal. Wangari was excited by that proposal.

e Billion Tree Handover of thchim Steiner, Campaign by A Albert II to the UNEP and Princean, South Africa, rb children in Du ber 2011 em ec D

When Felix travelled to Africa in July 2011, he also visited Nyeri in Kenya, Wangari’s home town, but Wangari was already very sick. In Nairobi, the capital of Kenya at the headquarters of the UNEP, Felix had a meeting with its Executive


Director Achim Steiner and agreed on the handover of the Billion Tree Campaign to the children of Plant-for-the-Planet. Wangari and Felix were therefore supposed to meet at the UN Climate Summit COP17 in Durban in December 2011. On September 25, 2011, this inspiring and wonderful woman passed away. Felix wrote in his diary: “Wangari, you were such an inspiring personality. You will continue to live in thousands of children. We children will fulfil your vision! You will be proud of us while looking down to earth!” When Mama Miti, the mother of trees died the children took over the responsibility for the Billion Tree Campaign. 14 billion trees were pledged and 12.5 billion trees planted at that time. In Durban, South Africa, Felix and friends were calling all world citizens for action: “Two trees for each citizen in five years is a good start. But now we have to speed up: Every world citizen should plant 150 trees to reach 1,000 billion trees until 2020. We will continue planting trees until we will have reached 1,000 billion trees. Wangari Maathai has demonstrated that by planting trees she was successfully empowering the women in Africa. By planting trees together worldwide we will learn to understand that we are world citizens and we will empower ourselves in a global movement for sustainability.” The handover of the official tree counter from the UNEP to the children of Plantfor-the-Planet was a historical event and a real empowerment for all the children of the world. Every government, company and citizen now reports to the children how many trees they pledge to plant or have already planted.


Our appeal for the largest afforestation project in human history On May 20, 2015 in Munich, Yugratna, a member of the Global Board of Plant-forthe-Planet from India said, “In the last 8 years, with the help of many adults, we children and youth planted 14 billion trees.* The time has come for the governments, billionaires and international corporations to contribute their part for the

survival of our children and youth.” Our goal is to plant one trillion (1,000 billion) trees. If we managed to land on the moon within just ten years,* then we can

also achieve this project. The moon landing was a prestige project. The largest afforestation project in history is about the survival of our generation, since only


On May 25, 1961, former US president John F. Kennedy called on Americans to land a man on the moon within ten years. On July 21, 1969, the US American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.

with these trillion trees we will be able to keep the average temperature rise below the 2° limit. Global warming threatens life as we know it today. Millions of climate refugees are already on the move and are seeking a new home. We are at the beginning of the greatest migration in human history. Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to leave their homes in the next decades because their crops are withering, floods are increasing, and they don’t see any prospect for survival in their home-countries. Many countries, like the USA and India, are trying to protect themselves from refugees by building fences or border walls, but no wall could ever be high enough to keep out millions of people. The only way to solve the refugee crisis is to solve the climate crisis.



How does this work?

Many billions of trees are recorded on our tree counter. Our partner organizations on the following pages have only planted a few million of those trees with money donated to Plant-for-the-Planet. The Plant-for-the-Planet Children and Youth initiative has two tasks: 1.

We children inspire other children so that they also give lectures on the climate crisis and then adults start to emit less CO2 and plant more trees.


Along with our partners in southern countries, we collect donations and plant one tree for every Euro.

We count all the trees that are planted in our tree counter. More than 26,000 organizations report the number of trees they planted themselves to us. These reported trees account for more than 99% of the trees in the counter.

For instance, on April 14 and 15, 2015, 900 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea off the European coast. The young refugees from the African countries know that only some refugees make it to Europe alive, but they had nothing to lose. On the one hand one trillion additional trees will store one quarter of the manmade CO2 emissions and thus give us a little more time to implement a worldwide energy transition. In order to limit the average temperature increase to 2°C, the energy transition must be implemented by 2050. However, we are doing far too little to accomplish this. It is also worth considering that planting and caring (in the initial years) for those trillion trees will create about 100 million jobs in some of the poorest parts of the world. In addition to the tree planters themselves, the scheme would also lift the communities around them out of poverty and provide wood as a valuable resource. Therefore, the Billion Tree Campaign simultaneously addresses two of the most important reasons for flight: poverty and climate crisis. If only 1000 major companies or billionaires promises to each plant just a billion trees, then we will achieve these trillion trees. We invite every billionaire on the Forbes list and every major company in the world to participate in the Billion Tree Campaign.


At www.billion-tree-campaign.org, everyone can follow along as the tree counter increases from 14 billion today

Our goal

towards the 1,000 billion pledged trees. Join in This amount of trees should be planted worldwide. Click here to see future seasons


Franz-Josef Radermacher is the professor of “Databases and Artificial Intelligence” at the University of Ulm in Germany. Like us, he supports global equity and a world in balance.

The significance of afforestation On September 2, 2013, many climate experts met at the invitation of our patron Klaus Töpfer at his IASS Institute in Potsdam, Germany. Together they contributed their experiences and perspectives on the future climate negotiations and prepared this graph, which Franz-Josef Radermacher* summarized. The graph

shows the yearly amount of CO2 emitted worldwide from 2015 through 2050. The

areas represent accumulated CO2, because CO2 remains in the atmosphere for approximately 100 years and only then begins to slowly decrease. The absorption capacity of the atmosphere is the limiting factor, since global warming is a direct consequence of the CO2 concentration. bn tons ct”

Contribution through political initiatives

Contribution from the private sector


tra con




1,600 billion tons

-500 billion tons


limit of

CO2 un


the redu

ction gr





nced ne

2° graph




emission´s budget permitted


act g



s rights

e CO e 2 missi issi on

gative em


zation a

ogical se




-250 billion tons -250 billion tons

(WBGU approach)


600 billion tons

If we continue as we have in the past, by 2050 we will emit a total of 1,600 billion tons of CO2 worldwide. The average temperature will likely increase by approximately 6 °C. That has unforeseeable consequences for the world climate and our


German Advisory Council on Global Change (Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Bundesregierung Globale Umweltveränderungen [WBGU])

survival on the planet. We don’t know what life at +6 °C looks like but we know that once there was 2 km of ice above us when the average temperature was 5 °C lower than today. In order to prevent the most serious consequences, the global average temperature cannot increase more than +2 °C. According to calculations by the WBGU*, if we want to stay within this 2 °C upper limit by 2050, then as a global community we must not emit more than 600 billion tons of CO2. From the graph it also becomes apparent which effects a worldwide climate contract has on the CO2 emissions and which additional measures should be taken if we as the human race want to stay within the 2 °C limit.

Curve 1: If there is no internationally binding global climate treaty, another 1,600 billion tons of CO2 will accumulate in the atmosphere. Curve 2: We enter into an internationally binding global climate treaty. This treaty is based on the so-called Copenhagen formula. It states that all countries must reduce their emissions. Each country decides independently how many tons. This also takes into account that the non-industrialized countries will still grow economically. The desired result from this is known as “dynamic global cap”. Different countries will also use various tools to reduce their emissions, for example, regional trade of CO2 certificates (cap-and-trade system), energy efficient improvements, forest conservation, and a tax on CO2 emissions. Additionally, the industrialized countries pay into a Green Climate Fund, so that they support the other countries in making the necessary adjustments. This gives the formula a justice component. Even the agreed amount of greenhouse gas emissions in an ambitious globally

COP stands for *“Conference of the parties”.

binding climate treaty, as the one was approved at the UNFCCC COP21* 2015 in Paris, will lead to an increase in the average temperature of +4 °C. With that

type of treaty, the emission will only be reduced by 500 billion tons down to 1,100 billion tons. How can we still keep the +2 °C limit? Curves 3 and 4 show voluntary measures. The private sector, in other words companies, organizations, and private individuals, should contribute an additional 500 billion ton reduction in CO2 emissions. The policy must provide a framework for this, since without voluntary contributions from companies, the 2 °C limit will not be adhered to. (3) Companies and wealthy individuals buy emissions rights but don’t use them and tear up the certificates instead. This way they voluntarily lower the amount of CO2. They have nothing to gain from this, other than an increase in their reputation. Voluntary participation and enhanced image is also the motivation for the curve (4). These are the so-called negative emissions such as massive afforestation that removes atmospheric CO2. This is where Plant-for-the-Planet comes in with the Billion Tree Campaign. The reasoning behind this is that in a few years, when the consequences of climate change become more noticeable over time even in the wealthy countries (such as the drought in California), consumers will buy products only from those companies whose products are climate neutral and who publicly tear up emissions certificates every year. If only one out of every two billionaires would plant one billion trees now, we would have one trillion new trees. In addition, we call on businesses, unions, industries and governments to support the world’s largest afforestation program and to pledge the 986 billion trees shortfall by the year 2020.


How many new trees can we fit on our earth? Or: How many carbon reservoirs can we still plant? When Felix called upon mankind to plant 1,000 billion new trees at the UN General Assembly in February, 2011, he did so with very little scientific evidence. Because no scientist knew how many trees currently exist in the world; how many have been cut down in the past; how many additional trees can be planted and where is the best place to plant. Luckily, Gregor Hintler* then started studying forestry at Yale University in the

USA. Within the first semester in the summer of 2012, Gregor wrote a pilot

study for Plant-for-the-Planet on precisely these questions. He found that there was very little and somewhat contradictory information available about the forested areas of the world. Satellite photos from space were the best source of information. These can tell you where forests are, but unfortunately not how many trees they contain. But Gregor did find reliable information about the Amazon region. Other scientists had already studied the tropical rain forest and counted its trees. They estimated that there are about 390 billion (390,000,000,000) trees growing in the Amazon region alone (approximately 25 times as large as Great Britain). A few countries, like Germany (around 7 billion trees), had available data, but most countries did not. In these estimates, trees are defined as plants that have a diameter of 10 cm at breast hight.


Gregor’s pilot study drew the interest of three post-doctorate Yale students, under the leadership of Thomas Crowther, his friend from the university. The four of them started an official multiyear study in which Yale answered all of


Gregor Hintler, a graduate of Tutzing High School helped Felix and Franziska plant the first tree at Felix’s school on March 28, 2007. Gregor then organized the first Academy on October 31, 2008. While he was studying forestry at the US American Yale University, Gregor was able to convince his Yale professors to carry out a multi-year research project on behalf of Plant-for-the-Planet.

these questions for Plant-for-the-Planet. The group used a combination of various methods to create a global model of all trees. Most importantly, they connected the satellite photographs with hundred-thousands of ground data plots, showing tree density, collected from different researchers around the world. We now know the number of trees in each country of the world. Tom was teased over the years by his fellow professors as the “tree counter”. But Tom stuck with it and on September 2, 2015, his findings were published in the Journal Nature, the most prestigious paper in his field. After the publication, Yale called it the University’s most successful publication.* You can find the complete study at: http://www.nature.com/news/global-count-reaches-3-trillion-trees-1.18287

Our commis*sioned study

was the 4th biggest scientific discovery in the last decade according to the Altmetric ranking system, one place ahead of NASA’s discovery of water on Mars.

What you need to know: •

There are 3.04 trillion trees on earth. About 450 trees per person.

About 11,000 years ago (before we started cutting them down), there

were twice as many trees.

Every year 15.3 billion trees are chopped down while only 5.8 billion

are replanted. This results in a loss of 9.5 billion trees every year.

Most importantly: There are enough unused, degraded lands (areas that used to be forest) to plant between 700 billion and 1.2 trillion additional trees. About 150 trees per person. Therefore, we need a Billion Tree Campaign. Most schools teach that trees produce oxygen (O2). That is true, but we don’t have an oxygen problem. We have a carbon dioxide (CO2) problem. What is important about trees is that they store carbon in their wood and that way take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. But, if after a few decades the tree dies, the carbon dioxide returns back into the atmosphere. If instead the wood is turned into furniture or wooden buildings, the carbon remains stored in the wood. So while it is counterintuitive, it is important to understand that


using trees is very positive. Of course, when harvesting trees, they have to be replaced. Half of the buildings that will exist in 2050 have not been built yet, so there is a big potential to create buildings that store carbon. This does not mean that we should cut down rainforests or other, ancient ecosystems and then replant them. Since that process destroys the habitat of many plant and animal species. According to our initial rough


calculation, planting these trillion trees would store about Âź of human made CO2 emissions annually. But the advantages go much further: such a project will probably create about 100 million jobs, in the countries where these are needed most. The trees planted will turn into a valuable construction resource

that can be used in the local industries. Additionally, these trees will help fight the expansion of deserts and create habitats for plant and animal species, to fight extinction. In the course of the next couple of years we will conduct research to determine all these benefits.

Paulina Sanchez Espinosa (21), president of Plant-for-the-Planet from Mexico, says this: “Every tree binds 10 kg CO2 per year. As a result, afforestation will be the cheapest, easiest to implement and the only worldwide scalable method for CO2 capture and storage.”

Felix Finkbeiner (18), founder of Plant-for-the-Planet from Germany, adds:

“An additional 1,000 billion trees would sequester, or bind, a quarter of the annual man-made CO2 emissions. This is currently 36 billion tons. One thousand large companies or one thousand wealthy private individuals, who promise that they will each plant one billion trees, would be enough to achieve our goal of 1,000 billion trees.”


Carolina I really care about the global warming consequences and the impact to our

Raphael I am with Plant-

future and the future generations. Nowadays, we are a lot of humans on this


planet, we weren‘t born with the purpose to destroy our planet, even though we

because I think it is really

always wanted to dominate, control and ecploit every living thing on this planet.

important that we take

While we find more ways to manipulate the earth, the impact becomes bigger

care of the environment

every year, due to of the new industries and technologies. Now that we are

together. If we finally

beginning to realize the problems, we want

begin to start planting

to make a change. But changes aren´t easy,


trees, then maybe we can

it is a slow process. If we work all together

I am interested in every-

have an influence on the

worldwide, we can make a change.

thing about climate. I think it is very important to

climate crisis.

know how and why the environmental catastrophe is getting Lea and Mira

worse. We have already talked

We joined because we think it is really important that people

about this a little during some

are educated about the important topic of climate change. It is about our

of our school presentations.

future!! We believe that even though we are children we can still influence

That was really interesting and

world events. We don’t have to listen to those who say, “You have to be an

I was really glad that I could do

adult before you can do that.” We think Felix’s idea is super and we want as

it all with my friend Jona. We

many people as possible to take part, so that his idea can be like a snowball

have both been a big help to

rolling down a hill, always growing.

each other.


Alina and

I joined because I want


to do something for our


We participate because we have to take our

future. Most adults talk a lot,

future into our own hands. The politicians just talk. We

but they never really do anything

immediately start to do something! Every small contribution

about what they say. They refuse

is better than big promises. We also have a lot of fun.

to act because they think only about the present and their own comfort.

Max, Szesima


They don’t have to worry about this

and Karoline

I have been

catastrophe because when we are

We joined


older they’ll already be gone and they

because we don´t want to remain in

since September

won’t feel its effects. So if comfort

the history books as the generation

2010 and my

and money are more important to

that allowed all of the coastal

goal is to make

many adults than we children, then

countries to be flooded by rising sea

sure that China

we will have to do something about it

levels. No, we want to be known as

also becomes a

ourselves, because they won’t do it

the generation that was successful


on their own.

in conquering the most difficult crisis


humankind has had to face.

Jule and Merle

Why did I join?

We have to take care of the future, because otherwise we won’t

We have to do something! Doing nothing and just waiting for the dire predictions about climate change to become reality, is not an option. Of course, sometimes we ask ourselves if we’re making a difference.

be able to survive. With the Plant-for-the-Planet

“Isn’t it already too late …?”

campaign we are taking action

A wise man has once said: “The question of whether help has come too

time. Through the extend of

and having fun at the same

late or just in time can’t always be answered with a clear yes or a no.

the initiative we receive a lot of

But one thing is certain: those who gave up have already lost!”

attention and we keep hearing

We won’t give up! In fact, quite the opposite - we are just starting to make things right!


that this is why it is such a

Leon I joined because I want to help


save our Earth – and

Plant-for-the-Planet is

that can only happen

a huge network and


if people understand

connects children from many

There are many reasons: for one, I

our environment

different countries. Together

would still like to see snow when I’m

better. I want to help

we are powerful and adults

older. It’s mostly about my future, and about

enlighten our fellow

have to pay attention to us.

dreatful frightful of people in the third world.

humans, to explain to

Through Plant-for-the-Planet I

To me, climate protection is a big part of

them, for example,

can invite even more children

social responsibility.

that a person doesn’t

to join our campaigns.

need to eat meat every day, because an


unimaginable amount Julian

of the CO2 in the air

In Indonesia I saw and expe-

is caused by meat

rienced pollution of the environment


I think it’s great that we can make new friends all over the world and save our

more than here in Germany. I have seen


planet, all while having

forest destuction first hand and the consequences it can

fun at the same time.

lead to - many landslides causing the death of countless animals. The pollution car traffic and mopeds has had


a big effect and led to regular smog alarms in Jakarta.

I talk to my friends and everyone else about how important it is to save trees as we prepare for global warming. The future


belongs to us!

I joined because Plant-for-the-Planet is a real democratic organised children´s initiative. We


children can only save our future by building up a

Why did I join? Because with

worldwide network to show the adults that we are the

Plant-for-the-Planet we can do

majority on this planet.

something for our environment!

What is climate justice? 

38 50

How trees help to counteract the climate crisis  54

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.“ Native American Quote

What does climate change mean?

Climate in crisis 


Climate in crisis If a heavy snowstorm occurs in the midst of May, many people say: “Oh, that’s just climate change.” Or if it rains all day in the peak of summer and the rivers flow over their banks, people hear – sometimes even on TV: “This is global warming – global warming caused this.” However, crazy weather doesn’t necessarily have to be related to climate change, because the climate and the weather are actually two completely different things. Clara conducted an interview with Sven Ploeger, the “Weatherman” from ARD (a German national TV). Through this interview we learnt much more than just the difference between the weather and the climate, as you will see:

Clara’s interview with the “weatherman” from a German TV channel. „Is it ok if I use your first name?”

“Yes, absolutely! Mr. Ploeger sounds much too old-fashioned for my taste.”

name of the job you do?” “Well, I am officially a certified Mete-

“The same goes for me. Feel free

ologist: I am a certified Meteologist,

to use my first name.”

because I have studied meteorology.

From the very begining of my inter-

However, because I also announce the

view with Sven Ploeger everything

weather, I’m called a ‘weatherman.”

was relaxed. Almost all of the

“How long have you worked

answers he gave to me were highly

as a Weatherman?”

detailed and comprehensive.


“Sven, what exactly is the

“I believe it’s been around 14 years now.”

“In my presentations as a Climate

“From day to day, not really. In the last

Justice Ambassador, I always

100 years, the average temperature

explain the climate as the average

in Germany has risen about 1.1 °C

temperature, but that is a little

(1.98 degrees Fahrenheit), and around

bit simplified. Can you explain

the world about 0.7 °C (1.26 degrees

more specifically what it is?”

Fahrenheit) – the result of many years

“Climate is not only the average

of measurements.

temperature in any given place, it is

This may seem small, but the Earth’s

also average rainfall, along with other

average temperature has only risen

weather conditions. It is a measure-

about 4 °C (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit)

ment determined over a span of about

since the last ice age, which was

30 years. Therefore, it always takes

about 11,000 years ago. If we contin-

the average (weather), along with both

ue to act as we have, the temperature

time and space, into consideration.

in the next 100 years will rise between

Our global climate is thus the result of

2 – 4 °C (3.6 – 7.2 degrees Fahren-

30-years (weather) averages across

heit). So far, fluctuations of storm

the entire Earth. One very important

patterns in Germany have remained

difference between the two though, is

mostly normal.

that we can feel the weather but not

But when the atmosphere gets warm-

the climate.”

er, it will absorb more water. Therefore

“But there are also similarities

the maximum number of storms is

between the two, aren’t there?”

expected to rise so the maximum

“Similarities in so far as both – the

number of storms is expected to rise

weather and the climate – have to do

in the future because of the warmer

with the physical operations of the


atmosphere. Nevertheless, they are

“What kind of tips would you rec-

actually quite different.

ommend to those who want to do

I have an example from sports,

something against climate change?”

specifically volleyball and soccer.

“I think it is really important to explain

Both are played with a ball. But in one

to people that we can do a lot to fight

game the players attempt to get the

climate change. Don‘t lose hope!

ball over the net, and in the other the

At this moment in time there are two

players attempt to get the ball into the

factors changing the climate: nature

net. Volleyball and football are similar

and humankind. What nature does is

in that they are both played with a ball,

something we can’t change but we do

but nevertheless they are played with

have control over what we, as humans,

completely different rules. This is the

are doing. For example, around the

same with the relationship between

entire world, 13.8 billion litres of oil

weather and climate.”

are consumed daily. So we have to

“Have you identified any similarities

ask ourselves: how do I use energy

between climate change and the

in my life? On the one hand, I can

weather in Germany over time?”


save energy but I can also start using

actually, conventional energy isn’t any

alternative forms of energy, too.

cheaper because the environmental

In order for this to happen, existing

costs of conventional methods will

technologies for alternative energy

eventually have to be paid. Nature isn’t

must be developed and put to better

being compensated for what we do to


it. We have been misunderstanding the

Moreover, every individual should

true price of energy!” “You have mentioned both

realize that they can make an important contribution to climate protection,

moral and political reasons.

too. They just have to start getting

Are there any other reasons

active. Waiting for somebody else to

“Yes, definitely. Take the economy for

won’t help: just because my neighbour

example. If the government of country

has a huge car does not mean that I

‘A’ says: ‘We are raising our environ-

automatically need one, too. A much

mental standards,’ then businesses

better idea is to enjoy a simple,

respond and say: ‘That is going to

environmental-friendly life.”

raise our costs - we don’t want that.’

“How do you save energy”


that you can think of?”

do it, doesn’t get us anywhere. Envy

So, they simply move their operations

“The electricity I use at home comes

to another country, country ‘B.’ For A,

from green, renewable resources. I

this would mean an economic loss.

also try to save as much paper as

So they ultimately decide not to do

possible while I’m at work.”


“The argument that alternative ener-

“Sven, would you like to say

gy sources aren’t yet developed

anything in conclusion?”

enough is definitely not true. So,

“Yes. I want to thank all of you: your

why haven’t we already made the

future looks positive. Continue doing

massive switch to green-energy?”

what you are doing, you’re on the right

“Firstly, not everybody understands


that we need to make this change.

“Thank you so much for this

Secondly, quite few people earn a lot

very insightful interview!”

of money by polluting the environment. Honestly, what we need is an estab-


What Sven means exactly is further explained with the theme “climate justice,” on page 42

lished price for the cost of emissions – worldwide!*

A common argument against this is: “Clean energy is too expensive!” But

The interview was conducted by Clara, a Climate Justice Ambassador from Augsburg, Germany.

The weather is what we experience, today or in a month from now. Climate, however, is the average of weather-data from at least 30 years. Only when the weather moves in one direction over the course of decades – for example, when cool and humid summers continually become hotter and drier, we can take this development as a clear sign for climate change.

Climate change before our time When people mention climate change, many others respond with, “So what?” and a shrug. “The climate is always changing. It’s normal!” Yes, this is true. The Earth’s climate is always undergoing changes – but normally at a snail’s pace. It has constantly alternated between warm and cold periods and in the 11,000 years since the last ice age, the average temperature of the earth has only risen by 4 °C (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit). Since the change has occurred over such a long time, many animals and plants were able to adapt or to avoid unpleasant changes. What we now know with some certainty, is that glaciers can help us to determine how the Earth’s climate was thousands of years ago. Glaciers are especially helpful for scientists, answering the questions: when, where, how long and how warm or how cold it was at any particular time. A glacier is a massive ice sheet that grows thicker every year. From the glacier‘s ice layers (comparable with tree rings), experts were able to calculate that the deeper layers of the Greenland-Glacier are over 200.000 years old and that the icy hills of the glacier on Antarctica are probably over 900,000 years old.

800,000 year-old ice core, drilled from a depth of 3,200 meters (nearly 2 miles)!


Scientists take long cylindrical samples, called ice cores, from this old ice. These ice cores – or more precisely, the tiny air bubbles found in them – are very interesting for the scientists. By examining the bubbles, scientists 150, 170, or 200 meters. They can also examine how much carbon dioxide (CO2) they contain. If the proportion of carbon dioxide or methane in these bubbles is unusually high, then it is a sign that the climate would have been quite warm when the ice bubbles formed.

The climate makers But what do carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) have to do with the c­ limate?In fact, quite a lot. Both of these gases – and a few others too – make up the climate. They function in a way like a warm pullover preventing body heat from escaping. This is because when the sunrays reach the earth’s surface, a certain amount of them are reflected back as if by a mirror, and the rest are converted directly into heat. Essentially this heat should be radiated back and allowed to escape into space, but there is something which prevents this heat from dissipating: the earth’s protective layer of gases, the atmosphere – its “pullover”. Some of the gases in the atmosphere allow the sun’s rays to easily pass through them, while these rays are travelling towards the earth. These same gases then stop the heat from radiating back out – just like the glass covering of a greenhouse. Accordingly, these gases are called greenhouse gases. The most important greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2) methane (CH4), and steam. We can primarily thank these gases for the fact that the earth has a comfortable average temperature of 15 °C (59 degrees Fahrenheit). If there were no greenhouse gases at all, the average temperature on earth would be -18 °C (-0.4 degrees Fahrenheit)! Definitely not as comfortable!


Heat reflected back into space


Greenhouse gases

The greenhouse effect

Heat radiation

Soil surface

Burning of fossil fuels Agriculture Deforestation


The CO2 cycle

This is the problem


Atmosphere Ocean

Top-soil Releases CO2 Absorbs CO2

Ocean plants

The cycle of carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide (CO2) is constantly in motion through the atmosphere. Plants absorb it through countless tiny pores on their leaves and they process it in a very refined way to make food and plant tissue. In this complicated process, oxygen is treated as the leftover waste and will eventually be released back out into the air by the green plant. But this gaseous waste from plants is exactly what we humans and other animals need to live, because we breathe in oxygen (O2) and exhale carbon dioxide (CO2). So what comes from the leaves of the plants, bushes, and trees, is then re-used – a perfect circle. However, carbon dioxide (CO2) doesn’t just enter the atmosphere when animals and humans exhale. In fact, more CO2 is added to the atmosphere every time an animal dies and its body decays, or a branch of a tree rots, or when a piece of wood is burned. The death of both plants and animals is like a large final exhalation of CO2 back into the air.

Where coal and oil come from In the history of the Earth there was a time when the climate was far warmer and wetter than it is today. For plants, this was paradise. Since this time plants have never been able to grow so fast and lush. However, in swamps and marshland forests, when giant trees and other plants died and collapsed, they were immediately covered by water and mud. Plants need air in order to decompose and they did not have this in these swamps. As a result, the trunks, stems, and leaves of the dead plants stayed as they were in the water, where they began to accumulate over time into thick layers of dead plant material. Initially the dead plants were pressed into a substance called peat,


but after even thicker layers of sand and gravel were deposited onto them, the pressure of the added weight compressed the peat into a different substance called charcoal. It is still the same carbon dioxide from the leaves, branches, and trunks of these ancient jungles, but rather than escaping into the atmosphere it was deposited underground, remaining as peat or coal. It was as if someone had

How coal and oil are formed

put away the CO2 into a huge underground savings account. Oil is actually formed in quite a similar way. Over a period of hundreds of thousands of years, plants and animals in the ocean died and collected on the

Plants and animals die

seafloor. In the places where there was too little oxygen for their bodies to break down they began to turn into putrid mud. So, over the course of millions of years, these “graveyards” grew in thickness, with sand and other materials constantly being deposited on top. The weight created higher pressures and higher temperatures (pressure generates heat), until at a certain point it eventually all became oil. This oil is also just like a giant underground savings account for CO2.

The result is peat or mud

Large oil deposits, regardless of whether they are on the Arabian Peninsula, in ­Venezuela, or in the Caspian Sea, are always a sign that the area above them used to be the floor of giant oceans millions of years ago.

Smoking chimneys For thousands of years we humans burned only what was above the ground –

Other layers generate pressure 44

primarily wood, peat, and animal manure – and during this time everything was in balance. The (little) carbon dioxide that we released into the air could be recaptured by new plants and quickly “withdrawn from circulation.” Our dilemma began when humans discovered that coal and oil made excellent burning material. First they dug up the coal which had been lying just beneath the Earth’s surface. Then later they developed more refined methods in order to reach deeper coal and oil deposits. Today, the old forests which had been pressed into coal, and the ocean

The result is coal or oil

life which was pressed into oil, are called “fossil fuels.” The word “fossil” comes from Latin and primarily means, “dug up.” We humans also do many other things that produce vast amounts of CO2. A giant cloud of CO2 is expelled by many of our forms of transportation, especially airplanes, cars, and ships. The production of energy and heat (through which we have things like electricity!) creates even greater amounts of gas. A lot of CO2 is also released when we cut down or burn forests.

Would it have been better for humans not to go digging? Would it have been better for us to leave the coal and the oil deep under the earth? Without the “quick energy” from coal and petroleum, the industrial age with all of its progress (but also with all of its downsides and problems) would never have begun. When oil and coal are burned, the CO2 they contain is re-released into the atmosphere instead of being saved underground forever. In only a few short decades we have been consuming the life savings of the entire Earth. In a single year we put as much CO2 into the air as the plants had absorbed and saved up over a million years! And the more carbon dioxide that is put into the air, the more greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, and the more greenhouse gases there are, the warmer the entire planet becomes. No wonder the climate is going crazy. But there are also other sources of CO2 that people don’t usually think about or realize. For example, everyone’s mental image of the countryside is likely to include the spring plowing of the fields with great big strong tractors pulling the earth up in large, deep ruts. If CO2 had a color – for example yellow – then this image would include gigantic sulphur-yellow clouds wafting over the freshly plowed fields; and where the soil had just been dug up, it would look like yellow smoke coming from chimneys. There are unimaginably large amounts of CO2 stored in the upper layers of the soil, which are dug up and released through plowing. This is a big reason (although not


the only one) why organic farming has largely abandoned the practice. Organic farmers “dig” more carefully, that is, they loosen the soil without kicking up huge clouds of CO2. Concern for the climate it is therefore a very good reason to buy


organic foods.

CO2 Level in 45 Years (if we don’t do anything about it)


CO2 Level Today

Measured CO2 Concentration

260 CO2 ppm

Deviation from the Average


Temperature in degree Celsius 600.000 500.000

300.000 Time (Years before the Present)



240 200

Current Earth Temperatur 0

Methane and the cow as the scapegoat The bad news first: methane is a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The good news: methane is very uncommon. The proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is almost 400 times larger than the proportion of methane. Therefore, despite its strength, it ultimately contributes less to global warming than CO2. Methane is released from landfills, rice paddies,

swamps and from thawing permafrost. Methane also comes out of both the front and rear ends of animals – no joke! Every time a cow belches or farts, both of which cows do very often, they release methane into the air. And because we people (more specifically: because more affluent people) eat enormous quantities of beef, there are vast herds of cows, belching and farting and putting an even greater strain on our atmosphere. But actually the cows can be forgiven, because it’s really we who are to blame. If cattle lived only in grassland as nature had intended them to, rather than being kept in stalls and fattened up with soy

and corn feed, then things would look quite different than they do today. In fact, in order to make room for their soybean feed, much of the Earth’s rainforests have been cleared away. Because of this our world’s green ‘lungs’ are disappearing and thus are not able to save as much CO2 as before. These methods of slash and ­ burn have ultimately led to a huge increase of CO2 emissions. We end up feeding soybeans to the cows, which belch and fart methane all day long so that we can eat meat every day. Do we really need to eat that much meat?

Human as the climate “engine” The concentration of CO2 and methane in the air is higher than at any point in the last 600,000 years. In the last 1,000 years the world hasn’t been as hot as it is today. The average temperature of the globe has risen 0.74 °C (1.33 degrees Fahrenheit), in the last 100 years alone. Three quarters of a degree Celsius or more in just a single century! Earlier that would have taken the Earth 2,000 years! “Yeah, and...?” say many people. “That’s not even a single degree! What are you all so alarmed about?!” We are alarmed because it’s only the average temperature that has risen 0.74


degrees. In some areas it’s changed even faster. In Alaska, for example, the temperature has risen between 3 and 4 °C (5.4 – 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the 1950s and in West Siberia it has risen over 3 °C since the 1960s. The permafrost in Alaska and in Siberia is already beginning to thaw and because of this, the brittle streets and buildings there are losing stable ground and starting to collapse. We are alarmed because 0.74 degrees is only the beginning. Scientists have already determined that within the century, Earth’s average temperature will continue to rise – in the worst case by 4 °C (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) –if we don’t start taking counter-measures, and fast. We are alarmed because even the small rise in temperature of 0.74 °C has already made huge impacts on our planet by causing the sea levels to rise over 15 centimeters (almost 6 inches) in the last 100 years. This is because the ice

from glaciers on Greenland and Antarctica are beginning to melt away far too quickly. Enormous amounts of the Earth’s water is stacked and “stored away” in glaciers and ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland and this water is melting and quickly filling up the oceans. With the melting, experts say that the state of the world’s oceans will become increasingly more hazardous during this century. Islands in the Indian Ocean, like the Maldives, will be almost completely flooded; coastlines will be forever changed, and nearby cities will be swallowed up by rising water levels. As 40 percent of all people live near the world’s coastal areas, around 100 million people are expected to lose their homes and become climate refugees. Because of changing coastlines, lives will be permanently changed. Coral reefs will not be able to bear the warmer temperatures, and billions of animals living in reefs will die off, one by one. Also, coral reefs are supposed to be a form of natural protection; with­out them the forces of nature will have easier access to unprotected coasts, meaning that storm surges and Tsunamis* will lead to

many more deaths than in the past. Coral reefs function in a way like tropical rain forests, as the habitat of the majority of the world’s biodiversity. Therefore, if we lose the reefs we will also lose much of the diversity of life on Earth. While water is rising along the coasts, in other places deserts will begin to spread. Land where people previously grew food will no longer be fertile. Rainforests with their unbelievable diversity of plants and animals will dry out and erode. Experts are debating with each other about when it will become too hot

Felix and the other Climate Justice Ambassadors have learned over the years that it is not just about saving the polar bears, it is about the future of humankind. During a p­ resentation in Geneva, Felix had the idea for a “cheeky” sticker which his friend Johann helped to create. The idea eventually found its way to the World Climate Summit in ­Copenhagen. Adults stood in front the meeting-place between “Climate­Politicians,” waving banners and posters of these polar bears saying “Save the Human.”

for even the rainforests to survive – but they agree that less rainfall will limit the rainforests’ ability to be the safe home of countless plants and animals.



Many rivers and streams are facing a similar threat. When rivers that depend on water from glaciers to keep flowing aren’t “fed” by melted snow and ice (i.e. when the glaciers are gone), there won’t be any giant rivers or even tiny streams – because they will be “fed” only every now and then by rain. We can’t begin to

Tsunamis are gigantic waves which are triggered by earthquakes on the ocean floor.

imagine, in our worst nightmares, what this would mean. For example, for the Ganges River in India and the millions of people who live along its banks, drinking water, which is provided by glaciers, would disappear, famines would occur and millions of people would have to flee from drought and hunger, migrating just to survive. The areas that will be less affected by climate change, rich countries – above all the United States and many European nations – would then quickly become overpopulated. We had to prepare ourselves for wars that break out over drinking water and food.

ething we This is som to stop! really want

“And in order to stop all of these threat­ening developments, all you want to do is to plant trees?” people ask us. Yes! Because it’s not just about taking CO2 out of the air, it is about working together for a new future. And by planting trees around the world, we children will begin to see ourselves as a world family, as global-citizens. We aren’t sitting around asking who is responsible for the chaos, we are working together to fix it. It’s about encouraging others to take action too! Of course, we know that more of the world’s forests will be cut down or destroyed each year than we can replace with Plant-for-the-Planet. We also know that the

The Aletsch Glacier in ­Switzerland, in 1900 and 2005

young trees and shrubs that we do plant cannot absorb as much CO2 as established rainforests. But we also know that sitting back and doing nothing is simply not an alternative. We already have quite a large group of Climate Justice Ambassadors. And undoubtedly our ranks will continue to expand the people that are in charge are still not doing enough to save the future of our planet.


Not all of the ice that melts will make the sea level rise

both water and ice cubes and the ice cubes melt, the

We have noticed a common misunderstanding among

of the pond, when it melts it could very well make the

many people, particularly in conversations with those

water level in the pond higher than before.

water doesn’t pour over the sides of the glass. And when the ice in a pond melts at the end of winter, the pond won’t be fuller than the previous autumn. However, if we also lay a big block of ice at the edge

who we have only recently brought to our cause. This misunderstanding is about ice and the question

It’s the same situation with the ice that lies “stored

of what happens around the world when it thaws.

away” in the glaciers on each continent. When the

Many believe that when icebergs melt in the ocean, the

glaciers melt, as a result of global warming, the

sea level rises immediately. This isn’t exactly how it

water flows down into the ocean, raising the sea

works. For example, when a glass is about ¾ full with

level and flooding coasts and the coastal cities.

The majority of politicians, industrialists, business leaders and agriculture representatives who refuse to take action, will no longer be around in 2040. But we children will. It’s about our future, about our lives! It is for this reason that we use the term climate crisis. Global warming sounds a little too comfortable. “Crisis” shows the seriousness of the situa-

le is Ice on the North Po thick. t) fee .5 2 meters (6 is nd nla Ice on Gree 2 kilometers ) thick. (almost 1.25 miles

tion and makes it clear that we humans have to do something. We know that we have a long path ahead of us, but every journey begins with a single step, and we are already well on our way.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” (Old Indian proverb)

With global warming, weather events will become more ­extreme. And so-called “­century floods” are already beginning to happen every few years.

We have to go fast and far!

49 The largest amount of continental ice on earth

aluminum foil: sending up to 90 percent of the

(the ice that is “stored away”) is in Antarctica and

sunrays directly back into space. Without this, the

Greenland. There are also large quantities in South

likelihood that the earths atmosphere will grow

America and in glaciers in various mountain ranges

warmer is further increased.

around the world. If these giant mirrors (the floating ice sheets around Does this mean that the ice already in the sea doesn’t

the poles) melt, then the earth will lose its most

have an effect on the climate? No! Ice melting in the

effective “refrigerator.” When the sun shines on

oceans actually has a powerful effect on the global

water instead of ice, it absorbs up to 90 percent of

climate. It is particularly noticeable when seas that

the heat and energy. This continually adds more heat

are frozen throughout the year or over many months

to the earth’s already warming climate, and ends up

of the year lose their ice coating. This is because

melting the continental ice and raising the sea level

snow and ice reflect sunlight like a giant sheet of

even faster than before.

What is climate justice? On average, an US-American produces 20 tons of CO2 ­every year, a European 10 tons, a Chinese 6 tons, and an African produces barely more than half a ton. The USA and Europe – altogether about 1 billion people – are responsible for 60 percent of the CO2 emitted into the air. The rest of humanity – around 6 billion people – share the remaining 40 percent. Is this fair? Of course not! Our idea might sound strange at first, but we believe that everyone should have the right to emit the same amount of CO2, no matter where they live or where they were born. Judging by today’s level of CO2 in the atmosphere, this would allow around 5 tons of carbon dioxide per person each year.


Even if we were to succeed in fairly distributing CO2 emissions around the Rule of thumb:

4 Tons of CO2 = 4 degree temperature rise (degree Celsius) 1.5 Tons of CO2 = 1.5 degree temperature rise (degree Celsius)

world, there would still be many other changes needing to be made. An average emission of 5 tons of CO2 would still be much too high, and it would eventually lead to a chaotic global climate with horrible consequences. For example, the sea level will continue to rise if we refuse to reduce the total amount of CO2 we produce. And since almost 40 percent of the human population lives near the coast, millions of people would lose their homes and be forced to relocate. The reality is that it would be the people who live in countries that emit the least CO2 who would be the most affected. Isn’t this completely unfair? We have to do something about this. We have to make CO2 emissions fair for everybody. And we have to reduce the


amount we each produce by half, to 1.5 tons of CO2 per year, because with this amount, the Earth’s atmosphere will finally have the chance to restore ­itself.* We have no other choice! Even adults have to understand this. They have to see that these rules must be followed, just the way we kids must follow the rules our parents



1 US-American 1 European

give us. Every single one of us, whether we are



1 Chinese 1 African

Carbon footprint per person per year

big or small or whether we come from Africa, Europe, or America, need a law that makes sure nobody emits more than 1.5 tons of CO2 per year.

60% CO2-emission Until the 2009 UN Climat Summit

appx. people USA + Europe

in Copenhagen one thought 2 tons of CO2 and accordingly an increase of an average temperature of dditional 2 °C would be enough. But

appx. people rest of the world

at the 2010 UN Climate Summit in Cancun, the representatives of several islands explained: 2 °C more and our islands will be under water, 1.5 °C or 1.5 tons of CO2 per person per year is the limit.

40% CO2-emission

Total CO2-emission

What happens if we go beyond this limit? Well then we should have to pay for it! If we produce more CO2 than we fairly should, we should have to buy extra “pollution rights” from the countries that don’t reach their CO2 quota. An African will likely only use 0.5 of a ton of his allotted 1.5 tons CO2 limit. Therefore they should have the right to sell the unused 1.0 ton to other people who want to emit more than 1.5 tons of CO2 per year. The money that African people then earned could be put towards modern eco-friendly technologies. They could build schools and hospitals, train doctors and teachers, and their children would no longer have to go hungry. We kids call that real climate justice. Trading CO2 like this will also force us to change our habits. If CO2 actually cost money and we had to pay a CO2 tax for every product that we bought, then CO2 intensive products would quickly become much more expensive than eco-friendly products. This way we would begin to pay a bit more attention to what we are buying and how we are living. For example, grapes from South Africa and apples


from Chile, both of which are transported around the world which result in a lot of CO2 emissions, would then become very expensive. The same would apply to cars that consume a lot of gas and “exhale” giant clouds of CO2. They would be hit with an especially high CO2 tax. Maybe more people would start to travel by train again, because the price of air travel, including its huge CO2 tax, would finally show its true cost. Since the 2005 Climate Summit,* this approach to implementing climate justice

has been called “emissions trading.” Usually the word “emission” means every-

thing that is released into the environment, but in this case it mostly just refers to the emission of greenhouse gases (above all, CO2).


Incidentally, the UN Climate Summit is held in a different city of the world every year.

Emissions trading: The s­ imple thing that is hard to do Emissions trading works basically like musical chairs.

“Yes, it can work … so what? We just trade permission slips for pollution rights?” This is the most common response we receive from sceptics when we talk about using emissions trading to save the environment. We say: yeah, it can work! But of course, the idea behind it has to be fairly implemented. In any case, the plan looks like this: each member of the European Union (EU)


Adults call it “Emission cerfificates”.

divides a so-called “allocation plan” with “pollution permission slips”* to all of the

power plant operators and the companies that use a lot of electricity in their country. Whoever holds one of these notes will be allowed to emit a certain amount of greenhouse gases over a certain period of time. Now comes the most important part: in order for the plan to work – that is, ultimately to have fewer greenhouse gases emitted into the air – people have to be thrifty with their CO2 allotment. This means that the people who issue these certificates have to make sure that fewer CO2 emissions are allowed than what was formerly considered “normal.” This is a little bit like the game musical chairs. It only works when there are too few chairs, because the scarcity forces people to be alert and on their toes. And if they are in limited supply and high-demand, then they are going to be more expensive because people are willing to pay more for them.


Price increases on the “pollution certificate market” will have a strong effect: they will soon make it cheaper in the long run for energy producers and other

Joy [12, Krefeld, Germany] When I heard about this idea for the first time, that everyone on Earth should have the same “pollution rights” as everybody else, I honestly thought to myself, “They’re crazy! We are already polluting the environment way too much – what is going to happen when we tell everyone that should go ahead and do so, too? Then everyone would pollute the environment even more – like what’s happening in China right now! And on top of that, when we are 50 years old there will be 2 billion more people on the planet than today, and everyone (Chinese, Indians, South American, African, etc...) will want to live as comfortably as we do here… But when I got to know more about the idea of climate justice, especially that its overall purpose is to limit pollution as a whole by fairly distributing it out among everybody, I was thrilled!

companies to develop new technologies or methods that don’t create as much pollution, rather than constantly having to buy more emissions certificates. Those who invest in clean energy can then sell their remaining pollution rights to others for a profit, because they won’t need them anymore. So far so good … or is it? This is a great idea but as sometimes happens when adults try to tackle a difficult problem, it has not yet been implemented in its ideal form. When previous attempts to create a market for emissions trading were made, there were simply too many emission certificates printed and distributed (the people who bought them didn’t even have to pay anything!). There was also too little incentive for the power plant operators and other massive polluters to change and start producing cleaner energy and more eco-friendly products. So of course, this can’t work! One thing is clear: we need a real, fair, and binding global contract that can be implemented everywhere! In order to move forward decisively though, we will have to overcome the corruption harming our future and preventing climate justice. Even when it is hard to do: We absolutely have to take this chance!

Franziska [13, Pähl, Germany] I have to admit that it took a while before I fully understood emission trading, but it is actually quite simple: scientists can tell us each year exactly how much CO2 the environment (the ocean, trees, etc…) can safely absorb, for example, 15 billion tons of CO2. We can then take that amount and divide it by the number of people on the planet – let’s just say, by 10 billion (it’s easier to calculate that way). This comes out to 1.5 tons of CO2 per person. Whoever wants more can buy it on the market for CO2 rights. If a lot of people want more CO2, then the price will go so high that it becomes cheaper to invest in green technologies. What’s really important for us kids though is that no more than 15 billion tons of CO2 is allowed to be emitted into the atmosphere. If every kid on earth receives their birthright of 1.5 tons of CO2, then we won’t need to worry about sending any more money for charity or development aid. Climate justice is a breeze! This is why we want to see this plan finally established during the next Climate Summit.


How trees help to counteract the climate crisis The vast majority of people know that trees are good for the global climate, but they are also good for the so-called microclimate (i.e. the immediate environment). The reason behind this, and therefore why we choose to plant trees, will require a little extra space to explain. We children from Plant-for-the-Planet have learned that you really need a clear and thorough understanding of something if you want to be able to e ­ xplain it to others in a simple way, as well as to quickly and confidently answer any questions they may have. We have learnt this as a result of giving lectures and gathering donations for trees. It is crucial to have background knowledge so you can always respond to new questions. Otherwise, any case you try and make will be standing on shaky legs. For this reason we are going to Background is knowledge important!

provide an explanation here about the relationship between trees and different aspects of the global climate. As we already know, forests can absorb carbon dioxide. However, one forest is not exactly the same as the next forest, just as one tree is not exactly the same as every other tree. Tropical forests grow much faster than forests


in central Europe. Therefore more CO2 The tropical forests are the lungs of our Earth.

is absorbed in forests that are closer to the equator. This is also why losing the tropical rainforests is so much worse for the global climate. It is for this reason that many of of the donated trees are planted in southern countries – in Africa, South and Central America and in Asia. These trees not only help the global climate, they also fight against the spreading of deserts by “reclaiming” land, piece-by-piece, while simultaneously ensuring that the groundwater level rises again. Where this is successful, the nearby population can enjoy more water in their streams and wells. At the same time we cannot be a­ llowed to underestimate the performance of the forests here in the northern hemisphere. As they grow, these forest reduce the total amount of CO2 in the air by 1/3.

How does this happen? Well, every plant absorbs CO2 molecules from the air through its leaves and needles. Following absorption, it splits the oxygen and carbon atoms from each other and then chemically converts the carbon into wood and creates growth. For this to work a complicated chemical process (called photosynthesis) has to happen in the plant’s leaves and needles. If someone wanted

Ever stor y single es C O2 ! tree

to fully understand, this process, they would probably have to take an advanced biology course or study botany. What’s important for us though is the result: plants can convert carbon dioxide (through photosynthesis) into something solid, something that is the primary ingredient of wood. As long as this wood doesn’t burn or rot, the greenhouse gas will stay bound up in it. The plant essentially stores the carbon in its stem, branches, and roots. Two examples: a 35 meter (around 115 foot) pine tree with a trunk diameter of 50 centimetres (20 inches), stores 0.7 metric tons of carbon. What this means is that in order to grow to this size the tree had to absorb 2.6 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. Beech trees have even firmer wood. Therefore they need more CO2 in order to build their firm roots, and in the process they protect the climate even more. A beech tree with the same height and diameter as the pine tree above, stores around 0.95 metric tons of carbon. This equals 3.5 metric tons of CO2 absorbed from the atmosphere – almost a full metric ton more! About a third of Germany is covered with forests and within these forests around 4.4 billion tons of CO2 is stored (when one converts from carbon to carbon dioxide) – an incredibly large amount.

CO2-storage tree Oxygen (O2)

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

Carbon (C) is stored in wood, leaves, and roots Leaves

Roots, parts of plants and soil organisms store carbon in the soil

Later, when the tree is harvested and used as wood, the “C” remains bound for decades in the furniture, parquet floors, buildings 55 and wood bridges. If a new tree is planted in place of a harvested one, we can very easily remove “CO2” from the atmosphere. Furthermore, the tree will automatically grow into building materials for the 4 billion more people who will be living on earth by the year 2100.

Trees and forests aren’t just our allies solely in the fight against global warming. They also provide incredible benefits to their immediate surroundings – benefits that can be felt even without the use of measuring devices. Let’s go back to the beech tree. On a sunny summer day it absorbs through its leaves about 9,400 liters* (gallons) of CO2 and releases the same amount of

oxygen (O2) back out into the atmosphere.


Be careful: 9,400 liters of gas is not the same as 9,400 liters of liquid! 1 liter of CO2 weighs only 1.96 grams, but that means that it takes in over 18 kilograms of CO2 every day!

Whoever thinks that isn’t enough should first consider that in order for each beech tree to absorb 9,400 liters of pure CO2, it has to filter up to 24,737 cubic meters of air. This is about the same amount of air that is found in 7 giant hot air balloons! How is that not a truly gigantic impact? But that’s not all. During a summer “working day,” each tree draws 6,000 litres of water up from the ground – the equivalent of about 40 bathtubs filled to the brim. From this impressive amount of water the tree only needs 1 per mille (0.1 percent), about 6 litres directly for its “work” (photosynthesis). The remaining 99.9 percent will be “exhaled” by the tree as water vapour and this exhalation dramatically cools the surrounding air, while greatly increasing the humidity. Together, both effects produce the cool damp forest climate that is particularly pleasant on a hot summer day.


Particulate is 56 matter composed of microscopic particles that are so small they enter deep into our lung tissue and cause damage severe.

Cities that have many streets and buildings can become unbearably hot. These cities could make their “climate” much more pleasant by planting many trees along the roads and by creating many tiny parks in the nearby places where people work and live. Another positive thing is that trees filter out many kinds of dust* –   particles –

about 80 percent - from city air. When people decide to cut down trees in urban areas just to make room for more parking spots, they aren’t only attacking the forest, they are attacking the lungs of the city dwellers, too.

A single tree can take in this much air in just a single day!

So, when we are asked if our tree planting campaign is truly meaningful, we can say: Yes, and on both large and small scales! Trees can, root for root, stem the tide against climate change, by drawing the greenhouse gas CO2 out of the air and storing it in their plant bodies. And they improve the air we breathe every day – something that provides great relief, especially in big cities. We aren’t just planting trees with our global campaign. Above all we want to educate and inform other children and teenagers about the climate crisis and let them know about all the ways they can get involved and help do something for the climate. Our trees are symbols – symbols of climate justice. The UNESCO teacher Gerhard de Haan once called us students from Plant-for-thePlanet, “diplomats in rubber boots.” He said this because unlike many politicians and diplomats, we want to be active; we want to take our knowledge and put it into action. Don’t just talk,

planting trees We children are ture ld to save our fu or w e th er ov l al

but plant trees!


About political engagement ... Or: The courage to take the future into our own hands 65 How can you find supporters? Or: Other ways to become active 70 Trees for the South … Or: 20 euros = 20 trees

What We Can Do

What everyone can do … Or: Protecting the climate at home 60


Our planet needs Climate Justice Ambassadors… Or: The Plant-for-the-Planet Academies 94

“One mosquito can’t do anything against a rhino, but a thousand mosquitoes together can make a rhino change its direction.” Carolina (14), Climate Justice Ambassador from Cancun, Mexico


What everyone can do …

Or: Protecting the climate at home When we think about what a single person can do to limit the impacts of climate change, it often leads to a feeling of hopelessness: “Yeah, what’s the use, if I’m only one person…” There is really only one good, sensible answer: e ­ very big change is made up of smaller ones, and one small effort to do the right thing will lead to more small efforts, and more will eventually lead to many, until the goal which originally seemed impossible is ­already achieved. Good examples are contagious! It is worthwhile taking a closer look at a few examples from our everyday lives, even the “obvious” ones.

What’s wrong with traffic? About how many hours of radio would a person have to listen to, if they wanted to count all the traffic reports and stories of every traffic accident that has ever occurred? Sometimes we just have to ask ourselves if cars really do make our lives easier – especially when we consider how much exhaust they put into the air every day. Clearly, those who don’t live in cities would have a much harder time getting by without one, but is it necessary for everybody to travel every single mile by car?


We don’t want anybody to feel guilty, just because they have a car and use it. Our focus is more on the big picture, the incredibly large number of trips that could be saved by simply changing people’s habits: “But I’m too slow when I ride my bike” is something we hear a lot. However, this is definitely not true when it comes to traveling in cities. Take the city of Munich for example. Its network of bicycle paths is more than 1,200 kilometers long! So while car drivers are forced to sit and wait at traffic lights and traffic jams, bike riders are likely to have already arrived at their destination.

CO2 Emissions for every 100 km

“But riding just a couple of kilometers on my bike isn’t going to do anything to protect the climate”, many say. But

whoever said that it had to stop at just a couple of kilometers? Every time that I ride my bike to music lessons or to sports practice, rather than being dropped off and picked up by my mom with her car, I save 3,360 grams of CO2. And if I use my bike 30 weeks each year (subtracting out holidays and the times when the weather doesn’t allow), then I can end up single-handedly keeping 100 kilograms of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – an impressive amount! And what about holidays? Here’s something to think about: each flight from Munich to Palma de Mallorca and back emits about 680 kilograms of CO2 into the air, per person. A bit much right? We are definitely not saying that everybody has to completely give up flying – but is it really necessary for us to do it every year?

Energy eaters at home When my family mention to other people that we switched to energy-efficient light bulbs in our house a long time ago, we often hear some gentle laughter and are asked if we know that light bulbs use hardly any power in comparison to some of the other electricity-users at home. Sure, we know this, but we also know that when you add a lot of little things together, you end up with a huge


Jule [13, Bremen, Germany] und Merle [13, Bremen, Germany] When we were first asked about the specific things we do at home to protect the climate it took us a moment to realize that there was nothing out of the ordinary! It’s probably just because for us students with Plant-for-the-Planet, protecting the climate is a matter of course. For example, we “automatically” turn off the heater, the light, the computer, and any other electronic devices when we don’t need them or when we leave a room. We often leave the car at home, too, travelling instead by train or by bike if it’s summer. And we save water by taking short showers. We just try to save energy everywhere we can. Also, Jule is a vegetarian and Merle eats only a little bit of meat, which makes a big impact. And we always separate our trash and recycle … oh yeah, and we plant trees!

result. Why else did the European Union decide to ban traditional incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012? We are very supportive of this idea, sand we hope that energy-efficient light bulbs are made available world wide as soon as possible. Every kilowatt hour that isn’t consumed equals an average of 616 grams of CO2 saved! So the sooner this new standard is implemented, the better. It seems that refrigerators and freezers consume quite a bit of energy – especially if they are in the wrong place and misuse. Refrigerator next to the stove? Bad idea. It would constantly have to cool itself from the heat coming from the oven. How about placing piping hot food inside of the refrigerator? Even worse! te Clima tion in r c prote frigerato e the r

The refrigerator would have to use much more energy to cool the food than it would if the food was first allowed to cool on its own on the countertop. What about a freezer in an unheated storage room? Perfect! Here’s another quick and simple tip to reduce your refrigerator’s energy usage: if it’s set to 7 °C (44.6 degrees Fahrenheit) rather than 5 °C (41 degrees Fahrenheit) it can use up to 15 percent less electricity! At the other end of the temperature scale, there are a lot of ways in which

Climat e protec t stove ion in the

energy can be saved while cooking. Sometimes it is as simple as putting a lid on it! Those who cook with a lid cut their energy usage by 1/3, and those who use a pressure cooker instead of just a normal pot cut their energy usage by another 40 percent on top of that. It’s just as effective with the oven. Keep the door shut! This is because every time that the oven’s door is opened, 20 percent of the heat escapes and more energy has to be used to bring it back to the original temperature. Another extra tip for tea-drinkers. Those who heat a litre of water in a electric


kettle rather than in a tea kettle on the stovetop save around 32 grams of CO2. That adds up! Climate in protection n ca the trash

An enormous amount of CO2 can be saved at home when we avoid excess waste. Every kilo of garbage is not only a waste of money, but on average generates 320 grams of CO2, too. Avoiding waste is the most direct form of climate protection possible! The best thing of course is to eliminate as much of it as you can. Did you know that a glass bottle can be reused up to 50 times, and a plastic bottle up to 25 times before it is necessary for them to be thrown

Climate protection at home

out? And when that time comes, should they go to the landfill? No! They should be recycled. If we separate our trash, re-use what we can, and then recycle it when we’re finished, our amount of actual non-reusable waste will shrink to a reasonably small and manageable amount.

mate-friendly.� However, this topic is so extensive that we cannot truly begin to cover it in this book. Fortunately, there are many sources of


information, for example about how to insulate your windows with the proper materials. You can also find plenty of information about smaller and easier things that you can begin to change when you want to retro-fit your house to save as much energy as possible.

Changing the electricity supplier?

Conventional electricity

CO2- Emissions in Comparison

The most energy can be saved at home when the house itself is “cli-

Frustrating but true: the big energy companies are stubborn when it comes to letting go of irresponsible technologies such as coal and nuclear power. And unfortunately they are not at all impressed by arguments like ours. But they understand one language very well: and that is the language of money. When they are threatened with the loss of their customers and profits they are forced to listen, whether they want to or not! Therefore, it would be really fantastic if as many of us as possible were able to switch to more environmentally friendly energy providers. The change is actually quite simple! Switching to green energy providers is not only a political action, it is also a more direct way to protect the environment. Generating green energy creates only 1/3 of the amount of CO2 produced by conventional means. If a four-persons family uses green-electricity instead of conventional electricity


for an entire year, they will save around 3,265 kilogram of CO2!

How much CO2 is on my plate?

Climate protection on the e dinner plat

You can eat healthy, organic, low-calorie food that is above all climate-friendly! But how? A couple of examples from Germany: 500 grams of strawberries from Germany emit (during the strawberry season from May to July) 80 grams less CO2 than the same amount of strawberries shipped in from Italy. And in comparison with strawberries from South Africa, German strawberries emit 6,000 grams of CO2 less. Moreover, 500 grams of organic butter saves 425 grams of CO2

Clima prote te shopp ction in ing b t asket he

compared to conventional butter, and 1 kilogram of eco-bread emits 1.1 kilograms less CO2 than the same amount of conventional bread. What does this mean for us? When it is possible, we should always buy products that have a good “CO2-footprint”, that don’t require too much energy to be produced and that don’t have to be imported from far away. The easiest thing to do is to buy products that are produced or grown in the area. This is called buying “locally”. Grocery stores – even the most conventional ones – react fairly reliably to customer requests. When for example the head of the fruit and vegetable department notices that customers are beginning to show an interest in how many miles particular foods have to be transported before arriving in the store, they will certainly respond. They are not reacting because they are in sudden agreement with environmental arguments like ours. No, they react because they want to attract a particular variety of customers. But that doesn’t have to matter to us. What’s most important is that environmentally friendly products are gaining ground and making their way onto the shelves of regular supermarkets. Sometimes, though, things are a little bit more complicated than they appear at first glance. Exactly how environmentally friendly certain fruits and vegetables are, depends to a large extent on whether they are harvested during their actual growing season. You can read more about this under “The thing with apples.” More important than all of the kilometres travelled, ecologically grown apples and recycled tin cans, there is something else: The responsible, economical, and


sustainable use of energy must be as natural as – let´s say – the answer to the question: “Can I steal it?” Everyone knows the answer without thinking too long. It’s already instilled in us – not only in our head, but also in our heart.

If an environmentally friendly behaviour is firmly instilled in us then a tremendous amount will already be won. If, however, we constantly have to remind ourselves every single time why being wasteful is so bad, then we are losing the precious time that remains for us to do even better.

Don’t pull over our ey the wool es!

Therefore: we have to have the courage to take small steps! Courage, especially because the more we have, the more people will join in and the easier it will become!

About political engagement …

We want support!

Or: The courage to take the future into our own hands The most extraordinary thing was that the school supported and encouraged Felix to take responsibility. Responsibility for the future of us children. As part of the “Plant-for-the-Planet” program, each of you can take responsibility and become politically* engaged. For example, as an ambassador for climate jus-

tice, you can take responsibility for climate protection in your community. Today, we children become politically active as soon as we give our first presentation as ambassadors for climate justice. We ambassadors get involved for the common good in many different ways. At a local level, when we work together with the mayors and at a national level, when we negotiate with the heads of government.

Politics is a *word with origins in both Greek (Πολιτικa, politiká) and Latin (politica, politicus) , which describes matters, activities and questions related to the common good.

In this respect, we are world leaders fighting for climate justice. Through global contracts, we want to achieve an equal world, to take responsibility and to shape our own future. In Ms. Rasfeld’s* school in Berlin “Responsibility” is already a subject in which

children get involved in many different social tasks. Felix gave a speech for the program “People with a message” and, together with the other students, decided to plant 100,000 trees in Berlin. Taking responsibility is not always easy, but

65 Rasfeld is *theMs.headmistress of the Evangelical School in Berlin.

together as children we can make it. Be brave and get involved! On the following pages, you can read what we have already done and learned in our schools as Climate Justice Ambassador.

ubject School s bility” i s n o “Resp

Children who are actively involved in Plant-for-the-Planet … Or: Examples of bravery

Clara [12, Augsburg, Germany] In school I am trying with the help of my Principal and one of our teachers to establish an environmental action group. My friends were the ones who gave me the nickname “Climate Clara”, but I think it’s really cool. A friend of mine even went to an Academy in Augsburg. My classmates were at first really excited. But after a while, as sometimes happens, some of the guys in our class started to roll their eyes when my friends and I came up with stuff to do for Plant-for-the-Planet. So my friends and I simply explained to them the reality of the situation and said that if they couldn’t understand, it was their own problem, not ours. I hope that we can plant more than a million trees and also make certain that recycled paper and bio-products are used in as many ways in our school as possible (copiers, magazines, tissue paper). But for that we will probably need the help of more fellow activists.

66 Josia [11, Duisburg, Germany] Some told me that they thought it was really cool. In fact, a couple of people in my grade came up to me and said that they finally had a goal they wanted to achieve. In a pretty short amount of time we had already set up a student club for Plant-for-the-Planet.

Jule [13, Bremen, Germany] und Merle [13, Bremen, Germany] People react very differently to our commitment to climate protection. Many from our school don’t really care about the issue actually. Sometimes we hear ironic or patronizing comments about our motto, for example: “Isn’t that great, you’re so committed to the climate, but …” But there are also positive reactions. During our class lecture some of our teachers were envious of us, because we held the attention of the other students so well and everybody listened, participated, and asked questions about what we were presenting. A comment we received afterwards was for example: “That was a really awe­some speech!” Children who usually never paid attention in class listened and responded to our lecture. It was so good that a year later a teacher still remembered our lecture and was very impressed that we were still active. Because we had not received support in our school right from the beginning, we decided to get active in our free time. We wanted to finally become Climate Justice Ambassadors! When it was announced in the press that a panel discussion on climate change was going to take place in our town hall, of course we were happy to participate …

Joy [12, Krefeld, Germany] I think many of my classmates find the idea interesting, but are still not yet self-motivated to do something. I think they feel powerless, although I have already explained them that we can use the internet to bring large groups of people together, groups which will have a lot of influence. Maybe, if I too had only ever lived in Germany, then the destruction of the environment might not seem so urgent to me either. It’s not as easy for people to see this destruction here as it is for people in other places around the world.


Raphael [12, Aichach, Germany] The reactions varied. Some said: “Hey, I want to do that!” and others said “What a lousy idea, whatever.” In any case, my parents and my teacher Ms. Bueschl supported me 100 percent. Like me, they think the idea is important.

Max [12, Berlin, Germany] We are allowed to plant trees on the ground that the city has provided for us. For example, we have planted a tiny forest in Pankow on the outskirts of Berlin. After the forestry department gave us the ground there, we asked a forest ranger, Mr. Franusch, which trees are best suited for the area and when is a good time to plant them. This is how we spread the news about our planting-parties: if you call up 5 people, and then if 2 of those people call another 2, and those 2 call another 2, etc … then when planting-time comes, there will be a lot of people there to help! We also use T-shirts from Plant-for-the-Planet, flyers, and posters to spread the news, as well as mass e-mails. On top of that we often speak to the press and ask them if they can support the planting campaigns by writing stories in the newspaper or talking about it on the radio and TV.


Leon [13, Cologne, Germany] We had a lot of fun planting. Although it rained and was a bit chilly, our group of 30 kids planted 1,000 trees in a little less than 2 and a half hours!Usually when we want to organize a tree-planting party, we start by sending emails to our friends, putting up posters on the bulletin-boards at school and telling everyone we see what’s going on. All we need for planting is a sturdy spade and a pair of rubber boots. Then the forest rangers will show us the piece of land that is our planting site. Often they have a line of tree seedlings already prepared and ready to be planted. Then we kids dig holes just deep enough to cover the tree roots when the plant is in the earth. After that we put the tree-seedling in the hole and press the dirt firmly around it and start on the next hole. Pretty simple!

Else [12, Munich] and Miriam [12, Munich, Germany] We attend the 6th class of the Ernst-Mach-Gymnasium in Haar near Munich. We were fascinated immediately with the idea when we learned about Plant-for-thePlanet. Our teacher provided us more information and we did research on the Internet. The idea of Felix has inspired us. To learn more, we became Climate Justice Ambassadors in March 2009 in the Plant-for-the-Planet Academy in the Evangelical Academy in Tutzing. We were very proud of ourselves when we held the certificates in our hands. Meanwhile, we have already given 25 presentations, some of them in three other schools in our community. But every presentation is again a new experience, because our listeners many questions and we always get different answers. In April 2010 we were invited to a Plant-forthe-Planet Academy at our school. The mayor gave the opening speech, we planted 4000 seedlings and trained 25 new Climate Justice Ambassadors.

Rufat [12, Baku, Azerbaijan] The first time I heard about Plant-for-the-Planet was at the UNEP Tunza Conference in June 2008. Felix gave a presentation about the organization there and ever since I have kept myself updated by visiting their internet site. It really moved me, because the knowledge and information I found on the Plant-for-thePlanet website completely fits my interests. I am a member of the Plant-for-the-Planet’s Global Board because I want to work together with those children from all around the world who also want to save our future. In order to educate my fellow students about Plant-for-the-Planet, I gave a 15 minute presentation on the topic of climate change (with my parent’s permission of course). My friends already knew I was very interested in questions about our future and about the challenges we will have to face because of the climate crisis, so when I gave my presentation about Plant-for-the-Planet they became excited about it, too! Together my friends and I have planted around 1,000 trees this year. I am always trying to motivate them to plant even more. Our ultimate goal is to increase the number of planting parties and campaigns, to share our knowledge with others, and to get as many new people involved as possible!


How can you find supporters? Or: Other ways to become active Our most important and powerful tool is giving presentations. Adults listen to us. They want to know how young people and we children see the future.

Give presentations and inform people! After reading this book, you will realize that saving our future is not that difficult at all. Our three-point plan to save our future also helps many adults have an overview of the situation: 1. We must leave all the fossil energy sources in the ground. This is possible, since all the technologies for a global economy without CO2 are already available. In 2015 the world governments finally set the goal of creating a global economy without coal, oil or gas by the end of the century. But that is already too late. We have to reach this goal much earlier, possibly in 2050. Obviously it is much easier to go on the same way we have done so far, but this is destroying the future for us children. In other words: we need an energy revolution, a global change in the way we produce energy, and this has to take place as quickly as possible. The sun is free of charge.


2. For this reason, those of us living in rich countries and with a lifestyle that produces a lot of CO2 have to reduce their consumption of CO2 as soon as possible, because the people living in poor countries are the ones who suffer from global warming the most. For example, according to NASA - the US Space Agency - since 1998 the Near East has been going through the “worst drought of the last 900 years�. This drought is not only longer, but also 50% drier than all the droughts of the last 500 years. The combination of a climate crisis and a political crisis led to a wave of refugees that now represents a big challenge for Europe. The severe climate crisis, poverty, historical conflicts and mismanagement will make a big part of the Near East, as well as many

African regions, uninhabitable. Today, 1.2 billion people live in the 54 African countries. In 2100 - so still during our lifetime - more than 4 billion people will be living in Africa. A prophet isn’t necessary to predict that we are witnessing the biggest human migration of history. All easy solutions, like building borders and walls, are obviously not helpful, and we are just losing precious time. 3. Trees are the easiest renewable store of CO2. On earth there is room for 1,000 billion new trees, and each of them absorbs on average 10kg of CO2, which means that these extra trees could absorb one quarter of all CO2 produced by the world’s population. trees don’t solve the CO2 problem, but they still give us some time. Everyone can plant trees, regardless of whether they are old or young, rich or poor, and it doesn’t matter if someone has produced a lot or a little of CO2. We have to understand that we are all in the same boat: half of us travelling below decks, slightly less than the other half travels just above the level of water, with tiny port-holes, and 1% travelling first class. But when the boat sinks, we all go down together. We cannot separate our future. By proposing the idea of planting trees all together, we see ourselves as a global family. If we manage to complete the biggest program of reforestation in human history, then we will feel that we are able to tackle and solve all other issues of humankind together. We have to explain to people our three-point plan. We have to shake and wake up the adults; we have to make them understand that there is no other alternative to this immediate change in the use of energy sources. This is what we mean by “explain”. The best thing we can do is give presentations. Every academy begins with the presentation that was given by 9-year-old Felix, and at the end of every academy every participant can give a presentation. “Practice makes perfect” applies here too. Give your first presentation in your class. You can find the slides for the presentation on our website or by sending an email to info@plant-for-the-planet.org. As you will see, it is so much fun when people listen to you. Give your next presentation in parallel class. Do what Felix did. He gave his third presentation in another school, and his fourth in front of the Rotary Club. In the meantime, Felix and the more than 46,000 ambassadors for Plant-for-the-Planet have given thousands of presentations and reached millions of people.


This sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But it’s possible. 2 raised to 33 is 8 billion, which means that if two people convince two other people of their idea, and these people inspire other people in turn, then after 33 of these multiplications all the people of the world will share this same idea. In this respect, social media like Facebook, Twitter, etc. are very useful. It is very important that every presentation is freely spoken, understandable, clear and engaging. The aim is to awaken the interest of the audience and to convince them that something must be done. Take a look at the academy’s upcoming dates on our website and apply online to become a speaker. If you can’t find an academy in your area and you can’t find a suitable date, send an email to event@plant-for-the-planet.org

Charlotte talks about her first presentation On that day, my brother Ferdinand and I were picked up

In conclusion, it was an impressive and successful day.

straight after school. Then we went to Bad Ischl, and I

The anxiety was worth it, since thanks to the responses

had a strong bellyache.

we could see that we really achieved something.


When we got there, they started building the Plant-for-the-Planet stage for the first time, right in front of the exit door of the congress hall. At

the beginning of the break, people started coming out and looking at us in a very surprised and skeptical way. Almost no one came to us. Obviously we had performance anxiety. But as we started giving our presentation, all our fears disappeared. Both the audience and the speakers were open, impressed and positively surprised. This also went on after the presentation, when many adults literally assaulted the stage and showered us with questions.

Charlotte (10), aching e Justice from Unterh Ambassador for Climat

or call our office on: +49 (0) 8808/ 9345, and we will find a event/academy close to you. The event team is looking for hundreds of new speakers every year Ideally you should start your presentation with our short 5-minute introduction video. During the film, you can go through in your mind the main points of your presentation again. Have faith in yourself! It’s fun and important to push the adults to do the right thing.

Jona and Luca inspire the Rotary Club Two brothers, Jona and Luca, gave a presentation in front of the Rotary Club in Bottrop. The Rotary Club is an international organization where people with different jobs collaborate to achieve charita-


ble goals. During the Rotary Club meeting, Jona and Luca gave a presentation called “Now we children save the world!” Their inspiring presentation impressed the audience of adults. The following day, the Plant-for-the-Planet office had already received the first enquiries about the academy. Three Rotary Clubs in North Rhine-Westphalia wanted to support the training of ambassadors for climate justice and organize academies. Thanks to their presentation, the two children made it possible for another 240 ambassadors to receive training.

Jona (14) and Luca (12), Ambassadors for Climate Justice from Duisburg

Find prominent community members for our campaign “Stop talking. Start planting.” You certainly remember our academy’s motto, “Stop talking. Start planting”, which is also the title of our campaign. The campaign shows that we children are convinced that talking alone is not going to make a difference and that now is the time for action. In the campaign pictures, we hold a hand on the mouth of a prominent community member, for example the actor Harrison Ford, Til Schweiger, the singer apl.de.ap from Black Eyed Peas or even the King of Spain. You can easily contribute to our campaign too. Find a prominent community member and take a picture with them and send it to campaign@plant-for-the-planet.org.

Yannis (10) silences Oliver Korittke Yannis, from Berlin, has taken a super picture for the campaign with the German actor Oliver Korittke. In this brief interview, you can read how he did it: Plant-for-the-Planet: Hi Yannis. How did you come


up with the idea of asking to a prominent community member to take a picture for the campaign? Yannis: At the academy “Plant-for-the-Planet”, I decided to do something for the campaign “Stop talking. Start planting.” Plant-for-the-Planet: How did you manage to convince Oliver Korittke to do it? Yannis: I couldn’t speak directly to Oliver Korritke, but he is my Dad’s friend and I persuaded my Dad into asking him and he said yes. Plant-for-the-Planet: What should we pay attention to, if we want to take a picture for the campaign? Yannis: We should make sure we have a white background. Then we should wear a Plant-for-thePlanet t-shirt and stay very close to the person, with an open hand on the mouth (about 1 cm distance from the mouth). Plant-for-the-Planet: Have you already thought about wirh whom couold you take your next picture with? Yannis: I will write a letter to a prominent community member from my city (Berlin), for example Bushido or Angela Merkel.

Inspire your mayor Politicians can do a lot, that’s why we need their support. The most important politician for you is your mayor, because they are the ones you can get to most easily.

Make the plan campaign know ting n!

Talk to your mayor and ask him to plant 150 trees for every citizen of your community or city (this is the number of trees that everyone should plant). For a city of 50,000 citizens, so, it would be 7.5 million trees. They will probably tell you that they don’t have enough space. It is after a “no” that the negotiation

nst the Trees agai is is climate cr

starts. Ask him, then, to plant trees in the Southern countries, in Africa, Asia or South America. It makes much more sense there, since there the trees grow much faster and absorb up to four times more CO2. As soon as the mayor is convinced and becomes a sponsor, it is then much easier to persuade foresters, teachers and local organisations to support Plant-for-thePlanet. Foresters can organise the planting on the spot, teachers can support the Academies and organisations can help with the funding of the trees in Southern Countries. In this way, you make Plant-for-the-Planet last long in your city.

Augsburg plants 15,000 oaks. This is what Clara (16) and Alexandra (16) did in their city, Augsburg.


With the help of the mayor the two girls have agreed with the Forestry Administration on a series of dates throughout many years when the foresters have to take care of the seeding and plant trees together with the citizens. Clara and Alexandra haven’t invited only friends and citizens to these parties, but also the companies of their hometown. Companies and citizens plant with the children and state, at the same time, how many trees they will save in the following years until 2020. These trees will then be planted in Asia, Africa and South America. Clara and Alexandra hope that they will reach 40.5 million trees - 150 trees for every Augsburg citizen. In the spring of 2014 15,000 trees were already planted by the citizens and the companies of Augsburg. More will follow.

Organizing demonstrations Do you want to take part in a demonstration for your future? Then organize your own demonstration. The best place is in front of a political building, like your local Town Hall. You could do it during the UN Climate Convention. The UN Climate Convention (also known as the COP or Conference of the Parties) takes place every year in a different country. The aim of the conference is to settle the current Climate Treaty. This treaty, which will apply to all countries, regulates the output of CO2. Since the “Kyoto Protocol”, which has already ended in 2012, there has been no international agreement on climate protection in effect. In order to attract as much attention as you can during demonstrations, you can use Plant-for-the-Planet cardboard trees. It makes a great picture for the journalists and increases the chances that you and your demonstration will make it into the media. For further information, please email us at: event@plant-for-the-planet.org

Ickinger Idefixe Demonstration 76

On December 6, 2014, the Ickinger Idefixe, comprising of six ambassadors and three parents demonstrated outside Icking Town Hall in southern Germany. Their aim was to inform residents about Plant-for-the-Planet and to raise awareness of the COP20 Meeting that was taking place in Lima. They handed out flyers, offered chocolate samples and took many “Stop talking, start planting” photos with passers-by. The local newspaper, the Süddeutschen Zeitung, came with a photographer and a particularly interested journalist. The Ickinger Idefixe made sure he went away with plenty of information.

Running an information stand In order to raise awareness of Plant-for-the-Planet, we run information and sales stands at several festivals and events, telling people about our campaigns and Plant-for-the-Planet. We also sell books and chocolate. When visitors come to our stand, we try to convince them there and then to become a member of Plant-for-the-Planet, something even better than putting money in a donation tin. By doing this, we receive regular donations meaning we can achieve more over a longer period of time. A great alternative is to collect business cards from adults so that you can write to them straight away the number of trees they would like to sponsor through Plant-for-the-Planet. Plant-for-the-Planet can provide everything you need free of charge to create a fantastic information stand. Please contact the office (event@plant-for-theplanet.org). It’s so much more fun doing a stand with other people, so bring a friend or find other motivated ambassadors in your area (See “How do I find fellow campaigners?�).

Kay and Neil at the Augsburg Exhibition Kay (12) and Neil (9), two Climate Justice Ambassadors from Rain am Lech ran a Plant-forthe-Planet information stand during the Augsburg Exhibition. They had plenty of information materials, chocolate to sell as well as small sessile oaks (Tree of the Year 2014) to plant there and then. In just two afternoons, they were able to inform several hundred visitors about Plant-for-the-Planet. Kay made a speech on the exhibition stage in front of approximately 600 visitors. After that, lots of interested people came to the stand, inspired and excited.


Chocolate tasting promotion Everyone loves chocolate. For that reason, a chocolate tasting session works really well to inspire new people about Plant-for-the-Planet. This is how is works: Choose a shop in your area where you can buy the Change Chocolate. Ask the manager if and when you can carry out a tasting session in his shop. The manager will be really pleased with your suggestion. Of course, there must be enough Change Chocolate on the shelves for the tasting session because in a supermarket, 200 bars are sold within three hours. A tasting session normally lasts between two and four hours, depending on how much time you have. Open a few sample bars of Change Chocolate and offer it to customers. Explain to the customers what Change Chocolate is, how it is linked to Plant-for-the-Planet and point out where they can find Change Chocolate on the shelf. Of course, you don’t have to hold a Chocolate Tasting Session in a supermarket. There are many other places that are suitable too. (See information and sales stands). You’ll find everything you need for a successful Tasting Session in the tasting package (chocolate, flyers, poster), which you can get hold of quite simply by emailing schokolade@plant-for-the-planet.org It has never been tastier to save the planet.


Chocolate tasting with Nils

Nils (13), Climate Justice Ambassador from Neumarkt, Germany, organized a Tasting Session and Information Stand in his local drugstore called “dm”. In the run-up to the event, he made poster adverts to attract as many people as possible. By the end of the day, Nils had won over many new fans to Change Chocolate and the chocolate shelf was, of course, empty. A Chocolate Tasting Session doesn’t just go down well with people; it’s also great fun.

Josia [11, Duisburg, Germany] My planting-party took place in the summer of 2009 as part of the Duisburg Environmental Days. Felix and our city mayor, who also planted a tree, were both there. Felix was the sponsor, or maybe the “chief supporter” of the Environment Days. (Finally a kid got to do it!) Also, many reporters showed up, some of them with cameras. Then several of us kids stood up and introduced to them what we have already done for Plant-for-the-Planet. Niklas [12, Cologne, Germany] I plant trees not only because I want to do something for the environment, but also because I hope that we can work together to create a balanced world, after we stop cutting down the rainforest. It makes me really happy to see that every tree somebody plants makes small little changes for the better in our environment.

Plant with friends and your community Did you particularly enjoy the planting campaigns at the academy? Why don’t you organize your own planting party? It’s really not as hard as you might think and our guidelines will help you. It will be most effective if you can get your local mayor to support your Planting Campaign. He or she can help you to find a suitable space for planting and invite the residents of the town to come and plant with you. (See page 147).

Henri held his own planting party in Aldenhoven


A few weeks after receiving his training to become an ambassador for climate justice, Henri (8), Ambassador for Climate Justice from Cologne, sent a letter to the mayor of his area in Aldenhoven to ask for a place to plant some trees. Henri went on a bike ride with the mayor to look at the area together. A short time after that he was able to invite his whole class to a Planting Party. Not only that, but the children were on television and even more people learnt about Plant-for-the-Planet.

Be a moderator for our academies If you are at least 14 years old, you can apply to be a co-moderator for our academies. As a co-moderator, you will help to set up and clear away sessions. During the day, you will help to lead sessions with the Moderator Team. You will lead the World Game module, sessions on giving rherotic training and the World Café by yourself.

Louis (15), Ambassador for Climate Justice from Fellbach, received his training in 2012. Since then he has given many talks at the academy and has run stands. For some time now, he’s also been a co-moderator. Louis really enjoys passing on his knowledge about the Climate Crisis to younger children and by doing so, he gains even more fellow campaigners.

More about that on Page 84

Organizing a Run4Trees charity run “Run4Trees” is a Sponsored Run for Trees. For every kilometer you run, a certain amount of trees will be donated by businesses, schools or communities. By doing this at your school sports day, for example, you can make sure that


every kilometer run is swapped for trees from a business. This is a great opportunity to bring together exercise and protecting the environment – and, of course, it’s really good fun too.

Every year since 2010 in Unterhaching, an official “Run4Trees” has taken place. In 2013, a record year, over 600 runners took part and every year it’s getting bigger and bigger. Big and small can run together, increasing awareness of the environment. For more information, go to www.run4trees.de.

How to find fellow campaigners? Being with other people makes the campaigns so much more fun. Here we’ll tell you how you can find other children and young people.

Paul (15), Ambassador for Climate Justice from Neubiberg, was trained in the academy in 2009. Since then, Paul has held many events for Plant-forthe-Planet: chocolate-tasting sessions, talks, stands at various different events and he also organized a separate academy for his school. As a Mentor since the beginning of the year, Paul has been sharing his experiences with ambassadors in the Munich area.

Get support from your mentor What is a Mentor? A mentor is an advisor for younger people or people with less experience. In our case, mentors are experienced Plant-for-the-Planet ambassadors or moderators. Each academy has a mentor who is there to support you in your activities following the academy. Do you know your mentor? Have you been in touch already? If not, just ask your academy Team who your mentor is (akademie@plant-for-the-planet.org).


Connect with Ambassadors in your area The best thing to do is to register online through our e-learning platform straight after your academy. Through our online courses you can learn more about why it is so important to do something to help fight against the Climate Crisis. Through the course “I’m active”, you can find a planting group in your area. As soon as you have signed up to a certain group, you can contact the other ambassadors in the group and plan your events together. The Mentor for your region is also a member of this group. After you have been in touch online, it’s a good idea to meet up. Plan regular meetings, for example, the first Thursday of the month at school.


Mike (16) set-up a Plant-for-the-Planet club in his hometown of Freiburg. Every two weeks his group meets to discuss past and upcoming campaigns. Mike and his club have held numerous information events and organized ten tree-planting campaigns. As well as the small group that plans the events for the club, there are also about 90 other members who help out with the tree planting and other campaigns. The club even has its own homepage: www.plant-for-the-planet-freiburg.de

Everything you need for your campaign The Plant-for-the-Planet administration team is on hand to help you with any campaigns that you plan. We are happy to provide you with all the information materials you need. info@plant-for-the-planet.org +49 (0) 8808 / 9345 Let’s be active together in every country on Earth and take our future into our own hands. Every campaign makes a difference. Let’s go!

Our information materials: • General Plant-for-the-Planet Info-Flyer • Campaign Poster “Stop Talking. Start Planting” • Poster for Change Chocolate • Flyer for Change Chocolate • Participation Flyer (to advertise for members) • Books: “Tree by Tree” and “Everything would be alright”. • Chocolate • Sticky Hands


Hand out our sticky hands There are lots of materials that we can use to raise awareness of Plant-for-the-Planet. One of our ambassadors came up with the idea of sticky hands. You can use the hand just like in our “Stop talking. Start planting” campaign and stick it over adults’ mouths. You will definitely find a suitable place for the hands. You can buy the stickers in our shop.

“Run4Trees” – Benedikt’s brilliant idea for his Environmental Group Another unique event from Plant-for-the-Planet is “Run for Trees”. Benedikt Hitzler came up with the idea for the running event in March 2008 as he held a flyer for Plant-for-the-Planet in his hand. Everyone was talking about the topic of Global Warming and the politicians argued and argued about defensive measures. We repeat: they argued. Benedikt and his campaigners, however, wanted to do something concrete and came up with the idea of staging a sponsored run for trees. In the following weeks, the school’s Environmental Group advertised their plans. They managed to convince the school leadership and the Town Mayor agreed to be patron for them. With so much support from the town and the school leadership, it was now a question of looking for sponsors: the tricky one. All of this happened right in the middle of the summer holidays and it often seemed that there were more questions than answers: What about the catering? Who’s responsible for the flyers and posters?


How will it all come together? Straight after the holidays, the heat was on, and it was getting really hot! There were problems with the printing of the flyers, as the company who had agreed to print them ran late. The local press hardly supported the project at all. As well as the regular weekly meetings of the Environmental School Working Group, there were also extra meetings during this high-pressured period.

Lots of businesses let them put flyers in their premises. A bus carried an advertising poster on its side along the length and breadth of its route round the town. Elsewhere an advertising banner was strung across a street where a large number of pedestrians walked. One advertising company placed over 200 posters on lampposts in one area. In short, there must have been very few people in the area who didn’t know about the run. Of course, you can’t completely prevent things from going wrong: it is really difficult to win over local prominent people (like politicians) for support. Benedikt says, “the majority of refusals we received were down to the schedules of the people we asked being too full.” But even without prominent people running, more than 1,000 runners crossed the start line, supported by 60 helpers. By the end, 7,654 euros were collected for Plant-for-the-Planet – the result of 1,800 voluntary work hours and a great experience. Similarly Moritz (9) and Alina (10) organized a “Run4Trees” with the help of their parents. The pupils from their community in Unterhaching agreed on a 100,000 Tree Promise and the two children have been working really hard to fulfill their goal. Since 2010, the 6th Run4Trees has just taken place in Unterhaching. Every year there are more runners participating. Have you got a great sponsorship idea and want to get it moving? Then get in touch with the Plant-for-the-Planet administration team event@plant-for-the-planet.org


Trees for the South … Or: 20 euros = 20 trees For each Euro that is donated, one tree can be planted. But we don’t want to plant just one tree, we want to plant as many as possible – a million trees in


Flyers for this can be requested from the Plantfor-the-Planet Administration Team.

every country on Earth! When you want to organise a tree planting party it is often possible to find sponsors who are willing to offer financial support. Maybe even your parents, relatives or friends will be willing to help out too. Once you’ve been officially trained as a Climate Justice Ambassador, you will be able to organise “official” fundraisers, and start collecting donations in other places like a subway station or at public events.* On our website we have put together a list of the most important

questions surrounding the theme of fundraising and collecting donations.

Often we even found companies and organisations that would generously support us in our campaign – serving as our official sponsors. You can read more about how a good fundraising and sponsorship campaign works at the end of this chapter. Our friend, Benedikt,* has a really fantastic idea for this.

You can even get people to pledge a tree at presentations. You can give presentations at places where lots of people come together, like planting parties for instance or school festivals, school presentations, town events, colleges, fairs, conventions and prize-givings. Tell your audience about the climate crisis, about


Collect trees for the future – with your Tree Card With the Tree Card you can start your very own Tree Collection. The Tree Card is made of wood and fits in your wallet. Each month at least one tree will be planted for you by the Plant-for-the-Planet initiative. With your personal Tree Card you can show everyone your commitment to the fight against the Climate Crisis and actively contribute to it round the clock. With the help of your individual Tree Card ID you can manage your trees and with your personal tree counter, you always have an overview of the growth of your little forest.

how important trees are, and that trees are the only system by way of which CO2 is filtered from the air and stored. Share your vision of the future with adults and impress on them that you’ll still be alive in 2100. As an ambassador for climate justice you’ll be given all the slides you need for your presentation. If you like giving presentations the administrative offices would be happy to set you up as a speaker at conventions. With a speaker’s fee even more trees can be planted. At the end of your presentation you can ask everyone present to pledge a tree straight away and to promise how many trees they’d like to donate: for 20 Euros we’ll plant 20 trees. The easiest thing to do is for the listener to write down the number of trees on the back of their business cards and for you to collect them in. Now we come to the most important thing: we need money, above all, in order to plant trees where it makes the most impact – in southern countries. It is much warmer there than it is in Europe. Therefore the trees grow faster and help – through their ability to absorb CO2 – even faster against the climate crisis than those trees in other parts of the world where trees grow more slowly. Because of this, we have teamed up with partner organisations in Africa, South and Central America and in Asia. These organisations plant trees for Plant-for-thePlanet with the money that we collect. Every Euro donated is transformed by our partners into a tree. Here are a few examples.


Get yourself a Tree Card. It’s a card made out of wood, the shape and size of a credit card www.tree-card.org

Mexico (North America) Thanks to our Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation, we children have also been owners of a forest since 2014. This is the story of how that happened: About 13,700 hectares of forest were destroyed in the state of Campeche, Mexico because a Chinese investor wanted to buy the land to create a large rice plantation. However, the investor abandoned the

Felix’s father organises the reforestation. He is kneeling in front of 2,000 Mahogany seedlings on Plant-forthe-Planet’s land in Campeche. In ten years’ time these will be trees as big as the trunk they’re leaning against.

project and left behind what used to be extremely fertile land. With money donated by the Finkbeiner family, extra donations from friends and family and a great deal of supporters, little by little our Children and Youth Foundation (through its Mexican subsidiary) has been able to purchase that land. With the goal of turning that land into a forest again. The first step was to hire our own forest engineer, who spent several weeks investigating our piece of land, with is double the size of the lake Starnberg, to work out which tree species we would plant and where we would start. By the end of 2016, the number of employees grew to 78 including three chefs. They are able to plant about 6,000 trees each day while at the same time caring for the previously panted trees. This adds up to over 2 million new trees a year. By using solar panels, we have electricity to light the wooden huts for our workers. Over 500,000 trees grow in our own tree nursery for about 3 months each, before being planted. Raul Negrete Cetina, Chairman of our Mexican Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation is an engineer who lives and works in Playa del Carmen. Once a week he travels by night bus to our ranch and manages the research there. Together with our employees planting there, they record the geo-locations of all trees planted and keep a record


of their tree species and the rate of growing. With a success rate of over 90%, we are part of the best-led reforestation project in Mexico. As an employer we are highly rated, constantly expanding our

ill once again
be forested areas w absorb 100 de e es th s ar ye will In 10 e trees and they e make the wood w covered with larg If . ar ye CO2 each ill thousand tons of enty years, the Carbon [‚C’] w ill tw ew into furniture in wood for many decades more. W e ain remain within th ees straight away, which will ag tr at again plant new d so the cycle continues. For th y on an , absorb new CO2 emium hardwood, like Mahogan pr e. t reason, we plan ericas in Constitución, Campech Am our Rancho Las

established team and extending the land area. Soon 300 Forest Workers will be planting 10 million trees every year. We also want to point out that worldwide we only need about ten thousand projects of a similar size to reach our one trillion tree goal. We invite all of you to come and visit this project in person when you are in Mexico. Additionally, everyone is invited to join our team for a few weeks and help plant and care for trees, please contact us at info@plant-for-the-planet.org. The planting area “Rancho Las Americas” is situated near Constitución in the state of Campeche in Mexico. Constitución is a small town with 2,000 inhabitants on Federal Highway 186 from Chetumal to Escarcega. Our Ambassador Alina (15) and her father Michael were among our first visitors. The head of the Forest Authorities for the State of Campeche met with Paulina, the president of the Global Board and Felix at the Ranch. He called it the most efficient afforestation project in his state.

Malaysia (Asia) In Malaysia we have been planting trees for many years with our responsible planting partner, the SMK Teloi Kanan School. We are obviously very pleased about the fact that it is indeed students who are planting mangrove trees here on the coast. Mangrove forests are a paradisiacal habitat for birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, mussels, crabs and other animals. But above all mangrove forests on the coast are an important form of protection against storm surges and tsunamis! Thanks to the support of local teacher and environmental activist Kalaimani Supramania we will be able to plant many more thousand mangrove trees in Malaysia in the future.


Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand (Asia) The important function of mangrove forests as a form of coastal protection against tsunamis and tropical storms was clearly demonstrated in 2013 when a typhoon turned the coast of the Philippines into a disaster zone. Together with our planting partners we have been building up the mangrove forests along the coasts of the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand in particular since the summer of 2013. In 2013 alone we planted over 400,000 trees in these three countries.

Ecuador (South America) Gregor, who has been with Plant-for-the-Planet since the beginning and had done his community service in Ecuador, worked with local Ecuadorians to plant over 28,000 trees. Together with the leader of the region and other local citizens, Edwin Bustamante, an environmental engineer, reforested the forests of the province of Pichincha. Overall, 13 different native species of trees were planted. Through this reforestation project, the negative consequences of deforestation


Gregor at a planting party

(climate change, erosion, and the loss of biodiversity, etc ‌) will be slowed down and eventually reversed.

Democratic Republic of Congo (Africa) The Democratic Republic of Congo lies in one of the largest tropical forest regions of the Earth. But because an unbelievable amount of the forests in the Congo had been cut down, there has been an increasing number of completely bare patches of land on mountain slopes which are vulnerable to erosion. Tree plantations and the “great atmosphere” there with the locals, who are leading Plant-for-the-Planet’s efforts, are doing a lot to combat this problem.

Costa Rica (Central America) With our partner “BaumInvest” we have already planted 40,000 trees on fallow ground. The unique diversity of teak trees and a variety of other local tree species that have been planted there have above all, been hugely important for the ecological diversity of the area and the resistance against tree pests. One of the

A small ­number of the 40,000 trees in Namibia

tree species they planted is the almond tree, whose fruit is used as food for a rare parrot. In addition, they reforested areas along local rivers. Incidentally, the seedlings for the planting campaign were gathered directly from the site where they were re-planted. And in some places the trees were even used as a natural replacement for fences.

Namibia (Africa) With the children in Namibia and our partner organisation “Trees for the world” we have already planted over 40,000 trees! Aside from absorbing CO2, these trees have another important function, they combat the expansion of deserts in northern Namibia.


Bangladesh (Asia) Together with our local partner organization “NETZ”, we have planted nearly 115,000 trees working with 23,000 of the poorest families in Bangladesh. The planted fruit and nut trees offer a secure income and help to improve the nutrition of these extremely poor families. The families now know much more about protecting the environment and resource management and are now aware of it in their surroundings. The project contributes towards the national strategy for the fight against Global Warming (the Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan). The planted trees act as carbon stores and each tree contributes towards the fight against the Climate Crisis. We believe that these projects are all worthwhile to donate to! We from Plant-for-the-Planet guarantee (as well as a certified accountant) that a tree will be planted in one of these countries for every Euro donated. By the way, one Euro from the cost of this book, that you have in your hand right now, will also be donated so that another tree can be planted too! Thanks!


How about “giving” a tree as a present? One of our friends gave 50 trees to her grandma for her birthday one year, and she absolutely loved the gift! The beautiful donation certificate now hangs in her living room. Or maybe you can even ask somebody else to give you a gift of trees for your next birthday or for Christmas. In any case we have had the experience with our campaign that many people react quite open-mindedly and are very happy when we request a small donation to help us reach our goal.

Of course there are always people who are skeptical and sometimes react in a negative way. At our last meeting we collected together some of the tricky arguments that we have come across on different occasions and thought about possible answers to them. You can use these too, if you want to convince other people to join you. As we mentioned before, our experience is that many people think what we do is great and are happy to donate money for tree planting.

Good answers to dumb arguments! Argument – But it’ll be nice when it gets warmer! Answer 1: Will it also be nice when the summers are so hot that old people and children die from heat stroke? Answer 2: If global warming continues at its current rate, then millions of people will lose their homes – should they all come and stay with you then?

Argument – I don’t care! I don’t want to hear about it! Answer 1: Do you care more about your own comfort than about us children? Answer 2: Do you think the coastal flooding all over the world and the complete disappearance of glaciers (etc...) not the problems?!

Argument – What? You’re talking about 2050? By that time I’ll already be long gone. Answer 1: But those who WILL still be around, we children for example, want the Earth that is still inhabitable. Answer 2: Don´t you have any children ... or friends or relatives who have children?

Argument – I am already doing something to protect the climate. I try to drive as little as possible. Answer 1: Great! But unfortunately not everybody is pitching in. So those of us who do have to work harder. Answer 2: Do you fly? (Do you eat a lot of meat? Do you separate your trash? Do you save energy? etc) ... everybody can start with these small things.

Argument – But a couple of trees aren’t going to do anything. Answer: Every tree converts CO2 into oxygen, and we are always planting more. After our first million, more will follow, because we children are planting trees all over the world together. We know that trees can only be a part of the solution though, so we are always using our tree-planting campaigns as ways of bringing attention to the fact that we have to continue working closer together, if we want to solve other global problems, too.

Argument – Climate change? That has always existed. Answer: You’re right! But the world has never experienced before such rapid climate change as today. This is because the CO2 levels in the atmosphere are rising faster than they ever have before. Consider this for a moment: for many decades now we have been digging more and more carbon up out of the ground in the form of coal, petroleum, and crude oil and burned it – releasing more and more CO2 in the air. This carbon required a very long time to be buried underground, but today we are releasing it back into our atmosphere almost in one go. So fast, in fact, that we are releasing the same amount of CO2 that was stored underground over the span of a million days (2,738 years) within just a single day!

Argument – But one person can’t change it! Answer 1: That’s not completely true! When many, many people each do just a little bit, then together they can achieve quite a lot. We might not be able to stop climate change, but we can certainly slow it down, if everybody does their part. Answer 2: We, for example, are planting trees. A single tree can clean 24,000 cubic meters of air every day. And throughout its lifetime a tree can remove up to 3 tons of dangerous carbon dioxide from the atmosphere!

Argument – But I have ­already planted trees! Answer: That’s great, but please help us to plant more! If you would like even more people to follow your good example, then we have a great idea ... (Tell them about the next tree-planting-party and how they might be able to support it ...)

Argument – This is matter of politics ... and if they’re not going to do anything, why should I? Answer: If many people are working together, then politicians will have to listen and help us too. You can and should be one of the many who force the politicians to get to work.


Our planet needs Climate Justice Ambassadors … Or: The Plant-for-the-Planet Academies So that we children and young people can stand up for our future, we naturally need as many people as possible who are able to support us. We ­already have a large group standing with us, but there should be more, many more! We need to find these people and convince them that we can do something together to protect the climate and for climate justice around the world. In order to spread this important message we need Ambassadors. More specifically: Climate Justice and Future Ambassadors. We children and young people Everyone can do it, including yo u: talk with as many people as possib le about the climat e crisis and about what we can do against it!


When possible, we also extend the training over multiple days.


are the perfect people to do it! If you have read everything in this book so far, then you have already learned quite a bit about what you need to do to convince others. Of course, it is helpful when you get help and learn from adults, but it’s always better when we children can help and support each other. In spring 2008, we established a way of “empowering” Climate Justice Ambassadors. Usually over the course of one day*– we will hold an “Academy” in which we kids learn about the climate crisis, primarily from each another.

Lea and Mira [11, Erlangen, Germany]

We also thought it was really cool that Felix, his

In January last year we read in

sisters, and his father were there, too. Even a

our local newspaper, the ­Erlanger

TV crew from a popular German kids show came

News, that a climate academy was

along and a short report about our event was

going to be held in the Environmental

given on the radio in the state of Bavaria,

Station of Lias Grube in Eggolsheim,

Germany. A year later at the end of February

Germany. In our family we talk a lot

2010, we and our friend Elisabeth gave the open-

about the climate crisis and our father

ing speech at the Academy in Stuttgart, Germany.

is also involved in the field, so we immediately

That was fantastic! We are also planning an

thought that this was the thing for us. Although

Academy in our hometown of Erlangen so that

it was a terribly cold weekend and it rained in

more kids from our area can become Climate

torrents, the event was really great! All together

Justice Ambassadors, too.

we planted 130 trees.

Plant-for-the-Planet Academy with Zulus in Thousand Hills, South Africa

As we write this book we have already completed all of the training to become Climate Justice Ambassadors. Not only did we learn a lot, we also had lots of fun while doing so! In spring 2008, we established a way of “empowering” climate justice ambassadors. Usually over the course of one day– we call it an “Academy” – we children Plant-for-theAcademy


learn about the climate crisis, mainly from each another. We all go through the CITY MONTH XXth , 2015

Registration: www.plant-forthe-planet.org/ Participation en/academy/eve and catering nt is free of charg e! Contact: Name of Instu tution Contact: Nam e Surname Adress Email, Telep hone

training to become ambassadors for climate justice. We’ve not just learnt a lot, Preliminary 9:00


we’ve also had loads of fun!

9:45 10:15 10:30 10:45 11:30



Welcome and introduction Now we child ren save the world! Climate Justic e Ambassad or´s lecture Questions and discussion of the lecture Break World Game: We citizenship and experience global climate justic e Rhetoric pract ice in working groups Lunch

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Children between the ages of 9-12 can take part in the academies to become 12:30


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Venue: School / Instit ution Street and Num ber ZIP and City

ambassadors for climate justice. For older children and young people, Plant-for15:00



World Café (grou p work): How can we motivate our friends, parents and teachers to help us with Planning our our goals? own first proje cts! Closing even t with other interested parents, friends and people: We prese projects, goals nt our and visions to and become the adults appo Justice Ambassad inted as Climate ors End of the Acad emy

Please note: NOTE

the-Planet also offers exciting opportunities. In the next part, the academies for 16:30

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ambassadors and our children and young people meetings will be explained in greater detail.


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in CITY on MONTH XXt h, 9:00 am to 5:30 2015 pm

In this chapter we want to describe to you how the Academies work and what kind of interesting things you can learn there.

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We have gathered together the perspectives of many different children who have attended an Academy, and we have also added more background information to provide context to their viewpoints. Of course it would be great, if you could join an Academy in your area. You can see up-to-date announcements for future Academies on our website: www.plant-for-the-planet.org* Maybe you would even like to establish an Academy on your own, for example at your school. If you want to do this we’ll be glad to help you! Just get in contact with us: academy@plant-for-the-planet.org

On *site

our webwe offer a large amount of helpful “material” for Academies that you could use at any time.

If you (still …) can’t or don’t want to join in at an Academy, then you can still learn a lot about them in this chapter! Our Academies always run according to a specific pattern with which we have had our best experiences. The training to become a Climate Justice Ambassador, therefore, consists of various “building blocks” – we call them “modules”. What’s really important is that at the Academies we kids learn from one another. Therefore, it is also always necessary to have at least a single “pre-trained” Climate Justice Ambassador there (adults can of course also provide support, by helping to lead the event).

Academy for Climate Justice Ambassadors Module 1: Introduction Or: Hearing and discussing a Climate Justice Ambassador’s speech 96

because I s pretty nervous, the first time, I wa for ren ild ch Momo’s er w all the oth know you’ game. y started and I sa d a fun little ‘get to ye pla we n “When the Academ und at the t mo, … bu in a big circle aro from my friend Mo told us to throw it d an ing str ol we knew nobody aside wo dy giant ball of ball to somebo , game) gave us a ever we threw the en Wh ). nd ha a really r teacher (she led the ou de und thread in d by the end we ma we keep the unwo break the ice – an to d lpe he each other (while is Th question. ask them a simple were supposed to r circle.” ou of le in the midd cool net of threads

After one or two icebreaker games, one (or more) of the already trained Climate Justice Ambassadors gives a lecture that last about 45 minutes. The word “lecture” probably sounds a little boring, but it isn’t at all! Firstly we children find it a lot easier to listen to each other than to adults (even if many adults don’t like to hear that … ) so we kids stay focused during the Academy lectures, even though there is a lot of information packed into them.

Secondly there is also a really great PowerPoint presentation that goes along with the lecture (also designed by children and teenagers)*. This illustrates the Ambassador’s message really well. Thirdly the subject of the lecture is incredibly interesting … it’s about our own future! If you have read the chapter, “What does climate change mean?” then you already know quite a lot. In any case, it is worth looking back at the material again and maybe you will still learn something new. Of course the better you know the facts, the easier it is to convince others to get involved. Following the lecture we discuss people’s questions and the course content more extensively. Usually we do this in smaller groups because the conversations can be more detailed and in depth. In the end we come back together into one big group and talk about what we learned. Here is an example of a question and how we answered it: after the lecture, that Mira and Lea from Erlangen gave in Stuttgart, an audience member (and future Ambassador) said that although the glaciers were melting very quickly overall, there were also places in the Antarctic where they were getting thicker. Can this be true? We investigated the question and found that it is true. Although the ice sheets on Antarctica are already beginning to melt away, there are areas on the icy continent where the glacier thickness is growing. One can say that it is increasing against the trend. Why? Because when the pack ice belt (the ice floating on the sea around Antarctica) melts during the southern summer, there is a much higher amount of water vapour in the air. If this moisture over the sea is driven toward the land by strong winds, then it will snow heavily in these areas – and because of the freezing snow, the ice will get thicker. Questions like these are obviously very in-depth, and no one can be expected to keep all of the intricate details in their head. However we always try to answer every question as thoroughly and clearly as possible.


Module 2: World Game Or: Discussing the topic of climate justice ” of ferent sized “spots ak, there were dif bre t or sh a w m sa fro d ck r look at them an “When we came ba . We took a close us for g itin wa wit or rds h the flo ed) were small ca paper lying on the o differently shap als re we h hic ca, Asia, (w erica, South Ameri that on these spots e, Asia, North Am rop Eu : nts to ne nti t co what we were going names of differen really interested in s wa I … a on ali llo ba str , Au olate bar and a Africa, Antarctica leader, put a choc me ga the , from an d ffm rne . Ho cited. What we lea do next! Then Mr me even more ex de ma on ich are wh els s, lev nd y consumption into each of our ha sperity and energ pro r we fai d un an w nt ho s ne nti wa us kids on a co these ‘ingredients’ h a whole bunch of wit ing rth nd No sta d s an wa e I cially in Europ Earth. In the end er continents (espe rs than olate, while on oth oc ch le litt ry more chocolate ba ve ny d ha s, but they had ma kid er ted few cia ch so mu as re ntinents (and their America) there we realized which co we en got us wh t tha rse ly, wo us believable! Obvio we did! It got even – that was just un CO 2 st mo the ” ss that we saw. countries) produce ange the unfairne we could do to ch at wh t ou ab g kin tal

In the second module we play a game called the “World Game”. During this game we learn about fairness, both in terms of prosperity and in terms of climate justice. It is only when we have it clearly illustrated before our own eyes that we can truly understand how unfair the current world structure is. For the game: A small part of the world


population has the most candies, symbolising their richness. In order to become so rich, these small parts of the world used the poorer countries resources (oil, gas, metals, etc…) and by using them created the vast majority of the world’s CO2 emissions which in turn fuels global warming. However it’s generally not those who caused global warming, who are faced with its most severe consequences … it’s the countries that have the least candies of all - the poor countries!

Module 3: Public Speaking & Style Or: Learning how to give short lectures “My friend Seba stian, who has been a Climat persuaded me e Justice Amba to attend an Ac ssador for a lo ad emy), at first ex ng time now (w speech: by star plained how a ho ing at a sheet person should of pa pe not give a r an looked only at d reading off a his notes or at few lines in a sm the ground, an all low voice, he definitely not a d he stood ther very good spee e kind of awkw ch ardly … it was be ca us convincing. An e nothing of wh yway, his first at he was trying sp ee to ch say was clear wa s mean or anythin so bad that we or g because Se all started laugh bastian was try ing – but it wasn’t Them we prac ing to do it ticed how to im worse on purp prove each ot ose. person. When her’s public sp it was my turn eaking skills wi to give a spee thout hurting th but then it was ch in my group, e other really great to I was honestly experience ho pretty nervous tricks and tips w qu ick … ly yo while talking! u can improve Two weeks lat with a couple school - and it er of , I litt ga le ve m y was really fun!” first official cli mate lecture in our

Public Speaking was known as “Rhetoric” in Ancient Greece, meaning “oratory”. We need to ask ourselves: how and with what attitude should I talki in order to convince others? It is said that this art form developed over two and a half thousand years ago in the public squares of ancient Greece, where the speakers attempted to attract crowds for their topic and convince them of their viewpoint. Certainly, each of us has experienced that it is sometimes not easy at all to convey what we know to others. And we all want to get across to others what we know, so that it is well understood. The way of the idea from the head through the month of the speaker into the ear and the brain of the listener is not often as simple as one would like it to be.


This can be true for many reasons. For example, sometimes it is easy to become too excited, muddled, to mix up the important with the non-important aspects of a topic, to lose the thread of a speech, or to be intimidated by an audience – although most don’t mean to be intimidating. At some schools, though, students practice the ability to speak freely in front of the class. But even then it is no small matter. As Climate Justice Ambassadors we often speak in front of groups of people, both large and small. Explaining and educating is our specialty, so it is especially important to practice giving public speeches. This is why our Academies offer a lesson in rhetoric. Also, the best practice comes from working together in a group: 1.  Remember to speak loudly and clearly – try not to mumble! And try to keep your speed within normal ranges, not too fast or too slow. 2.  It is good if you can use words and terms that are particularly important and memorable. Here is a small example from our climate lecture: “What is Plant-for-the-Planet? Very simple – a children´s initiative which plants trees for climate justice. In 2007, the then 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner gave a presentation in his school about the climate crisis...”

Alina: rhetorical skills! 3.  Every now and then look at people in the audience and search for eye contact! It will also give you a chance to notice when someone does not seem to understand what you’re saying.


4.  Make sure that you are standing up straight and on both legs (no joke, it really helps!) 5.  When several people are giving a presentation together, don’t fool around when it’s another person’s turn!

Module 4: Planting Campaigns Or: We plant trees ourselves and prepare new planting campaigns “It was exciting and fun to watch and participat e. Some of us had never with the soil before and worked were a bit squeamish abo ut doing it for the first tim forest ranger just gave e. The us a grin and said: ‘It’s dirt – not poison!’ Every while he had to save a onc e in a few trees from our too-go od intentions. The dwarfs poked up out of the gro bar ely und … we learned that shade is particularly goo young plants, but that dire d for ct sun can be very harmfu l to them.”

Our academies normally take place in autumn or spring, just at the right time of year to plant young trees. We can’t organize a large planting event on our Academy Day, but where possible, we go out under the direction of experts - preferably with a forester - and plant a few trees. Either that or we pot on seedlings - we take really young plants out of the seed trays and replant them in sisal pots. That means that later on the trees can be planted in the ground in their sisal pots. Of course, we ambassadors for climate justice can’t and don’t plant out every tree that we have started off. But it’s good and important to know how it’s done. This is crucial so that we are prepared to then lead the largest planting parties possible after the Academy is finished!


Module 5a: World Café Or: We collect ideas how others can be involved and sat at rent groups split into diffe , de si in of getting ck al we went ba hieve the go n, ac ai e ag w s do nd on clean ha the discussi ble was: ‘How d reasonably ld Cafe´s ta ncil, I found or ou W C r ity ou “After we ha C at e e e topic hile, all of th other is in th te tables. Th ter a little w cause my m Af Be . ?‘ er st four separa es iti po r activ the poster ideas on a report on ou d written at wn all of our the media to other kids ha we wrote do e th er t th ha andparge w gr To sting … rs, parents, e and looked really intere ults (teache at a next tabl ad n e w at ore of iv do m t ot w m sa ted and ow can we e added a fe groups rota table said, ‘H down, and w n xt we te ne do rit e w th y ow ster on asked ‘H eas alread topic. The po few good id posters that a e er azing ite w qu am es e ly bl er al ta There w at the other ts ?’ It was re d en an ud st es ents, etc.) ?’ r tim he more nds and ot rotated two e inspire frie our own. We d ‘How do w an ?’ y rt pa antingere!” organise a pl e up with th eas we cam id t ea gr y how man

The World Café gives us the opportunity to work on different questions in small groups one after the other. On each poster all ideas, which have already been collected from other children so far, can be continued and can be supplemented with your own ideas.


Module 5b: Work in school groups Or: We take action! The extensive collection of our ideas from the World Café will then be used as the basis for our following work and action in school groups. Here, all children from one school assemble together around one poster to work out specific projects: how do we want to get involved with Plant-for-the-Planet at our school? In order to make an effective plan of action we write down exactly “What” we plan, “Who” of us children will carry out which job at our school and “by what time” we want to achieve our goals. At the end we wrote down all our goals, promises, and plans on large posters. Our school posters are not only intended as a reminder for us children but also point out to the adults that we take our commitment to climate justice very seriously.

“There were five of us from our school and together we tho involved with Plantught about how we for-the-Planet in the wanted to get fut ure. During the Wo a lot of ideas. Beca rld Café we had alr use of this it was ea dy collected rea lly easy for us to took over the org plan campaigns for anisation of a Plantou r sc hool. Sarah for -the-Planet info bo summer holidays. oth at our school Afterwards, Lisa wa festival just befor nte e d to write an articl which she wanted e about the school to take a “Stop Ta festival, for lking. Start Planting municipal council. ” picture with her au Antonia could not nt who is in the wait until the scho about Plant-for-the-P ol festival. She de lanet and the Acad cided to give a sp em eech y the following we at our school shou ek. After all, the oth ld also be informed er ch ild ren ab out the climate cri planting trees so sis too. Leon and much that they too Niklas enjoyed k over the organisa tion of another pla nting event. ”

Module 6: Our first lecture Or: We present our aims to adults ntation give our first prese we were about to en wh ht re. frig ge r teachers were the “I already had sta use so many of ou ca be rly ula rtic wit pa ing h in front of adults, ing things we’re do to share the excit d nte wa I e our tim y we went back to But at the same ing at the Academ en ev s thi er Aft the whole world… w goals in sight.” school with big ne

The culmination of the Academy is yet to come: at the end of the Academy we always invite as many adults as possible (parents, teachers but also sometimes the mayor), to whom the new Climate Justice Ambassadors can present everything they have learned during the Academy. This not only makes us proud of ourselves but we also experience together how it feels to take responsibility for our own goals in front of adults. By the way: it is quite a great experience if one can explain something to adults that they themselves didn’t know so much about before.

Since Plant-forthe-Planet was established, more than 46,000 Climate Justice Ambassadors have been empowered in 800 103 Academies. With our Academy concept we gained experience in 51 countries and we know: it works. That´s why now we want to implement our Academies in all countries.

Our annual Children’s Conference at Lake Starnberg, Germany Our first Children’s Conference took place in 2010. Now, every April, around Arbor Day, about 100 Climat Justice Ambassadors mostly German-speaking get together at the Children’s Conference. We get to know each other, report on our activities, meet the members of the Tutzing and Uffing Administration Teams and come up with new ideas together. In talks and workshops, we learn how scientists are working on the Climate Crisis, what the latest scientific knowledge is, why wood is great and how Plant-for-thePlanet is being developed around the world. The program of course includes free time: we plant trees or organize a Forest Olympiad. As we, the ambassadors, give all the talks ourselves and we’ve all had such different experiences, there are special courses to learn how to give presentations and about speaking in public. During these sessions you can try out the sound of your own voice, practice presenting techniques or learn tips and tricks for the big stage. A highlight of the Children’s Conference at Lake Starnberg is the Election Party where our new Global Board is announced. During this weekend all ambassadors around the world vote for the 14 people to stand on the Global Board. Their oneyear term begins on July 1.


The conference ends with us deciding which projects we will carry out in the coming year on a local, national and worldwide level. Be there with us and register now online for the next Children’s Conference at: www.plant-for-the-planet.org/de/mitmachen/veranstaltung As well as the conference in Germany that we’ve already mentioned, there are also other annual Children’s Conferences that take place in Malawi, Mexico and Spain.

Children’s Conference at Lake Starnberg 2015

Youth Summit Our first Youth Summit took place from May 20, 2015 – May 25, 2015. 88 young people from Plant-for-the-Planet from 23 countries worked on a manifesto at the Evangelist Academy in Tutzing. In this manifesto, we together with everyone else, demand the implementation of the Two Degree Limit among other things. Once we had finished the manifesto, we sent it out to all our ambassadors in Berlin so that they could pass it on to the relevant state and governmental leaders. We also wrote our requests for the Climate Convention in Paris, the place where we “elder� Plant-for-the-Planet ambassadors first took a stand. Our demands were displayed on 58 helium-filled balloons for all the governmental leaders to see, which were released a few days later at Lake Starnberg, coinciding with the G7 Summit in Elmau. Sign up for the next Youth Summit: http://www.plant-for-the-planet.org/en/about-us/youth-summit


We’re planning our future for ourselves … Or: Negotiations about the Limit We are ambassadors and lobbyists for our future. By global consultations we have developed a 3-Point-Plan to save our future. Even if we are fighting for the right thing, we have to convince others of the value of our ideas and persuade powerful people that has to be implement to our 3-point plan to save our future. Therefore we offer an additional Academy for youth in order to become a “Certified Future Negotiator”. At these Academies we youth train each other using many practical examples of how we can successfully negotiate with the heads of companies, mayors, prime ministers and governments. We have to know exactly what we want, and need to keep a cool head in stressful situations. Matthias Schranner, an acknowledged expert in negotiation, has helped us to develop the content of that Academy (www.schranner.com). For years he was a hostage negotiator with the police. Today he trains executives of renowned companies. He has developed a 7-point strategy for us on how we can achieve our goals in a negotiation: 1. How do we correctly analyze the other party and its motives?


2. How do we pursue our goal with a clear strategy? 3. How do we win someone over with the right arguments? 4. How do we take the lead in a negotiation? 5. How do we show our strength? 6. How do we break down resistance to our arguments? 7. How do we ensure the terms of the agreement are complited?

All Ambassadors receive a “Tree-Shirt”. That’s a tshirt made from Tencel-wood-fibre, which is biologically harvested by Austrian firm, Lenzing, and then woven into a tshirt in Germany.

Knowledge is the only asset that does not diminish when we share it. We are currently developing an E-Learning Platform. The aim is that children and young people will be able to train as ambassadors, furthering their knowledge. Soon we will also be offering new content, such as world financial systems, global

At UNEP Children Conference in Find out more information about how you can take part on our website South Korea in www.plant-for-the.planet.org. 2009 after Felix said: “Everybody who wants to plant a million trees in There are many, many thousands of us children and youth worldwide. their country, come up on There are more of us every day. We strongly believe in the collective the stage.” intelligence and not in the great man theory: a single person Natalia from Poland reports, how cannot change the world alone, but a global movement can. she became involved: We organized together with UNEP global consultations during “My friend Milena and I travelled to the UNEP Children and Youth children and youth conferences in Norway in 2008, South Conference in South Korea, where we Korea in 2009 and Japan in 2010 with several thousand saw a presentation by Felix. I thought participants. We were connected with through laptops at first: I absolutely want to plant a and when one of us had an idea, all the others saw million trees in my country … but is this 107 it and could react and add their own ideas and even possible? Then I saw how many other vote for others. Out of these consultation children were joining Felix on the stage, and I processes we developed our 3-Point-Plan. thought to myself: we kids can do it together!” governance and energy transition.

We presented this plan to the UN-General Assembly on February 2, 2011 in New York: 1. Let’s plant 1,000 billion trees ( by 2020! There is enough easily available space for these additional trees on our planet, which do not compete with agriculture or housing, and not in deserts or in drylands. 2. Leave fossil fuels in the ground! There is an existing technology already which will allow us to live on 100% renewable energy by 2050. 3. Let’s fight poverty through climate justice! Let’s divide the remaining budget of about 600 Billion tons of CO2 which would avoid an increase in the average temperature of more than 2°C, equally among all global citizens. That means 1.5 tons of CO2 per person per year. Whoever wants more pays those who exhaust less. We call that “Climate Justice”. Did you know that since Plant-for-the-Planet has existed, around 46,000 ambassadors for Climate Justice have been trained in our academies? With our concept of the academies and our experiences in 51 countries, we have learnt and seen that it works. Thats´s why we want to be presented in every coutry in the world.


I’ll be a coordinator ... Or: Coordinating events in your country We want to have one million ambassadors by 2020. To reach our goal, we must organize even more academies in all corners of the world. Our older ambassadors and adults can help us with this by becoming academy coordinators. If you want to earn some money while you study and you’d like to do something worthwhile

alongside your career, apply to be a coordinator.

If you’re 18, you can be a program coordinator – wherever you are in the world. As a coordinator, with the help of our administration team in Tutzing, you will organize academies where you live. You will inspire many children who will thenspread the idea of climate justice as ambassadors.

We have two centers in the world to train adults as coordinators. In Europe we use our two administration offices in Bavaria, Germany - one in Lake Starnberg and the other in Uffing am See. Our other training base is in Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The Mexican Plant-for-the-Planet Organization is based in Playa del Carmen. During a three-week long course, you will learn all about Plantfor-the-Planet, the scientific background, communications and presentation. The courses are available in English, German or Spanish and our expert leaders take a very practical approach. During the training


session, you will start to organize your first academy. Why not to combine your coordinator-training course with a Spanish or German language course? For more information about the empowerment centre and current dates, please visit: http://www.plant-for-the-planet.org/en/join-in/ empowerment-center

In Uffing, Germany and Playa del Carmen, Mexico, we hold training courses for coordinators. During the training course, participants stay with us too.

Everything would be alright We, as people, know a lot, we are capable of more and more, but we also face extreme challenges. We young people are not only inheriting an unimaginable debt from the adults, but also, to express it visually, a Mount Everest of unsolved problems and challenges: 1. The growth of the world’s population continues, and in a few years almost 50% more people than today will be living on this earth, who will all be In March 2013 Felix led a sermon at the Church of the Redeemer in Schwabing, Munich, which was later printed in a pamphlet entitled ‘Everything would be alright’ („Alles würde gut”). You can find the speech on youtube using the search terms ‘Felix Kanzelrede’ (in German only). In the first year of its publication, over 50,000 110 copies of the pamphlet ‘Everything would be alright’ were ordered. The publication is also available in English. It’s available to order for 1 Euro in our shop at www. plant-for-theplanet.org in batches of 6, 13 and 50 copies, with no postage costs in Germany.

seeking a resource-intensive standard of living equivalent that exist in Europe or the USA today. This will, however, exceed the carrying capacity of the Earth by many times. 2. The since broken promise that was made around the time we were born in 2000, namely the implementation of the United Nations’ development goals, the so-called Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), by 2015. Supposedly, there was no money. The cost of the 2008 Financial Crisis and the rescuing of the banks, which was triggered by this crisis, have had an effect on many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

You knew about it, what did you do? Is this historical question allowed, and will it be asked louder and more frequently over the next few years? 70 years ago, the siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl made a stand in Germany. They are the role models of courageous students. They put up a fight with the means available to them, leaflets. They labelled injustices as injustices. And just as the dictatorship in 1943 was not an unavoidable natural disaster, global poverty is also man-made, the climate crisis is man-made and the financial system is man-made.

Why do we not make sustainability part of our survival concept? The adults should learn from the foresters who “discovered” this term 300 years ago. More specifically, Carl von Carlowitz established the principle of sustainability in 1713. Everything that the foresters reap, they owe to the work of their ancestors. Everything the foresters work for their whole life they do for the following generations. Some businesses are proud of their profits. However, is it an achievement to reap profits at the cost of us children, comparable to the reaping of trees without reforestation?

The transition to renewable energy is essential for our survival We are currently seeing extremely successful lobbying efforts by the nuclear and coal industries against the transition to renewable energy, which they attempt to portray as being too expensive. Even if the complete transition to renewable energy costs Germany 1,000 billion euros by 2050, higher subsidies have been provided to coal and nuclear over the last few decades, not including the immense follow-up costs of nuclear waste. In addition, in Germany we import € 100 billion euros worth of gas and oil every year. Unlike the Russians and the Arab nations, the sun doesn’t send us an invoice. Energy transition is paid for more quickly than an apartment. We have to fight for the energy transition: whole world, the many young people are watching for Germany. If the Germans

Energy t is paid ransition quickly for more apartmen than an t!

have success with the energy transition, then no state in the world can refer to it saying that it won’t work. With the energy transition in Germany much more is at stake than resonates in national discussions. If the lobbyists try to overturn the stated wish of the majority this time, then it would look very bleak for our future. We must prevent this! To take on debt, which the future generations then have to pay for, is not usually sustainable. The transition to renewable energy works differently, because the faster we implement it, the faster we can save € 100 billion euros per year in energy imports. With these savings we can quickly repay any debts. That‘s why we children and young people are asking the federal government to take out a loan, so that we can implement the energy transition as soon as possible. Everything would be alright if we managed to plant 1,000 billion trees by 2020 and therefore showed that the future of humankind is important to us. Humans made it to the moon in ten years. Planting trees is definitely easier. Everything would be alright if together, through the planting of trees, we learned to understand ourselves as a global family and, through this understanding, moved on to tackle the other human challenges. Everything would be alright if we woke up and did the right thing.

At the VW Business Conference in Wolfsburg in June 2013, Felix said: “Sustainability is not a Provision; 111 it is the right of our children.”

We children are global citizens and world politicians … Or: Thinking and acting as global citizens 130

Our vision

We are the children of the world … Or: Our global planting community 114

What would we children do? Or: Our 3-Point-Plan to save our future 134 Coal, oil and gas should be left in the ground… Or: The “Elmau pledge” and the 21st Climate Conference in Paris in 2015 138 We are Climate Justice Ambassadors Or: How we are fighting for our future 140 “We won’t be able to call adults to account since they will be dead when we have to solve the problems that they haven´t worked out.“ (2012) Felix (14)


We are the children of the world ‌ Or: Our global planting community Plant-for-the-Planet began as a seedling in Germany in 2007 and ever since then it has been spreading and growing all over the world. It was at that moment when Felix called all of the children up on stage in South Korea in 2009 to begin planting a million trees in each country, that we truly became a global movement. Information about activities in other countries can be found on our website. Here, the international planting groups can upload their new planting campaigns and events and in doing so, share them with the rest of the world. In the process not only do worldwide campaigns arise but friendships can also be formed. It is great if one Climate Justice Ambassador in Duisburg can (for example) see pictures of tree rows in Africa online which were planted by children in the Plantfor-the-Planet network. The tasks that we face as Climate Justice Ambassadors around the world are basically the same, even if there are differences in the details. Basically it is our job, from the A in Argentina to the Z in Zimbabwe, to plant trees, enlighten others, and spread awareness. We already have active kids in over 100 countries and there are also numerous planting groups and reports with donations from their activities on our website.


The feedback and reports from Plant-for-the-Planet groups from around the world are already so numerous, that we can only include a small portion of them in this book. You can find more photos and stories from the active countries that are already engaged, on their respective Plant-for-the-Planet web-pages or in our monthly newsletter.

Egypt At the ‘Cairo Climate Talks’ conference in September 2012 a video message from Felix was shown to the 300 participants. Following that, visitors to the events in Cairo watched a 45-minute documentary by Carl Fechner called ‘Because I’ll live longer than you’. This was the reaction in Cairo: “The video message is brilliant and it really touched the audience. Felix received longlasting applause here in Cairo (…) We want to post the video on our website, and/or on Facebook, to reach more interested people in Egypt. The film was also received enthusiastically; by the students just as much as by the adults. We’re going to make every effort to ensure that the film will be shown here in as many schools as possible. We might then be able to make plans to set up an Academy in Cairo.”

Argentina Vanina set up a planting campaign in her area on September 21, 2012. “We planted species native to Patagonia: nires, coihues and barberries - all plants from our own tree nursery! On 10th October the Buenos Aires Daom Club organised a tree planting initiative. Almost one hundred children and some parents, planted 50 trees in an area with little vegetation. Amazing!”

Azerbaijan In November 2010 Rufat went to Baku. It was there that the first children’s forum in Azerbaijan took place, with support from the minister of Education. Rufat made sure that the Plant-for-the-Planet initiatives were made a priority on the agenda. In Azerbaijan children also want to organise Academies, to educate Climate Justice Ambassadors. Together they want to set up a network of children from different countries.


Belgium In October 2011 in honour of our founding hero, Wangari Maathai, the first Academy in Bütgenbach took place. The new Climate Justice Ambassadors were able to prove themselves at a huge planting initiative, during which thousands of trees were planted. In 2013 new Climate Justice Ambassadors were trained in Brussels and more than 500 trees were planted.

Benin More than 84 schools are active in Benin: “We want to plant 5,000 trees every month. By 2017 there will be 100 million trees in all regions around Benin!” At the end of 2013 the first Academy took place in Benin, with over 60 children participating.

Bolivia “We’re also participating in Plant-for-the-Planet. Thankfully we’re not just starting out: our tree planting initiative is already 17 years old. In the barren highlands our forest has grown to over 70,000 trees. In the coming planting year we will be adding a further 7,000 trees…”

Brazil The initiative really took off in Brazil in 2012 – together with Brazilian organisations and local government we organised 11 Academies straight away. Almost 600 children have been trained by other children to become Climate Justice Ambassadors. Iago from Cachoeira was trained at an Academy and is member of the Plant-for-the-Planet Global Board. “As a member of the World Committee I have ambitious plans. I want to speak with my country’s government, to strength-


en the activities dealing with the effects of climate crisis. I believe that we can become a generation of Ambassadors who are committed to the fight against climate crisis and Plant-for-the-Planet could be hugely helpful in achieving this goal. I think that educating children about the environment is the best way to form a generation committed to sustainability. That’s why I believe in Plant-for-the-Planet. I believe we can build a better world.”

Chile Chile’s first Academy took place at the end of November 2013 in Santiago de Chile, with 41 new Climate Justice Ambassadors. Further Academies were in the planning for 2014.

China China is planting the most trees on the planet. China’s former minister of forestry Jia Zhibang and Chinese superstar Wei Wei support the ‘Stop talking. Start planting’ campaign. In November 2009, the first Academy took place in China. 70 children from School No. 1, Guilin, a city of 5 million inhabitants, were enthusiastic about building a worldwide network, and together with Felix and singer Wei Wei they planted the first 26 trees in their school playground. Not only did the Plant-for-the-Planet Ambassadors appear on the covers of multiple newspapers in China as a result of their first planting initiative, but they also appeared on television! By the end of 2013 the number of Chinese Academies had risen to 14.

Dominican Republic Since 2011 the Santa Lola Foundation, our partner organisation in the Dominican Republic, has implemented the pilot programme for an innovative model: Plantfor-the-Planet Academies in several stages. First of all a Plant-for-the-Planet Club is formed. It meets every Saturday, and step-by-step, the themes of a ‘normal’ Academy are dealt with: the world game, public speaking training, and, of course, the planting initiative. At the end of the final day of the Academy, there’s an Ambassador’s pledge and certificates are presented. From April to May 2013 another generation of Climate Justice Ambassadors was empowered.

France Following the first German-French Academy on the ICE train from Paris to Stuttgart on which the first French Ambassadors were trained in 2010, three further Academies have already taken place in France, two in the capital, Paris, and one in Nice. Felix has also already held discussions with the Deputy Mayor of Nice about how France’s


fifth largest city can plant 52.5 million trees for it’s 350,000 inhabitants – 7.5 million trees per year. The town is really only able to plant about 10,000 on public land, but with the help of an intelligent campaign they plan to encourage citizens to plant trees in the countries of the South. Nice might become the first city in France to team up with Plant-for-the-Planet, especially as the companies Accor and Yves Rocher have already planted over 3 million and 26 million trees and have pledged a further 24 million.

Ghana The ‘Youth Volunteers for the Environment’ organisation assisted in setting up the first Academy in Ghana, at the ‘Atta Mills Centre of Excellence’ at the centre of the Salvation Army’s school complex in Mamprobi, Accra. Three students and a teacher from each of the 12 participating schools attended. Following the success of the first Academy in Accra, children in Kumasi were also given the opportunity to become Climate Justice Ambassadors on December 12, 2012. Mohammed is a Climate Justice Ambassador and member of the Plantfor-the-Planet Global Board: “My engagement with Plant-for-the-Planet began at an Academy in October 2012. Part of my campaigning work has been to organise ‘Green Clubs’ in roughly 10 schools, each of which has about 20 members. My intention is to increase the number of these clubs in schools in different areas, in turn increasing the number of Climate Justice Ambassadors. I want to set up a number of Academies and plant at least 200 trees per club. If possible, I’d like to start up a project called ‘Tree for Life’ to plant a forest in my area.”

Great Britain 118

Up to now, 15 Academies have taken place in the UK and many more are planned. In June 2013, 10 year-old Brianna took her unicycle and cycled it 2.5km along the length of the Forth Bridge in Scotland. And why? To collect tree pledges. ‘Plant-for-the-Planet was at our school a few months ago and made us Climate Justice Ambassadors. I was on the way to school when I saw that loads of trees were being cut down as the grass was being mown. They were only seedlings – perhaps the men who were mowing the lawn didn’t even see them.’ Brianna decided to do something about it. She didn’t just raise the money to plant 950 trees in the countries of the South, but also convinced her town to replant the seedlings.

Guatemala The first Academy in Guatemala took place on August 13, 2011, in rural San Marcos, one of the poorest areas of Guatemala, which itself is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. However that didn’t deter the participants, who learnt about the climate crisis and developed their own action plans. Spurred on by Andrea Nava, a Climate Justice Ambassadors from Guatemala City, the children from various schools even gave their trees a name. The participants belong to the Mam people, descendants of the Mayas, and live near the highest volcano in Central America (Tajumulco 4220m). A further 14 Academies have already taken place in Guatemala.

India India’s first Plant-for-the-Planet Academy took place on August 14, 2012 at the Vivekananda Senior Secondary School. Suman, organiser of the Academy, said: ‘At the first Plant-for-the-Planet Academy on Tuesday 371 school children from the Vivekananda Public School, Rajoti, Khretri, Rajasthan participated. The presentation was split into two groups – we were unable to do it in one due to the lack of space – and was followed by tree planting (15 trees) on school grounds and more planting on the hills directly opposite the school. More good news is that the school has already stated that it will be setting up a Climate Club and promised to continue planting trees and running Academies to create new Climate Justice Ambassadors in the region.

Indonesia In August 2013, the Indonesian island of Bali played host to two Plant-for-thePlanet Academies. Two private schools – the Christian Kalam Kudus School and the international Gandhi Memorial School – invited their pupils to become active as Plant-for-the-Planet Climate Justice Ambassadors. Bagus, Member of the Plant-for-the-Planet Global Board put forward the idea of organizing a Plant-for-the-Planet Academy. Only a few weeks later, at the end of September, his first Academy took place, the first on Indonesia’s main island, Java – a dream come true. Up to 2016, Bagus has organized six Academies.


Italy In Italy, meanwhile, there are Climate Justice Ambassadors just about everywhere, from the german-speaking Tirol to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia. Climate Justice Ambassador Giovanni from Sassari is particularly active: “I have been a member of Plant-for-the-Planet since 2011 and have already planted 150 trees. Last June I organised the first Academy on Sardinia. Twenty-five primary school children attended. I am committed to helping us children get more involved in our future. That is why I also collaborate with the local authorities and other local organisations. In addition I give lectures at schools in order to encourage more children to participate.”

Cameroon The children from Little Angels of the Environment promised to plant trees for climate justice in Cameroon. From July 29th to 31st, true to their word, 50 children planted trees on the beach of Kribi. Many adults helped, the Minister for the Environment even encouraged the children to share their knowledge and discuss their activities with their families and in their schools. Cameroon’s first Academy was held on March 9, 2013, in Bamenda, at the Delegation for Youth and Political Education. Nine schools from the surrounding area were invited. Students from six of them attended, each accompanied by a teacher. Even a few parents took part in the Academy. Altogether, 25 students were made Ambassadors. A second Academy, with 50 participants, was held in the autumn in Mamfe.


Canada Clara from Canada writes: “We have already planted 500 trees in Montreal, paying particular attention to threatened species. I think we also need trees here in Montreal because it has too many cars and not enough greenery. Everything that makes my city greener is worth the effort. Incidentally, in Canada, most thirteen- and fourteen-year-olds spend one summer in more remote regions specifically to plant trees. I myself have planted thousands – and this year we will be planting again!”

Kenya In July 2011 more than 1400 children were trained in Kenya. The first Academy was held in Kayole Soweto, one of Nairobi’s worst slums. Despite the difficult circumstances, the children listened intently and participated fully in the study groups. Although the Kayole community centre was filled to bursting, all the participants were very calm and focused. In 2013 Felix travelled to Kenya where he met Stephen Njoroge. Stephen began planting trees in 2009 when he was nine years old and has already planted 15,000 trees. He has also founded a club with 5,000 members. Stephen’s goal is to become the voice of Africa’s children.

Colombia One week after the first Academy of its kind in the country, Colombia already had an additional 100 trees and nearly 40 new Climate Justice Ambassadors. On June 15, 2012 the Colegio Agustin Nieto Caballero in Bogata organised an extremely successful Plant-for-thePlanet Academy. A television crew came specifically to capture the entire day on video for the national news. The cameraman, news presenter and other participants were deeply impressed by how motivated the children were and how much they already knew. The children contributed a lot of their own knowledge and ideas during the introductory presentation and Worldgame. However the highlight of the day was clearly the planting. All the school’s students participated and enthusiastically planted 100 trees throughout the school grounds. The trees, some of which were more than 1.5m tall, were specifically selected to match the local climate and soil characteristics. Thus oak, rubber, cherry and alder trees were planted.


Lesotho 500 children participated in the first Academy in one of the poorest countries in the world. It was a true highlight. Lesotho’s Minister of Forestry said in his speech that he realised that he has been making a mistake by relying up until now only on adults. He promised to correct this mistake and to trust children from now on. In addition, he promised children from all of Lesotho’s districts that they would be able to get free seedlings at any time from government tree nurseries. The Queen of Lesotho said that it was a great honor that Lesotho was now able to join the worldwide Plant-for-the-Planet network.

Lebanon “Every year we organise a planting session in the Bekaa Valley to combat deforestation. This year we planted 5,000 conifers on the KabElias Mountain where there had been a fire last summer. So far, since 2006, we have planted more than 30,000 conifers in the Bekaa valley region,” said Nour.

Liechtenstein “For our grandchildren’s future” is the slogan of the Morgenland Festival. What could be more perfect than giving the younger generation a chance to speak?


For this reason, Felix was invited to speak at the festival in May 2011. He called upon the government of Liechtenstein to raise taxes and to invest “one percent or a tenth of a percent into a fund for the future of children. Regardless of this your taxes will remain incomparably low,” he said in the direction of Councillor Dr. Renate Muessner, who, she later explained to Felix, was then Minister for the Environment, Welfare and Health, representing one fifth of the government of Liechtenstein. Children who were interested had the opportunity to participate in a Plant-forthe-Planet Academy. For an entire weekend the children concentrated on the climate crisis and what they could do themselves.

Luxembourg On March, 30th 2012, 82 children attended the first Plant-for-the-Planet Academy in Luxembourg at the Miersch Arts Center. Together they learned a lot about climate change, the climate crisis, world citizenship and global justice in distribution. They learned about how they themselves could become active. They planted their first trees and developed their own projects.

Malawi Global activist Joseph has already organised Malawi’s second Plant-for-the-Planet Academy. It was held on August 17, 2013 in the capital Lilongwe. Approximately 50 students from six local schools participated and were introduced to the work of Plant-forthe-Planet. The children could hardly wait until the planting season finally began in December, so that they could keep their promise and plant lots of trees!

Mexico A strong movement has emerged in Mexico following Felix’s speech in March 2010 in Playa del Carmen. Seven Plant-for-the-Planet clubs have been founded in the state of Quintana Roo alone. Within four months children in the Mexican clubs had planted more than 50,000 trees and organised several Academies. And that’s just the beginning! Based in Quintana Roo, the children want to train at least 2,000 new Climate Justice Ambassadors every year in 30 Academies all over Mexico, encouraging them to become involved in Plant-for-the-Planet. The mayor of Playa del Carmen started a campaign in October 2013 and plants trees every Saturday with his colleagues. His goal: one million trees by 2016. He donated an office building to our Mexican Plant-for-the-Planet organisation, established in 2013.


Nepal According to Rajan, “Even though our plants and seedlings are small at the moment, everyone will benefit from them in ten years’ time. We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and involvement of the children.� The trees will not only store carbon but will also reduce the adverse effects of soil erosion and floods. Meanwhile, five Plant-for-the-Planet Academies have already been held in Nepal, supported in particular by Sagar, the former president of the Plant-for-thePlanet Youth Global Board.

Nigeria The very first Plant-for-the-Planet Academy in Nigeria was held in February 2013 with 55 children from 10 schools. The Academy was held in the Infant Jesus Academy, a private school with a nursery, primary and secondary schools, near Kabong in the cosmopolitan Rukuba Road district. The surroundings are rocky and presented a good opportunity to plant trees providing shade.

Austria Austria is one of the countries where we children are the most active as Ambassadors. Not only Academics have been osted there, but also the children came up with many great ideas for how to get more trees planted, such as composing songs and even tree donation drives for Albania.


Poland In Poland, up to 2013, two Plant-for-the-Planet Academies have taken place. After the first one in 2010, it took a while for the second one to take place. This happened in Opole in September 2013 and it was a really fantastic event with 81 children from 17 different schools. Bringing this up to date, eight Academies have now taken place.

Philippines In the Philippines we really started off with Academies and planting events in 2013. By the end of one summer, we had held 25 Academies attended by almost 2,000 enthusiastic children. One of them is Luz, a 14 year old Climate Justice Ambassador: “I participated in the Academy because I want to help make our planet greener. Therefore I plant trees and take care of them as they grow, just like a mother takes care of her child until it can stand on its own two feet. Since participating in the Academy, I spend my time collecting tree seeds and recycling plastic bottles for our tree nursery. I would like to nurture 300 more trees by December.�

Zambia Lots of planting is also taking place in Zambia: Lucky and many others - there must be more than 40, because the t-shirts ran out - want to plant as many trees as they can. Their goal is one million. So that everyone can have a t-shirt, they now even want to print some themselves.

Switzerland Our Swiss Ambassadors are proud to have held twelve Plant-for-the-Planet Academies. In 2016 we will establish a separate Swiss foundation to further support this level of involvement.


Senegal “We planted eucalyptus trees in Birkama last year, so that there’s more shade around the sports field. Since then, the trees have grown by more than two metres. Our partner school in Berlin supports us. We received a donation from Berlin in the beginning of December which we used to plant even more trees.

Singapore The former president of the Plant-forthe-Planet Global Board, Shanisse, from Singapore, along with a few of her friends, returned to the South Asian United World College on October, 3rd 2013 in order to train another group of Climate Justice Ambassadors. Felix began this work a year and a half ago and the school continues this mission, faithful to the spirit of its founder Kurt Hahn: “As part of a class called ‘Be the Change’, which aimed to encourage students to make a positive contribution to their community, children were able to listen to us and learn about Felix, about Wangari Maathai, and of course, about climate justice and the work children all over the world do on Wangari’s behalf. After the presentation, we planted Pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius) in the school garden - a plant well known throughout


South Asia for its use in making various sweets and traditional dishes.”

Spain On June 23, 2011 more than 60 new Climate Justice Ambassadors were trained by Felix Finkbeiner at the Maristes School in Girona. As a result, a Plant-for-thePlanet network was successfully launched in Spain. Since then the concept of Plant-for-the-Planet has spread widely in Spain; in Seville, Barcelona, Madrid, and above all on Gran Canaria, enthusiastic children are taking part. Felipe, King of Spain was so convinced by the initiative that he had his picture taken with Felix for our campaign “Stop talking. Start Planting.” - it quickly made the front page of every newspaper in Spain. Since May 2014, we have have our own office in Barcelona. We can now organize our events on the ground much better.

South Africa After Plant-for-the-Planet had been successfully set up in the four African countries of Tanzania, Kenya, Lesotho and South Africa in July 2011, the children and youth initiatives prepared to make up the adults at COP17, the 17th United Nations Climate Change Conference, which took place in Durban from 28th November to 9th December 2011. The children feared that it would be once again all talk and no action to solve the climate crisis on the part of the leaders of the adult world, and were proven right. Therefore the children of Plant-for-the-Planet trained as many children as possible in South African Academies, so they could attend the conference, make themselves heard and demand climate justice. In October and November several Academies were organized in various South African cities. South African teachers were trained to organize more Academies in the future and to help children and youth initiatives to take root in the country. The South African children will plant trees in order to save the planet.

Tanzania In August 2012 an Academy was held in Tanzania in cooperation with the Eine Welt Jesuskirche and the Ernst-Mach Gymnasium (Haar, Munich). Edwin Busl, a teacher at Ernst-Mach Gymnasium, reported: “We had already planned an Academy at two schools, only to discover on site that the holiday period had been postponed at the last minute from June to August, because the government was conducting a population census in which in particular the teachers were involved. As a result, we had to restrict ourselves to one school which, very fortunately, managed to recruit 80 interested students as well as a few teaching staff for our event. We discovered to our delight that the concept behind Plant-for-the-Planet was very much welcomed. A teacher named Nelson Mbamba brings expertise and commitment (he is already in charge of a small tree nursery and discusses environmental issues in class); in addition, the community where the school (Primary School Igando) is situated is planning to reforest 20 hectares and is asking for our assistance. (Quote: “If we do not change anything, in five years we will be living in a desert”).”


Thailand On October 14, 2013 the fourth Plant-for-the-Planet Academy was held in Ratchaburi, Thailand. Instead of the 40 participants expected, more than 100 students turned up from two local schools. In spite of their holidays, the students wanted to plant trees, learn about climate protection, planted and prepare trees their own campaigns. The venue for the Academy was the “Learning Centre for a Self-Sufficient Economy.” A self-sufficient economy is the King of Thailand’s theory, which describes the way in which the people are called upon not to use more than they have and take only as much as they need. That is an important step in overcoming the climate crisis. The students planted 100 mahogany trees on the grounds of the learning centre. These trees, which originally came from America, are plants that are valued in Thailand for their durable wood.

Togo Where is Togo on the map? It is in West Africa, of course. But it is now also on the Plant-for-the-Planet map of Climate Justice Ambassadors that have taken part in a Plant-for-the-Planet Academy. More than 100 primary and secondary school children from the city of Kpalimé are our first representatives in Togo. The Academy began at 6:45 a.m. at Kpodzi secondary school – with more than 2,500 students it is the largest school locally, as well as the oldest and most prestigious. A total of 136 deciduous trees were planted on the school grounds at the end of the Academy.

Uganda “The diocese our school is in has free land near us, where we can plant 14,000


trees. It would be great to partner with a German school...”

Hungary “Our Climate Club will coordinate Plant-for-the-Planet activities. The Club has 11,000 members and our aim is to plant a ‘climate forest’ where every member has his or her own tree. We have invited a lot of schools and reporters too...”


Washington State Department of Ecology is the Environmental Ministry for the Federal State of Washington in the USA.

USA At the beginning of 2011 the first Academies took place on the East Coast, in New York and Washington, DC. In 2013 the news travelled across the West Coast to Washington State and California. In Seattle, eight Climate Justice Ambassadors, among them sisters Zoe and Stella, appeared as prosecutors in the case Zoe & Stella and others against the Washington State Department of Ecology*. Together, they took the Washington State Department of Ecology to court to demand a legally binding law to reduce the CO2 emissions in Washington State. This was with

reference to scientific findings, to prevent the oceans from becoming too acidic and to protect the environment. Zoe and Stella met with the Governor Jay Inslee and asked him to instruct the Department of Ecology to pass this law. On July 27, 2015, he did it. Zoe, Stella and their fellow campaigners will continue to fight for this law to be passed, based on the best scientific knowledge available.

United Arab Emirates The President of our Plant-for-the-Planet Global Board, Kehkashan, had organised her third Academy in the United Arab Emirates even before she took up her post on July 1, 2013. She writes: “Our Academy on June 8 was the high point of a very successfully World Environment Week. We achieved our goal of 95 students and 5 teachers from more than 10 schools throughout the country. We used several unique methods to bring home climate justice to the children, including a play “A Green Life”, written by me and performed by all our group members. Alongside presentations and two workshops, our Academy also included an environment quiz and we planted 100 seedlings. The day ended with the promises of all participants written on paper, which we stuck as leaves on a cut-out tree that we named the Tree of Hope.” A total of 5 Academies have already taken placed in the United Arab Emirates. The countries mentioned so far are just a few in which Plant-for-the-Planet campaigns have either taken place or are being planned. There are also events happening in Armenia, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Burundi, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Dominica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gambia, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, Irak, Ireland, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lithu-


ania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Malta, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Bermuda Islands, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe …

gin the be t s u j his is And t


We children are global citizens and world politicians … Or: Thinking and acting as global citizens “Talking alone will not stop the melting of the ice caps nor prevent the rainforests from disappearing”. Lea (13), Climate Justice Ambassador from Erlangen

Every tree that we plant with our own hands and every Euro that we turn into a tree in a country in the southern hemisphere is a real and important contribution in the fight against the climate crisis. We look forward to seeing every single tree on this world not cleared away, but planted!

However we are not naïve. We do not believe that we can save the entire world just by planting trees. If we want to be able to see a positive future ahead of us, then we need to do more.

We kids need rules – The world does, too!

A lot more.

Sustainable Development Sustainable Development* is “development that meets

the needs of the present generation without compro-


Chief Swan from a native American tribe explained “sustainability” to us: “For 130 each decision the Elders of our village check whether the decision will be to the advantage of the seventh generation to follow ours.”

mising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” We kids define sustainability like this: “Living today should not come at the cost of tomorrow, and not at the cost of someone living somewhere else either.”

During the last meeting for Climate Justice Ambassadors, a kid told us about a report he had seen on an experiment done with animals: if you let a monkey choose to have one banana now or six bananas later, the monkey will always take the one banana now. This provides a good comparison. For us children, the future means 70, 80, or even 90 more years, but for adults it only may perhaps mean 20 or 30 more years. So if the adults act even a little like the monkeys, our future will undoubtedly end up looking pretty dim. By choosing to live more comfortably today, rather than considering the needs of future generations, we humans will essentially be acting like the monkeys in the experiment.

Even though we children generally hate having to follow rules, nobody would disagree that we need them. Without rules we would probably never do our homework and instead choose to just play video games. Adults are undoubtedly a bit like big kids. This is why we Climate Justice Ambassadors are convinced that we absolutely need global laws and regulations to govern our actions. In the chapter “What Everyone Can Do” you read that every one of us should drive our cars less, fly less, always use a lid when cooking, replace all of our traditional light bulbs with energy saving ones, eat less meat, change electricity providers, etc… These are all voluntary measures. But how many people have already taken them? Five, six, seven percent? Over 90% of people haven’t made any changes yet. Many people still live under the motto: “Why should I do something for the next generation? Whatever I do now isn’t going to change anything.” Take the example of the car. When we kids were born, German car manufacturers promised to stop producing cars that released more than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Well, they broke that promise and now more and more fuel-guzzling SUVs are crowding our streets than ever before. During the last UNEP Children and Youth Conference we talked with a bunch of kids from other countries and found out that in Germany the tax on a SUV is much lower than for example, in France, Britain, or Norway. In Germany many off-road vehicles are declared as business cars, and exempted from the tax. So, whoever drives a big car, receives even bigger benefits from the state. We only need to look at our streets to see the results of these rules – or rather the result of the absence of rules. Here in Germany, hundreds of thousands of people drive off-road vehicles yet in other countries with smarter taxes the number is much lower. We can also look at air traffic. Just like with cars, the regulation of air traffic fails to take CO2 emissions into account. The aviation fuel for international flights is tax-free around the world. In 2005 the finance ministers of the EU were going to introduce a Europe-wide tax on aviation fuel, but the tourism industry was against it. Great – so now everyone can fly cheaply around the world. Eventually this is going to be expensive for us children though. Not only do people think that they should always fly to their holiday destinations – they also transport useless goods around the globe in planes just because it’s cheap. Much way too cheap. Nobody desperately needs strawberries from the other side of the planet in winter! Now that we mention food, the same principle is true for meat consumption. In the past, our grandparents only ate meat once a week. Meat is so cheap

In 1992 the first UN-Summit was about sustainability. Then, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the first time a child was giving a speech: Severn Suzuki (13). Unfortunately it is as true today as it was back than. Her speech could be repeated word for word at Rio+20. It is sad that 20 years later we haven‘t found a more sustainable lifestyle. But it is positive that we children and youth are much better connected today than 20 years ago. Severn‘s video has been watched 20 131 million times in the past 20 years, today we can reach and mobilize 20 million people in two days. For us children sustainability is the only concept of survival and our only chance for our future.

now that many people, especially those in well-off countries, eat it every single day. If we agree on global rules that every product’s price should also reflect the amount of CO2 that is created during the production process, then meat would be a lot more expensive and people would go back to eating less of it (and living healthier lives). All of us Climate Justice Ambassadors agree that we want to live climate preventing and plant as many trees around the world as possible because we want to keep the climate stable. But we also learned that we need to focus our energy on establishing the right rules and laws around the globe too – so that the people who still haven’t realized how important it is to do something against the climate crisis are in a sense “required to come along” with the rest of us.

Out leaflet campaign 2012 Had the 10,000 delegates from the Work Climate Summit in Copenhagen spent a week planting trees, they would probably have achieved a greater deal than they did.” Felix (12) Climate Justice Ambassador 132

We should learn from recent history! We Climate Justice Ambassadors keep up with what is happening in the world – it’s not just adults who read newspapers or follow the news. Because of this we have realized that our governments would much rather give money out to banks and car companies than to normal individuals who have a much more urgent need for it. We have known for many years that 30,000 people starve to death around the world every day. A large portion of these 30,000 starving people are children. They are starving in a rich world. At the G8 Summit in Great Britain in 2005, the government leaders from the eight richest countries on earth came together and solemnly promised to double the amount of aid they would give to Africa by 2010. That would have been 30 billion US dollars. However, aid to Africa remains, even now, 20 billion dollars less than it should be – so they have broken their promise. By the way, 20 billion dollars is pretty much the same amount of the money that the bankers on Wall Street paid to themselves as additional salaries (bonuses) at the end of 2009 – one year after the government saved them – with tax payer´s money. We children have asked ourselves, why don’t adults do anything against these injustices – they read newspapers too, right? Instead of providing help and aid to the people in poor countries, we are leaving them alone to suffer the most from the consequences of climate crisis, which we in the rich countries helped to create. We children are not climate researchers. We understand neither the global financial system, nor the global economy. We children do not know if it will be the climate scientists who are proven right or the climate skeptics.

Children and youth are especially concerned about the issues of global poverty and the climate crisis. 3/4 of children and youth see poverty and climate change as the greatest challenges worldwide. 2/3 of children and youth see climate change as an existential threat to humankind. Bertelsmann Study 2009 / Shell Youth Study 2010

Nobody knows today if the world’s sea levels will rise by 0.2 or 2.0 meters by the end of the century. But there are three things that we children know for sure: n

many of us will live through till the end of this century.


with every ton of carbon that we take out of the ground in the form of petroleum, coal, and crude oil and then release into the atmosphere as CO2, we are making the greenhouse effect even stronger.


we would already have the technology to be able to leave petroleum, coal, and crude oil out of the ground (Uranium too, of course, because we children don’t want deadly atomic waste).

In addition, the amount of mineral oil, natural gas and coal that we take from the earth and burn every day is equivalent to what the sun absorbs within one million days. We have already been releasing these waste products into the atmosphere for


decades. Thus the greenhouse effect is always intensifying and the temperature rising. As a result of global warming, some regions are experiencing more and more floods, and other more droughts. As mentioned it is the people from the poor parts of the world, who remain closest to the mercy of nature, who will suffer most from the consequences of the climate crisis. This is despite that fact that they themselves contributed least to global warming. Why don’t we assume the climate scientists are right (or perhaps even that it is much worse than they even realize) and change our behaviour accordingly? If in 40 years from now we were to learn that global warming isn’t as bad as predicted, then we can be happy and secure in the knowledge that we didn’t irrevocably harm our planet. But if we don´t axt today and find out as a 50 years old that the climate skeptics were wrong it will be too late for us children.

“We will do it. The Egyptians can do it too!” Theo (10) on January 31, 2011, on the 7th day of the Egyptian Revolution after a speech by Felix at a school in New York.

volution.” sident of the USA) re w ne a s ed ne on ti ra ne ge 6, Pre “Every Thomas Jefferson (1743-182 What gives us courage? In history lessons, we learned that every group has had to fight for its future. Women have fought and are still fighting for their rights all around the world. A classic example was Wangari Maathai in Africa. If they keep keep planting this amount for the next 40 years they reach 100 billion by themselves. Perhaps there isn’t any other choice for us kids but to fight for our right for an own future too. In 2007 we were just a handful of kids, in 2016, we are thousands and although some still might not notice us, but in a few years, when we have grown even larger they won’t be able to ignore us any longer… During the UNEP Children and Youth Conference in South Korea in August 2009, 800 children from almost 100 countries around the world passed a joint statement for the Climate Summit in Copenhagen. Although it didn’t end up keeping the summit from being a failure, it is noteworthy that we kids successfully expressed a joint statement.

What would we children do? 134

Or: Our “3-Point-Plan to save our future” We kids have thought a lot about what we would do if we were the leaders of the world’s governments and were preparing to come together at the next decision-making climate summit. What would we do in order to save our future? We’ve organized our answers to this question into our “3-Point-Plan to Save Our Future.”

1. Let’s plant 1,000 billion trees by 2020, that´s only 150 trees per person! We want to protect the existing woods and we want to plant 1,000 billion of new trees. Trees are the only “machines” that split “CO2” and directly bind “C”.

In addition, trees are small “sugar factories”. In the last 200 years, about half of the world’s forests have been lost. Today there are only 3,000 billion trees left standing in our forests. This number is a satellite-based estimate. In Germany, the foresters, counted all the trees in an inventory and came to 7 billion trees. Based on our own study it is easily possible to plant one billion hectares of new forests that are not in competition with other uses (agriculture, settlements,...) and are not desert areas. By converting acres into square meters, that is 10,000 billion square meters, we can better understand, that we can plant one tree per 10 square meters. Therefore, the actually available space suitable for reforesting is sufficient to plant 1,000 billion new trees.

The IPCC* is 95% certain that the main cause of global warmin g is the carbon di oxide (CO2) that hu mans are pumping into the air thro ugh exhaust gase s. IPCC‘s Fifth Assessment Report published 27 September 2013 www.ipcc.ch

1,000 billion trees sounds like a huge amount, it is a one with twelve zeros, but some examples show that it is possible: The Chinese alone planted 2.7 billion trees in 2009 as a contribution to the UNEP-Billion Tree Campaign. The US-Americans made it to the moon in 10 years, why shouldn´t we achieve to put the biggest global afforestation programme intoaction?

*IPCC = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Why do adults want to push the CO2 into the earth and call the whole thing CCS then? CCS means Carbon Capture and Storage. No one is a 100% certain that CCS will work and no one can be sure that it won’t be dangerous to press the CO2 into the earth. Will it remain there for ever? What happens if doesn’t? Who wants to live next to a CO2 disposal zone? There are many questions to be answered... Sometimes it is really difficult to understand the adults! Why don’t they want to use the safe CCS method via the trees, which has already been working for millions of years? To plant trees is considered child’s play and we can save the carbon in trees, but also in wooden furniture, wooden houses, etc. for many years. Adults would prefer to invest a vast amount of money into research for CCS. Why don’t we invest the same amount of money as would be used for the CCS-research into forestation; an effective method of CCS that has already existed for millions of years? If every human on our earth planted 150 trees within the next ten years in total 1,000 billion trees would be planted. Those who don’t have space in their surrounding area can also donate to have trees planted in southern countries. In tropical regions trees grow faster and therefore absorb more CO2. It’s really not that hard and not impossible at all. When 1,000 billion trees are planted, this will operate as an additional carbon storage and will store an additional 10 billion tons of CO2 as an additional carbon storage. For many reasons these 10 billion tons of CO2 are really important for the implementation of the other points in our 3 Point Plan. Each additionally planted tree absorbs about two tons CO2 and therefore is urgently needed. These 10 billion tons of CO2 could act as something like a time machine, giving us a time buffer to effectively reduce our emission levels. With this buffer instead


of 15 billion tons of CO2 being allowed (as previously calculated) to emit per year, we even emitted 31 billion tons CO2 in the year 2010. From 2009 to 2010 emission were actually increased by 5%, rather than being decreased. If the trend of a 5% increase in CO2 emissions each year continues we would have

On December 9, 2009 in front of the chancellery in Berlin, Germany

used up our CO2 budget of 600 billion tons by 2024. If on the other hand we remain at the same level of emissions each year, at 31 billion tons t of CO2, we still would have exhausted our budget of 600 billion tons of CO2 by 2029 and would have subsequently created the 2°C increase in temperature. Both of these outcomes must be prevented – and of course planting trees is going to be an important factor in helping to prevent this! 1,000 billion trees worldwide - the millionth tree in Germany Unfortunately we children aren’t going to be able to plant 1,000 billion trees alone. We will need some help from adults too. Although, we have already achieved a lot by ourselves. We children have been busy for years already working to plant one million trees in every country on earth.

“Children and the Youth In Germany it took just 3 years until we had planted the millionth tree! On May 4, want […] to be active 2010 the millionth tree was planted in Petersberg near Bonn together with the themselves. For them, Ministers of Environment from Denmark, Germany, Canada, Mexico and Turkey. the most important thing is that their are part of friends from the 2. Leave fossil fuels in the ground. Zero party it and that their emissions by 2050! good deed is fun. They want to learn and to We humans absolutely have to get our CO2 emissions levels down to zero by 2050. The technology for such a CO2-free future already exists. show their 136 abilities. Many Based on today’s engineering it would easily be possible to transition the world´s energy needs a 100% to renewable resources (without the need for nuclear children and the youth would do more if power) by 2050. The dependence on imported fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) is also a major someone were to ask them in the right way.” cause for the dept in Europe. The 28 EU countries spend over € 400 billion per Gerhard de Hann, Educator, German UNESCO Commission .

year for backward raw material imports. We would need no more EU bail-out packages if we would finally move to energy of the future.

3. Let’s fight poverty through climate justice! To restrict the future warming to just 2°C, which was promised by the heads of the governments in Copenhagen, only 600 billion tons of CO2 can be emitted until 2050. If we produce more CO2 than this the temperature will also increase by more than 2°C. The climate scientists explain that if the average temperature increases by more than 2°C the ice in Greenland will melt completely and the mean sea Level would rise by 7 metres. If we divide 600 billion tons of CO2 by 40 years this allows 15 billion tons of CO2 per year. In 2011 34 billion tons of CO2 was produced. The next question we face is how we can divide these 15 billion tons of CO2 across the worlds population? Should it continue like it is today with the USA and Europe producing more than 60 percent just by themselves? For us children there is only one solution: everybody gets the same, meaning 1.5 tons of CO2 per person per year, estimated with a population of 9 to 10 billion people in 2050. So what happens for those who want to consume more? Quite simply: Who wants more has to pay more. If a European citizen wants to produce 10 tons of CO2 he can do this, but he needs to buy the right for it from other people e.g.

“We know what we need to do: a huge amount. The citizens and politicians around the world […] will now decide whether we, at an international level, can create and maintain the commitment and the cooperation which will allow us to challenge the endangered planet” Nicholas Stern, economist and advisor to the British Government.

from the people in Africa who on average only produce 0.5 tons of CO2. Thus the principle of climate justice ensures that poverty will become history. With the money earned, the Africans could then invest in food, education and medical supplies. They wouldn´t have to make the same mistakes as we did with coal, mineral oils and all the other fossil fuels. Instead they can generate their energy with the help of the sun and other renewable sources. Perhaps 2°C doesn’t sound like much, but this would mean significant changes for us children. What exactly would change no one knows for sure. One thing we do know however is that years ago when the temperature was 5°C lower than today, there was a layer of ice, two kilometres thick across some regions. Even if we remain below 600 billion tons of CO2 output by 2050 it is only 75% certain that the average temperature rise will remain below 2°C. No one is a 100% certain of this.

On the 4th of May 2010 at the Petersberg in Bonn, 137 Germany

Coal, oil and gas should be left in the ground ...

Or: The “Elmau pledge” and the 21st Climate Conference in Paris in 2015 Perhaps the most important outcome of the G7 Summit held in the Bavarian town of Elmau on June 8, 2015 is the determination with which the G7 countries intend to combat the climate crisis. The heads of state and government of seven of the world’s most powerful industrial countries – the US, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the UK and Germany – have set a target of reforming the global economy in a way that reduces carbon emissions to zero by the end of the century. The world economy will stop burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. Fossil fuels will stay in the ground. The G7 countries attending the Elmau summit pledged to completely decarbonize our planet by the year 2100. As an intermediate goal, the rich countries are to cut greenhouse gas emissions by between 40% and 70% by 2050, compared to 2010. Poorer countries will start receiving G7 support in 2020. We’re aware that setting and announcing a target doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be achieved. And we know full well that politicians and business leaders often announce long-distance targets, knowing that they will never have to hit those targets themselves. Some of them announce targets simply because they need a breather for a couple of years, at least on that particular score. Later on, they or their successors can explain why they were sadly unable to deliver on their promise. Be that as it may: in our eyes, the Elmau pledge will go down in history. For the first time ever, seven heads of


state and government from the most powerful industrial countries in the world have called for the first point of our “3-Point Plan”. Prior to the Elmau meeting, it was easy for people to say or think: “That 3-Point Plan those kids have thought up is really cute. Such a shame it’s utterly utopian and impractical.”

G7 to phase out coal, oil and gas

G7 adopts demands of Greenpeace and Plant-for-the-Planet

But in today’s post-Elmau world, we can always add the following sentence whenever we present our 3-Point Plan: “Felix presented Plant-for-the-Planet’s 3-Point Plan to the UN General Assembly for the first time on February 2, 2011. Just four years later, at the Elmau G7 Summit on June 8, 2015, heads of state and government from seven of the world’s most powerful industrial countries largely adopted the first of his three points.” For the first time ever, the heads of state and government of the foremost global economies on the one hand and NGOs such as Greenpeace, WWF and Plant-for-the-Planet on the other are now seeking to achieve the same goal* – to leave the fossil fuels coal, oil and gas in the


A historic event

ground, before the end of this century – that’s during the lifetime of children like you and me. Let’s quote the Elmau pledge whenever we hold a speech, whenever we talk to a politician and whenever we negotiate with someone from the business world, and let’s then raise the question: “What do we need to do now to hit this target earlier than 2100?” or “How can we help you to fulfill your pledge earlier than 2100?” The Paris Climate Conference (COP21) picked up on the Elmau pledge. What counts is that we now have a common goal, that we’re committed to it, and that we just need to make the timeline much more ambitious.

The demands we raised in our 3-Point Plan sounded utopian back in 2011. By 2015, the G7 had largely adopted the first of them.


We are Climate Justice Ambassadors Or: How we are fighting for our future Do you know what a Lobbyist is? Lobbyists are people who influence policy, namely the decisions of governments and parliaments, so that appropriate laws are enacted. They care less, if at all, about the future of humans or our future, but more about the future of their companies and their business sectors. We young people, aged 15 years and older, call ourselves Climate Justice Ambassadors. We Climate Justice Ambassadors are not fighting for a business sector, we are fighting for our future. So, we have to act as lobbyists for our future. We fight for the future and sustainability.

The Heads of Government We have sent our letter twice to all heads of governments of the world in July 2010 and September 2011, so that they would then be able to discuss our proposals and solutions. To make sure that the letters arrived, and also to save postage, we children handed them over directly to the heads of government in the capital cities. The rest we delivered to the embassies in Berlin on July 1st 2010. Our letter to the heads of government had the following question as a headline:

Here we hand over the letter addressed to US President 140 Barack Obama to the American ambassador in Berlin

“Do you have plans to save our future?� You can find all the answers that we received on our website. We thought it was important that all children around the world had the possibility to read these responses, comment on them and start discussions about them. We children were sure that at least half of the heads of government would answer. Disappointingly only 15 out of almost 200 governments answered. This included Angola, Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Kenya, Lebanon, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria and USA. Some answers were very vague and contained few concrete promises. We were very shocked. Could it really be true that our future is of such little importance to the heads of governments? Thus is it really up to us children to save our future on our own? Who else should help us children with our fight to save our future?

The United Nations The climate does not know any borders and the climate crisis can also not be solved by any individual head of government alone. We tried to make excuses for the lack of responses from the heads of government, as it is likely that each individual head of government was quite simply overextended. Essentially each government is only responsible for their own people who elected them. Of course every Government wants to be re-elected and they won’t want to do anything to jeopardise this. Maybe it would be better for us to address the international community and the United Nations with our 3-Point-Plan to save our future instead. This we can do! When do the heads of governments meet each other to talk about saving the future for us children? We were looking on the website of the United Nations, the UN, to find which organisations might be interested in our 3-Point-Strategy. Besides the UN, which

Yugratna, Global Board 2011/12, at the General Assembly of the UN in New York 2009

holds its plenum in New York, we found out about other sub-organisations which might be important for us children. n

The UNEP, the Environment Program which has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.


The UNFCCC with its headquarters in Bonn, Germany. UNFCCC one says “UN triple C”, meaning Framework Convention on Climate Change.


The CBD has it headquarters in Montreal, Canada. CBD stands for the Convention on Biological Diversity


The UNFF, United Nations Forum on Forests. It has its headquarters in New York City, USA.


The UNCCD, Convention to Combat Desertification, Bonn, Germany.

These five were enough for now. We would not be able to accomplish more in the first year anyway. All these organisations hold meetings on regular basis and invite the governments and the heads of governments along. We soon found out about some events that would be important for us.

UNEP: Environmental Program The UNEP is a very important organisation. It coordinates all the environmental activities of the UN. Its executive director, Achim Steiner and his team have also started working on the Billion-Tree-Campaign together with the two patrons Wangari Maathai and Prince Albert II. The late Wangari Maathai has been a great inspiration for Felix and Felix in turn has also been a great inspiration for the rest of us children. We children have in turn roused more and more children who have continued the chain of inspiring others.


Since 2007 Achim’s predecessor and former executive director, Klaus Töpfer, has been the patron of the Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Initiative. During his term as head of the UNEP Klaus instigated the UNEP/TUNZA Junior Board. For s lost Greenland ha mes ti x si st almo more ice mass and between 2002 the 2011 than in s. ar ye g in ed prec Many glaciers (sources of r) drinking wate r ea pp sa di may completely. IPCC‘s Fifth Assessment Report published 27 September 2013 www.ipcc.ch

this Junior Board the children elect one representative for each continent every two years. Furthermore the UNEP organises a Children´s Conference every year. At this conference hundreds of children participate, often from more than 100 countries. These meetings are really cool. You meet children from all over the world and you find out that they think the same way as you do. They are also concerned about the future and the environment. You can build great friendships there and socialize a lot. You can register to participate the next meeting at

www.unep.org/tunza.... The UNEP also supports the other four UN-sub-organisations.

UNFCCC: The Climate Summit When all the governments of all countries come together, these meetings are called Conferences of the Parties. The Climate Summit in Copenhagen 2009 was COP15. The headquarters of the UNFCCC are in Bonn. In 1997, the COP3 was held in Kyoto, in Japan. This event, which became quite well known, tor its result: the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol was an agreement made by many governments on the rules and guidelines for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to a certain percentage by 2012. The Kyoto Protocol, one of the first environmental global contracts, unfortunately ended in 2012.

We children did not travel to Copenhagen, but put on pres142 sure by demonstrating in front of the German chancellery December 9, 2009

The 15th climate conference was held in 2009 in Copenhagen. Over 100,000 people from all over the world, world citizens, including many youth, came to Copenhagen, but COP15 was a failure. The world leaders did not agree on a subsequent contract to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The only promise the world leaders made was that the average temperature should not rise by more than 2°C. We were all very disappointed and angry with the results. At the next meeting in December 2010, COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, the young people wore t-shirts saying: ”You’ve been discussing longer than we are old. Don’t tell us you need more time!“ But in Cancun no concrete plans emerged either. Very moving in Cancun was that some island states declared that they cannot support the goal to limit temperature increase to 2°C as their islands would already be under water with this outcome. They have asked the other

President of Ecuador Rafael Correa planting with us children and making the campaign picture with Alessa from Mexico

governments to understand that they can only accept a goal that would limit the maximum temperature increase to 1.5°C. At the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP16) in Cancún, all of the children in our group invited all the delegates to plant a tree with us – we planted 193 trees. It would be really cool if the grown-ups planted at least one tree with us children at the start of every conference for every participant, every participating country and every participating group. Perhaps grown-ups would then think more about children like us when they make decisions for or against our future at the conference. The multi-award winning film REVOLUTION www.therevolutionmovie.org shows the planting campaign. In the next scene, young people are led away forcibly by security forces during a peaceful demonstration. The film asks: evolution or revolution?

12/11, the darkest day for our future The COP17 in Durban, South Africa on December 11, 2011 ended in a disaster for our future. The governments agreed they would not come up with a new

“When one of these politicians who just talks and doesn‘t do anything smiles at the placards, I wish I had a removable “Stop talking. Start planting.” sticky hand”, said Andreas at an Ambassador meeting in Possenhofen, Germany.

contract before 2020. That that during 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 there will no longer be any more binding agreements and all countries can exhaust unlimited amounts of CO2. The head of governments broke their promise to limit the increase in temperature by less than 2°C. Without any commitment to reducing greenhouse gases from 2012 onwards the 2°C goal has become absolutely impossible. Some scientists predict 4°C or even 5°C plus. As if this was not enough, only a couple of hours after the Canadian Minister of Environment returned from Durban, he said, that Canada was officially withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol. According to the Kyoto Protocol, Canada had to reduce its CO2 emissions by 6% by 2012 compared to 1990. But by 2010, it exceeded 35% above the 1990 level. The decision to withdraw will save the Canadian government estimated US$14 billion (€ 11 billion) in penalties. Five days earlier, six young Canadians were thrown out of the UN climate change negotiations in Durban, South Africa. Matthew, Sonia, Brigette, Meghan, James and Karen explain why: “As Canada’s environment minister delivered his opening address to the plenary of assembled countries, we stood up in silence and turned our backs on him. We wore T-shirts that read “People before Polluters,” and “Turn


+2°C +4°C +5°C


isked em Unchec ene r of g sions could s e s a g house th by r a he e heat t 0. by 210 +3.7°C

Fifth IPCC‘s ort ent Rep m s s Asse 7 2 d e h publis er 2013 Septemb ch c. c p i . w ww

Your Back On Canada.” UN security led us out, stripped us of our badges and ejected us from the building. One person can take a stand. Six people can take a stand. But it is when hundreds of us, thousands, millions of us choose to stand up to our government and demand for an alternative to the current path, that a safe home for us all becomes possible again.”

Six young Canadians turn their back on Canada´s government during COP17 in Durban, South Africa

First chocolate, then a boycott. At COP 19 in Warsaw, we handed out 25,000 bars of Change Chocolate to delegates, inviting them, on the inside of the wrapper, to make the right decisions. But sadly, all that chocolate came to nothing because Warsaw showed the world that the environment is no longer a priority issue for those in power. The social organizations were so disappointed that they unanimously walked out in protest. In December 2015, at COP 21, we were more determined than ever, and we set off for Paris with a special edition of Change Chocolate on board. At long last, the politicians and decision-makers of this world have heard our calls and agreed to redeem their Elmau pledge and adopted the first-ever, universally binding climate treaty. Children and Youth like you and me will be back at the next COP in

Francesco from South Africa and Annie from Canada together with two children from Japan pointed out their view of the world on COP10, the conference for biological 144 diversity in Nagoya, Japan

Morocco to continue our fight for our future and for the 2°C target.

CBD: Biological Diversity Every two years governments also meet to talk about biological diversity. At the moment 180 animal species and plant species become extinct every day and extinction means for ever. In October 2010 the tenth meeting, the COP10, took place in the Japanese city of Nagoya with Annie, Clara, Felix and Francesco from the UNEP-Tunza-Junior Board participating and speaking. This conference was successful and ended with a Nagoya protocol. COP11 takes place in October 2012 in Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh), India.

UNFF: Forum on Forests When the governments came together for the kick-off of the International Year of Forests in February 2011 in New York at the UN General Assembly, we took the opportunity to introduce our 3-Point-Plan. You can find the video and the speech transcript on our website. The title of our speech was: “Of Forests, Monkeys and Mosquitoes”. We compared the behavior of the adults with that of a monkey and appealed to the children of the world with the metaphor that

one thousand mosquitoes can make a rhinoceros change its direction.

UNCCD: Convention to Combat Desertification This UN-convention is focussing on drylands. 41% of the Earth is covered by drylands and over 2 billion people live there. The UNCCD supports forestation projects all over the world to fight the desertification in drylands. We children cooperate with the UNCCD to plant trees in drylands.

Parliaments After the shock of receiving so few reactions from the heads of government on our letters, we were forced to think about alternative and additional ways: if the heads of government show so little interest in our proposals then we will have to

In the Auditorium of the UN General Assembly we six present our 3-PointPlan to save our future in February 2011

ensure it ourselves that important laws for our future are being enacted. In most countries the laws are enacted by the parliament. This is most common in democratic countries. We think that the easiest solution might be if the parliaments would decide that each citizen of their country has to plant 150 trees by 2020. A quite simple, but effective law. This is also something that the local councils and the city council could decide. If a country already has so many trees that it cannot plant anymore then the citizens could plant trees in the countries of the South, either personally or via donation. Many communities have sister cities, many schools have sister schools, many companies have subsidiaries in other countries, there is also the internet and the possibility for everyone, wealthy and poor, to work together and figure out how they can help each other. The poorer countries of the South can offer something very valuable, namely the tropics, where trees grow twice or three times as fast as for example in Europe and thus bind more CO2. The Parliament of the Federal State of Quintana Roo in Mexico was the first Parliament to invite us children. This was a great honour as never before had a Non-Congress-Member ever been allowed to speak in front of the congress. And then it was a child! We took this opportunity on April 22, 2011 and for the first time submitted our proposal for a law that each citizen should plant 150 trees. Only one year later, on April 13, 2012, Luis (14) and Felix together with the mayor of Chetumal, the capital of Quintana Roo, have signed a contract that the 140,000 citizens of the city including its suburbs, will plant each 150 trees by 2020.


We children give a speech at the congress of Quintana Roo in México

3-Point-Plan for states, cities, communities and companies Not every Climate Justice Ambassador (8-14 years old) or Future Lobbyist (15-21 years old) has the possibility to have contact with their national governments, but every Ambassador or Future Lobbyist can contact his country’s politicians or the boards of companies in order to promote the 3-Point-Plan on a local, national, or company-wide scale. We would like to describe four examples of the methods employed by the Future Lobbyists. 1. Gran Canaria, which lies off the coast of Africa and belongs to Spain, 2. Chetumal, the state capital of Quintana Roo, Mexico, 3. Kenya, 4. The German state of Hessen. Gran Canaria: together with the former President of Gran Canaria, José Miguel Bravo de Laguna, we children developed a 3-Point-Plan for Gran Canaria to become the greenest island by 2020. 1. By 2020, the Island’s energy supply must be produced by solar and wind power rather than the burning of fossil fuels. 2. From 2020, the government shall not allow the use of vehicles powered by fossil fuels; only the use of electric vehicles will be permitted. 3. Since every global citizen has to plant 150 trees, the 830,000 inhabitants of Gran Canaria will therefore be responsible for the planting of 120 million more trees: 10 million on the island itself, and 110 million in nearby African countries. The millions of tourists that come to Gran Canaria every year can financially


assist Gran Canaria to be the greenest island in the world. Chetumal: A year after we spoke in front of the parliament of Quintana Roo, Luis (14) from Chetumal and Felix signed a formal contract with the mayor of Chetumel that the 140,000 citizens of the city will each plant 150 trees, in total 21 million trees, and will seek to implement the other two points of our 3-Point-Plan. Kenya: In Kenya, the homeland of Wangari Maathai, every child learns that if he

doesn’t plant enough trees himself, “the air of others is breathed”. Over the last five years, 1,419 people and organisations have together planted 495 million trees in Kenya. On April 19, 2012, a number of these organisations together explained that they plan to double this number to one billion trees by the end of 2012. Faridosa, a Future Lobbyist from Nairobi, and Felix have congratulated them, and worked out that with this Kenya is commendably on target. By 2020,

the 40 million citizens will have to have planted 150 trees each, or 6 billion trees together in total. In the first years it takes a little longer, but once people get to know the processes, exceptional developments are possible such as doubling at regular intervals. Hesse: The state of Hesse’s department of finance asked us for a suggestion as to

how the state could implement the 3-Point-Plan. You can read our detailed contribution in the anthology “Climate neutrality in Hesse”, the following is only an abstract:: ˜˜ With its 6 million citizens, Hesse should start a “Billion Tree” campaign. ˜˜ The 100 biggest companies in Hesse can ideally start by planting 75 million trees for their nearly 500,000 employees.

The sea leve l has risen by 20 centimeters since 1900. By 2100 it will climb by 82 centimeter s. The IPCC’s Fi fth Assessment Re port dated September 27 , 2013 www.ipcc.ch

˜˜ Hesse probably cannot offer enough space for all these additional trees, but the climate doesn’t care where the trees are. On the contrary, trees in the tropics bind much more CO2 than trees in Hesse. ˜˜ The ratio of rich to poor people on earth corresponds to 1:5. Hesse can make use of existing partnerships with countries in the southern hemisphere and/or set-up new partnerships with regions with at least 30 million citizens. Get your mayor on board for our town model! We’re already running a multi-year partnership

Each tree town also nurtures its own virtual

with town leaders from a number of towns,

“town forest” online at plant-for-the-planet.org.

including Neu-Ulm in Germany. One participating

That’s where everyone can see how many trees

“tree town” runs at least two Academies and two

a town is planting in its own area and also, far

local tree-planting events each year, the town’s

more importantly, how many trees it is planting

business community funds the Academies, the

in the sub-tropics – the poorer parts of the Earth

mayor provides the land, the foresters and the

where the trees absorb from two to four times as

saplings, and the Plant-for-the-Planet secretariat

much CO2 as in industrial countries in Europe,

organizes Academies and planting events.

the United States, Canada and Japan. With the tree counters in the town forests the towns are

“Tree towns” show that they take responsibility

competing against each other. The general public

for the future, of us the children. Our regular

and businesses can challenge each other to see

communal tree-planting events and the Acade-

who can plant the most carbon-storing trees in

mies at which children and young people can

the world – that is, which of

make themselves heard help make sustainability

them is doing more to give

an integral part of social life. The general public,

children like us a sustainable

politicians and the business community join hands

future to look forward to.

with us, the children, to demonstrate that all of us take the climate crisis seriously and can only overcome it working hand in hand together.

Louis (9) negotiated successfully with his mayor


˜˜ From our Plant-for-the-Planet network, we can arrange for two African coun-

tries to be partners, namely Kenya and the Kingdom of Lesotho. ˜˜ Hesse is also able to bring the transfer of technology to the partnership, and thanks to “Leap Frogging”, the partners won’t make the same mistakes, but can, figuratively speaking, progress directly from the bicycle to the electric car, and equip their homes with solar energy at the same time. Through partnerships with car manufacturers, electric vehicles could be offered at discount prices and become affordable for people with very low incomes. Thus, the partners of Hesse, Kenya and Lesotho could together maintain the limit of 1.5 tons of CO2 per person per year on a long-term basis.

An historical moment. The first contract between a city and the children of Plant-forthe-Planet was signed on April 13, 2012

Future Fee from the private sector We have also thought about how companies can help us. Many companies do already support us, but we want to go a step further. We are hoping that an entire industry could come together to help. Regarding our future the companies should not consider themselves as competitors, but they should all campaign together. We immediately knew which industry we wanted to approach first. Of course all children’s favourite: the chocolate and sweet industry. In May 2011 an opportunity arose when the Swiss company Buhler, world market leader in technical machines for manufacturing cacao, invited their customers from all over the world and as well invited Felix as a speaker. Together Felix and the bosses of Buhler proposed that every chocolate manufacturer should invest just one Euro from every ton of chocolate sold, as future-fee into a future fund for the children. This would be


just 0.01% of their total annual turnover, which means that per 10,000 $ turnover we will receive 1 $. That´s peanuts for the private sector, but a huge opportunity for the children to plant trees, to empower other children and to promote more sustainability. The Communication Agency Leagas Delaney – who already came up with the idea for our campaign “Stop talking. Start planting.” – has designed a campaign for the entire chocolate industry: “Brown is the new green”. Buhler produced 20,000 chocolate coins, called future coins and Felix immediately submitted the proposal to the companies in May 2011 in Düsseldorf. Not one single representative of a company committed himself, leaving Felix shocked and very unhappy. But he did not give up and in January 2012 at the Sweet Global Network New Year’s Reception the CEOs, in February 2012 at the MMM Congress and at the YPO Global Leadership Summit from over 2,000 young CEOs the first 60 companies from 12 countries committed themselves to the future-fee, including

Bahlsen, Becks Cocoa, BrandLogistics, Brandt, Buhler, Chocolats Halba, Chocri, Confi serie Heilemann, Dehner, DMV Diedrichs Markenvertrieb, farbtex, Heads! Personalberatung, Lanwehr Confiserie, Pit Süsswaren, SweetTec, S&R Vertrieb, targetmedia, Trolli, Viba Nougat und Zott.

The Change Chocolate - Our first Plant-for-the-Planet product

ct to colle We want y r a t a volun ee from future-f siness u every b ed We start . r o t sec rite u o v a f r with ou confecone: the ndustry i tionery

We wanted our favorite sector, the chocolate industry, to be the first to support us by paying what we call a “future fee”. The thinking was that each partner of Plant-for-the-Planet should contribute one-ten thousandth of their turnover – the “future fee” – to fund our Academies. That proposal came to nothing, unfortunately, which is why we decided to start producing our own chocolate. It was an experience that taught us children a lot about chocolate. That it takes 300 grams of CO2 to produce 100 grams of

Our cocolate campaign and chocomob in October 2012 in Munich, Germany

chocolate. And that most of the children of the roughly 2 million cocoa farmers have to work in the fields instead of going to school because only a tiny fraction of the price of chocolate goes to the cocoa farmers. We have our Change Chocolate produced the way we think everything in the world should be made – as climate-neutral, fair trade products. The farmers earn enough from selling the cocoa beans to send their children to school. We also offset the carbon emissions because the farmers plant precious wood among their trees. The cocoa farmers can sell the precious wood in 20 years’ time to manufacture furniture, further increasing the family income. And because they grow both cocoa trees and precious wood, their livelihoods no longer depend entirely on the price of cocoa. Change Chocolate thus meets fair trade criteria twice. The letter “C” in CO2 stays stored in the precious wood as long as the trees are growing and later in the produced furniture. Besides planting precious wood among farmers’ cocoa trees, for every three bars of organic Change Chocolate sold (and for every five bars of regular Change Chocolate), we also pledge to plant one more tree on the foundation’s own land in Campeche, Mexico. That makes our Change Chocolate twice as climate-neutral, too.


We call our chocolate “Die Gute Schokolade” (literally “The Good Chocolate”) in the German-speaking area and “Change Chocolate” worldwide. Many retail outlets like Akzenta, Coop Kiel, Dehner, Edeka, Globus, Kaufland, Rewe and Tengelmann Süd sell Change Chocolate for €1, with 20 cents of that figure going straight to Plant-for-the-Planet to plant trees.

This is how our new chocolate looks

A total of 12 bars of Change Chocolate flew into the space on board the Albert Einstein, which docked at 150 the International Space Station on 15 June 2013 – two bars for each astronaut. The astronauts were delighted. www. into-the-chocosphere.org

The organic version of Change Chocolate can be bought for €1.25 from Alnatura, dm and tegut … stores. All the ingredients are organically sourced and fair trade certified, and for just three bars, we promise to plant one tree because here, 33 cents go straight to Plant-for-the-Planet. The business model is based on producers and retailers giving up their profits. Change Chocolate is Germany’s most successful fair trade chocolate. If you know the name of who’s in charge of a supermarket chain in your country, why not ask them to stock Change Chocolate? That way, you can help to spread the word about what we do and the trees we plant. Sales of Change Chocolate have enabled us to plant more than a million trees. A big thank you to retailers and their customers! Saving the world has never been so mouth-watering

Organize your own Change Chocolate tasting event! Choose a local shop that stocks Change Chocolate and ask the manager if you can organize a tasting event there. Agree on a date and ask the manager to make sure that enough Change Chocolate is in stock on that day (one supermarket once sold 200 bars in the space of 3 hours!). Send an email to schokolade@plant-for-the-planet.org, telling us where and when the tasting event will be held and ask us to send you the tasting set (chocolate, flyers and posters). Announce that you’ve organized this event on Facebook. Maybe the store manager will let you put up posters in-store telling customers about the forthcoming chocolate tasting event. The event itself usually lasts between two and four hours, depending on how much time you’ve got. Open a couple of bars of Change Chocolate and offer a piece to passing shoppers. Post pictures of your event on the Facebook page www.facebook.com/Die.Gute.Schokolade.

Our first global political party We consider the reaction from the heads of governments, or rather the lack of reaction, to be a very plain and clear signal. We have understood. We will need to take our future into our own hands, we will need to take action ourselves and


we will not be able to depend on the adults. At our yearly meetings we have often considered the idea of founding our own political party. Our party would then be a world party, in fact the first world party, with members in every country on earth. Our “3-Point-Plan to save the future” would be our party platform and the basis of this first worldwide party. Our older members over 14 years old have been working on this “global party” project since our last yearly meeting at the start of 2011. As soon as we are old enough we will found our own “Citizens of the World Party”.

“The world belongs in the hands of children” Herbert Groenemeyer, German singer

Democratically organized Children like you and me call the shots in our initiative. The idea behind our initiative for children and young people is to inspire a million other children by 2020 to also become Climate Justice Ambassadors. By 2020, we are also aiming to collect pledges for one trillion trees worldwide. Remember, not all by ourselves, of course, but with the help

The members of the Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Board 2016/17 are: Amelia, 11, UK; Anna, 14, Spain; Cesar Emmanuel, 13, Mexico; Clara, 12, Germany; Favour, 12, Nigeria; Fidan, 13, Azerbaijan; Gballe, 13, Ivory Coast; Guru Vishnu, 14, India; Hellez, 12, Uganda; Hima Ann, 12, UAE; Isaac, 14, USA; 152 Justin Nathen, 13, Philippines; Muskan, 9, India; Shivangi, 10, India

of grown-ups. We know the first million in each country will be the most difficult ones. But once we’ve reached that first million – and already built up a network of children and adults – it will be much easier and far, far quicker to hit two million. Doubling that number again to four million will be quicker still, and so on and so forth. When Felix was starting out, he was on his own. Today, there are already more than 50,000 other children in more than a dozen other countries who give speeches and organize planting parties, just like him. Of course, news travel a hundred times faster nowadays than they did just four years ago. Once we’ve assembled a million Climate Justice Ambassadors who give speeches and organize tree-planting parties in all countries, we will already be many thousand times faster. By 2020, if not before, all the powerful and influential people worldwide should know who we are and what we stand for. Anyone can become a member of our initiative, no matter where you’re from and how old you are. So grown-ups and babies are also warmly welcome! But only children and youth aged between 9 and 21 like you and me are allowed to vote. In our initiative, children and youth like us see ourselves as a global family, as global citizens. Grown-ups have been debating who should make the first move to tackle global warming for longer than we’ve been alive – we just get together and get on with it.

Set up a Plant-for-the-Planet club of your own! Our democratic structure, with many thousand Plant-for-the-Planet clubs dotted around the world, will strengthen our international network and help us pack an even stronger punch

Our Plant-for-the-Planet Clubs are the most important active units of Plant-for-the-Planet. They make their own decisions and take responsibility on their own. These groups also have a lot of power as they are the ones who elect the members of our Global Board once a year in springtime, one for the children (8-14 years) and one for the youth (15-21 years). In the first Global Board most of the children came from Germany. But in the current Global Board 2016/17 the World Presidents come from USA and India. We are distri-buting the seats according to the world population. By supporting the local Plant-for-the-Planet Clubs the children and youth of the Global Board supervise the worldwide activities of the Initiative. The Global Board decides the general strategy and policies of the organisation and establish the annual priorities for action. They represent the opinion of our organisation and talk to the media and the public in the name of all members and clubs. Every year in spring we elect new members and on July 1st the members of the previous Global Board hand over control of the Initiative to the next Global Board and the next generation of Plant-for-the-Planet children and youth. Presidents cannot be reelected. Parallel and independently working from our democratic Plant-for-the-Planet Initiative governed by children and youth the Finkbeiner family established the Plantfor-the-Planet Foundation in 2010. The family Finkbeiner is running this foundation as volunteers. The foundation is supporting the initiative by arranging programs that our clubs and we as ambassadors can apply for like academies, children conferences, and the Youth Summit. The foundation is investing its foundation capital in degraded land that will be afforested. By harvesting the wood in two decades and reforesting new trees two goals are reached: carbon stays stored in wooden product and the financial future of our Plant-for-the-Planet initiative is guaranteed.

The members of the Plant-for-the-Planet Global Youth Board 2016/17 are: Dharmendra, 20, India; Emilia, 18, Germany; Eyilore, 15, Nigeria; Fatou, 19, Gambia; Kehkashan, 15, UAE; Mateo, 19, Colombia; Michelle, 15, Costa Rica; Miko, 15, USA; Sarah, 153 16, Germany; Seika, 15, Singapore; Simran, 17, UAE; Sudeep, 20, Nepal; Wren, 15, USA; Yugratna, 20, India

iMatter – we are important We shouted: “The adults always say the children are the future. But when there is no future what remains for us children?”

Alec Loorz (16) from California is also committed to Plant-for-the-Planet and he invited us to join his “i-Matter-march“ on May 8, 2011. We thought this was a great idea. Plant-for-the-Planet Clubs from five cities, Augsburg, Cancun, Cologne, Dresden and Munich spontaneously joined the campaign too. That was a lot of fun. The police closed roads just for us and rerouted the traffic. We held up cardboard trees, printed and self-made posters and at the beginning and end of our march we had a rally. By the evening we had all lost our voices after shouting so much during the march. It is quite easy to demonstrate. You only need to find one adult who can apply for it to the authorities. In the democratic countries of the world, freedom of expression is a legal right. This means that every one can apply to protest. For your demonstration we can send you a 1.50 x 1.10 meter tree-placard. Please contact us at info@plant-for-the-planet.org if you are interested. During the international climate conferences you and your friends can use them in front of your town hall, embassy or other government buildings. Demonstration is derived from the Latin word demonstrare, which means to show. Through a demonstration we can publicly show that for us our future is important.


Alec and his friends have sued the federal government in the United States for the following reasons: If a company disposed of poison on a public area, the government is obliged to repair the municipal area and to pursue the polluter. When companies destroy the climate and thus our

ur t of o As par outhy l oba www.gl . e-plan climat we , t c oje org pr s of d e r d n ask hu rom ists f scient world e h t around to e have what w t the i m i l do to temse in increa re peratu C. ° 2 + to

future with their products, the government is also responsible for restoring the climate, which is a common good, that belongs to the community to recover.

We want to vote! We want everyone to be able to vote as soon as they would like to and are able – at whatever age. After all, it is a founding principle of our (German) constitution that “all state authority is derived from the people”. Nonetheless, 14 million people in Germany are simply excluded from voting en masse – just because they are under 18. There could also be a standard age (14 or 16) at which you would be officially invited to vote. But anyone who would like to vote should be to able join the electoral register at their town hall. Not all children will go to vote, but some definitely will! The fact that more than a dozen children are actively participating in our “We want to vote” campaign is evidence on its own. Several Plant-for-the-Planet Ambassadors aged between 10 and 17 applied to vote in the summer of 2013 and were rejected. We had no voice at the 2013 German federal Bundestag election. Therefore, we lodged a protest against the federal election with the Bundestag‘s elections committee in November. It took a few months, but in May 2014 our complaint was ultimately rejected by the Bundestag. Then, together with our lawyer and the “Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations” we prepared a lawsuit and filed this on 7 July 2014 with the Federal Constitutional Court. We did this because a blanket exclusion of young people is not only arbitrary, but is also harmful to democracy and justice between generations. Our goal is for each person to be able to vote as soon as he or she would like to and is able. If young people want to participate in their community, no law in the world should stop them! Many media outlets have since reported on our action and have thus ensured that the issue is being discussed in public. That was a small success. However, the Federal Constitutional Court ultimately rejected our complaint. www.wir-wollen-waehlen.de

Our office Certainly we children also need a full-time supporters who organise everything and they need an office. The first months after Felix‘ speech and after planting his first tree he and his friends were able to still answer the e-mails themselves. Gregor Hintler and Sascha Suaheli, high-school gratuates from Tutzing created the first website. Then handling the correspondence became more and more demanding. Felix had an idea and made his parents the following suggestion: “If we children raise the money then one assistant, could work at our home during daytime.” Felix` parents, who have always supported us as volunteers, agreed and Felix and his friends wrote 40 letters to companies. The company Toyota was the first which answered and gave money. In December 2007, the first assistant was hired. In

The opening 155 of our Tree house on July 1, 2011 with Peter Maffay a German singer

2008, the second and third one followed. The parents cleared the second, the third and in summer 2011 the fourth room, as now twelve assistants worked in the house of Felixs‘ parents in Paehl. In the garage there were no cars, bicycles or lawn-mowers, those were standing on the terrace but in the garage the parents put up shelves and stored all the great books which the Climate Justice Ambassadors would receive during the Academies. Just in time before the house and the garage burst at the seams the owner of the supermarket chain Tengelmann, the family Haub, came to know about this fact and gave the children‘s initiative a new home from autumn 2011 in Tutzing with more than 200 m2 office space and 70 m2 storage space directly at the train station. As symbol for our new home we started at our opening party to build a tree house close by. The tree house should become something like our symbol; that we children in the world connect each other via the trees.

Our headquater: Germany’s first Energy-plus railway station We d ispen se po You d wer! onat e tre es!

Living and working account for 40% of global carbon emissions, via heating in cold areas and cooling in hot regions, warming water, lights, kitchen appliances and computers at work. Fortunately, many new houses are already being built to save energy. These are called low-energy houses, passive houses or energy-plus houses. An energy-plus house produces more energy than it consumes. First, because it is very well insulated and also collects solar energy (mostly from roof panels), storing the heat in water tanks and the power in batteries. Second, many also use solar energy to power heat pumps to extract heat from deep underground or the air and to also store it in water tanks. On January 1,


2013, the Finkbeiner family bought Uffing am Staffelsee’s railway station, a 139-year-old three-story building. The trains stop here every hour on their way

Germany’s first energy-plus railway station

between Munich and the Alps. Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s rail operator, sold more than 1,000 of its railway properties in 2009 but no buyers took an interest in Uffing’s station. Franziska, Felix, Flurina and their parents always spent their summer holidays in Uffing, watching the signalman change the points and signals, and open and close the railway gate by hand. The station fell further into disrepair. This coincided with the Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation needing new office space. That prompted the Finkbeiner family to convert Uffing’s old station building into Germany’s first-ever energy-plus station and to make it available to the foundation. Even old buildings can be renovated using environmentally friendly materials so that they’re not just climate-neutral but also produce more clean energy than they consume. Another

bonus is that the foundation’s offices now boast the very best public transport links. All the suppliers provided their materials either free of charge or at special prices. Solar energy is collected by 71 photovoltaic modules and four solar thermal modules and stored in a 13.8 kW battery and an 800-liter water tank. The station produces so much power, in fact, that the people of Uffing and train travellers can charge their electric cars and bicycles at two charging points. A large screen in the waiting room shows how much energy the station is producing. Plant-for-the-Planet can use the space as an office and also as a European training center for coordinators who come from all over the world, live at the station and are trained by the Plant-for-the-Planet secretariat.

Thanks to all adults who take us seriously! We are glad that many adults invite us as speakers. It is really fun for us when we are allowed to tell you older people how we children see the future, how we feel when we read the newspaper and how we children think and feel when a further Climate Summit fails again. If you invite us as speaker we are glad to come. We always do this voluntarily and put our whole salary into the next Academy in which again we children inspire and motivate 80 further children to join our movement. We prefer to organise the Academy right on the same day and place of the speech. Thereby further children learn how to plant trees, to give speeches and they also put their salary in Academies again, etc. We always give the answer to everybody who asks us what he or she can do: “Invite 80 children at the age of 8-12 years out of ten or twenty schools

Plant-for-thePlanet is advised by an international group of experts

for one day to an Academy. A Climate Justice Ambassador who has already been educated during an earlier Academy comes and motivates the 80 new children to join us. “That is the best you can do for us. We are also pleased about all the recognition and many awards which we get from


adults all over the world like: Bavarian State Medal, B.A.U.M. environmental award, „2010 International Young Eco-Hero Award” (USA), GWA Social Effie 2010 – Gold for “Stop Talking. Start Planting”, 21st Century Superhero (Global Tolerance and UNESCO), Humanity4Water Award 2011 in the category Polar Bear, Success for Future Award 2011, European University Social Responsibility Award 2012, Sea Award 2012 “for life’s work”, Winspiration Award 2012, You and Peace Ecology 2012, Bürgerkulturpreis (Citizen Culture Prize) 2013 of the Bavarian parliament, Climate Week Awards 2013 „Most inspirational young person“, EKOTOPFILM 40th IFSDF 2013, One World Family Award 2013, Hamburg Social Oscar (Silver) 2013, Reineccius-Medaille 2013, honorary award of the German Culture award 2014, Sauti Kuu Act Now Jugend Award 2015 (Hero-Award), Hamburg Social Oscars 2015 (Sustainability Award), STEIGER AWARD 2015 in the category Environment

Our two patrons are Klaus Töpfer and Prince Albert of Monaco.

We are also happy about the many reports in the media. In the first five years more than ten thousand media outlets all over the world have reported about us. They help more adults and more children get to know us. We sincerely thank the many VIPs who allow us to block their mouths with our hands and so help to spread our vision into the world. Thank you to all private individuals, companies and institutions who gave us money as it is only with their help we could achieve so much and found our children’s’ foundation. And of course all adults who do not pamper us but fight together with us for our future: Thank you! We are looking for role models that will support us and promise to plant new trees for our future. Individuals Companies Corporations

1.000 trees 1.000.000 trees trees

Social Media The potential of the Internet - Let´s follow the Arabic example! ”One mosquito can’t do anything against a rhino, but a thousand mosquitoes

ture! save our fu Help use to together can make a rhino change its direction”. Via internet we can reach thou-


sands of people and tell them about our activities! For instance: More than 800 million people use facebook. Everyone of us can work to expand and maintain our global family! facebook: “Stop talking. Start planting”: facebook.com/plantfortheplanet Twitter: Twitter.com/pftp_int What to do? ˜˜ Become a fan of our facebook page “Stop Talking. Start Planting” and “Die Gute Schokolade“ and promote the site on your wall. Invite your friends too! ˜˜ Post pictures on our facebook wall and tag yourself or your friends.

llow fan and fo Facebook ecome a B at anet what we do ntforthepl ok.com/pla www.facebo

˜˜ Tape your own video, upload it on youtube and post the link on our facebook wall! ˜˜ Join our global community at www.plant-for-the-planet.org: Upload pics and reports about your activities and post the link in your own facebook profile.

Together we can achieve a lot!! The internet enables us to communicate in groups and coordinate our actions. Many so called flashmobs happened because people had creative ideas! These flashmobs create lots of attention! Just imagine a thousand children standing in front of the seats of government in their capital cities during the meetings at the Climate Summit. Or the children meeting at the embassies that are most important for the climate negotiations and planting trees. Many trees. And if it’s not possible to plant trees, then waving cardvoard trees, like the children in Berlin did in front of their Chancellery on December 9, 2009 while the Climate Summit was underway in Copenhagen.

To experience something like this gives courage! We’re well aware that the 46,000 children who have attended our Academies so far are just the beginning. Our goal is to reach one million children by 2020. We will always work to encourage many more kids around the world and show them that together great things can be achieved. And we’re not stopping. We are going to keep planting until there is climate justice and until our future is finally saved! Almost every school has a partner school somewhere in another part of the world. After reading this book you can explain to them how Plant-for-the-Planet works. Invite them to plant trees with you. Trees are our symbols for climate justice. Trees are symbols for our future. Initiating and being part of an extensive worldwide network has become a whole lot easier thanks to the internet. Everybody can participate – no matter where they are in the world. We have to fight for our own future together.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when? By continuing to work together across all borders, we children of the world have a real chance for a safe and happy future!

Franziska once said, “If we see ourselves as a world family, we can overcome both the climate and poverty crises.”


We agree! Abhisekh, Alberto, Alec, Alina, Aman, Andrea, Anting, Antonella Ambra, Antonia, Ariane, Ashmita, Ava, Bagus, Cameron, Carolin, Carolina, Casey-May, Caterina, Clara, Clara Madeleine, Daria, Else, Erik, Eva, Evelyn, Fatima, Felipe, Felix, Fernanda, Franziska, Franziska Sophie, Giovanni, Hanna, Hiba, Himangi, Iago Hairon, Jessica, Jona, Josia, Joy, Kartik, Kehkashan, Jule B., Jule S., Julian, Karoline, Laxman, Lea, Lena A., Lena S., Laura, Leon, Liam, Lione, Luis Angel, Luisa, Madhav, Madhumita, Maiken, Martha, Max, Melik-Sina, Merle, Mira, Miriam, Mohammed Rabiu, Moritz, Nayeli, Niklas, Nitipong, Nour, Pablo, Paulina, Priyankha, Radhika, Raphael, Rebecca, Rufat, Sagar, Shanisse, Shraddha, Shubham, Simran, Svenja, Szesima, Toni, Viacheslav, Wan Rui, Yifan, Yue, Yugratna, Yun Qi Vicki and all other members of Plant-for-the-Planet.*

Are you with us? Become a member, too!


We are the authors of this book together with the members of the Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s and Youth Global Boards.

Everybody can become a member, even adults, but only we children and youth have the voting rights to elect our Global Boards.

Contact Plant-for-the-Planet Lindemannstr. 13 82327 Tutzing, Germany Tel. +49 (0) 88 08 93 45 Fax +49 (0) 88 08 93 46 www.plant-for-the-planet.org info@plant-for-the-planet.org facebook.com/plantfortheplanet We are always available on our website. It grows day to day through the help of many children and young people.


Donation accounts

Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation Germany Sozialbank IBAN DE13 7002 0500 0000 200000 BIC BFSWDE33MUE The Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation is recognized as a charitable foundation by the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Tax Authority, Germany and can issue tax-deductible receipts for donations.

Switzerland Luzerner Kantonalbank IBAN: CH06 0077 8202 45451200 1 SWIFT: LUKBCH2260A The Plant-for-the-Planet Foundation in Switzerland can also issue tax-deductible receipts for donations in Switzerland as a charitable foundation. Spain Catalunya Banc, S.A. IBAN: ES40 2013 1707 0502 0020 9621 BIC/SWIFT: CESCESBBXXX Mexico BBVA Bancomer Account number: 0193447065 Clave interbancaria: 0126 9400 1934 4706 59 BIC/SWIFT: BCMRMXMMPYM

For the monthly newsletter: newsletter@ plant-for-the-planet.org

Image credits Unless otherwise indicated, the images used in this book come from the archives of the children´s initiative Plant-for-thePlanet. The publishing house has put its best efforts into determining all image sources. Any claims that have been overlooked may be subsequently claimed. Campaign Photos: Andreas Biedermann, Anita Bischoff, Per Eriksson, Annette Koroll, Andreas Müller, Thomas Rosenthal, Bernd Schumacher, Markus Seidel and Jens Umbach.

Photos of Academies: Andreas Biedermann, Portraits of the Climate Justice Ambassadors: Andreas Mueller, Illustrations: Questions about participating Carsten Abelbeck. in/organizing a Plant-for-theP. 1, u., Bettina Kelm; P. 11, o.r., Planet Academy: Riemann; P. 11, u.l., Wanjira academy@ Mathai; P. 15, Frankfurter plant-for-the-planet.org Allgemeine Zeitung, Augsburger Allgemeine und The Korea Questions about donations: donate@ Herald; P. 18, epubli GmbH plant-for-the-planet.org (www.epubli.de); P. 19, dpa;

Special e-mail addresses

P. 19, epubli GmbH (www.epubli. de); P. 20, Fritz Pölking/Okapia; P. 21, epa-Bildfunk; P. 23, dpa; P. 25, u., Shane Doyle Photography; P. 28 Radermacher, F.J., CADMUS, Vol. 2, Nr. 3, Oktober 2014 P. 38, o., meteomedia; P. 38, u., DigitalVision; P. 41, l., Digital Vision; P. 41, r., dpa; P. 48, Sammlung Gesellschaft für ökologische Forschung/ Schweizerisches Alpines Museum Bern; P. 49, l., Jason Branz – Fotolia.com; P. 49, r., Martina Topf – Fotolia.com; P. 54, guentermanaus Fotolia. com; P. 56, Creativ Collection; P. 57, Christine Anrather; P. 62, Photodisc; P. 57, Creativ Collection; P. 95, Claus-Peter Lieckfeld und Veronika Straaß; P. 96, Backarts; P. 132, 133, Leagas Delaney; P. 134, Kids vs. Global Warming; P. 136, Michael Setzpfand; P. 137, Andreas Biedermann; P. 138 Bundesregierung Gottschalk, P. 139 Quelle dpa, Greenpeace; P. 140, Michael Setzpfand; P. 142, Michael Setzpfand; P. 144, o., Canadian Youth Delegates; P. 144 u., CBD; P. 156 Münchner Merkur

Felix Finkbeiner and his friends have started Plant-for-the-Planet in order to plant one million trees in every country in the world and they have set themselves the objective that everybody shall plant 150 trees by the year 2020. In December 2011, the UNEP handed over the official tree counter to the children of Plant-for-the-Planet. This was a historical step and an empowerment for all the children of the world. Now all governments, companies and citizens report to the children how many trees they plant. 12.6 billion trees have been planted in five years and 1,000 billion is their goal for 2020, 150 trees by each citlzen. “If we follow the climate scientists and act now and find out in 20 years that they were wrong, we did not make any mistake. But if we follow the climate sceptics and don’t act and find out that Ihey were wrong, it will be too late to save our future.�

“We cannot leave the shape of our future just to adults!” Felix Finkbeiner

The children and young people of this world do not want to wait any longer for adults to finally begin to tackle the impending global challenges of our day. And they have much to do: they want to save their future – Tree by Tree. “We have written this book primarily for people like us – kids and teenagers. Because we are the ones who will have to pay “the price” for it if adults cannot fully solve these global problems. With this book we want to show how great it is to get involved. We will tell you our story and why we act and do what we can so that we can have a positive future. We want to show you how exciting it is to learn more about our world, the climate, and the relationship between them – and how much fun it is to work together with kids from all over the world. Of course, we will also tell you how you can join in with us and become active yourself. Because just talking does not stop the glaciers from melting: Stop talking. Start planting. Don’t talk, plant!”

supports the United Nations Environment Progamme

Profile for Plant-for-the-Planet

Tree by Tree - Now We Children Save the World  

The children and young people of this world do not want to wait any longer for adults to finally begin to tackle the impending global challe...

Tree by Tree - Now We Children Save the World  

The children and young people of this world do not want to wait any longer for adults to finally begin to tackle the impending global challe...