At the age of nine, Felix Finkbeiner hatched the idea to plant one million trees in Germany. He did a presentation in his school about the idea and people listened. He was inspired by the example of Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan environmentalist who has helped organize the planting of 30 million trees. Felix wanted to plant one million trees in every country he could. Three years later, Germany has an additional one million trees, and Felix’s organization called Plant for the Planet is doing work in 70 countries.
He made a great insight recently about climate change and the inability of bureaucracies to accomplish things in practical terms with swiftness. “We children feel really cheated because such a lot was done for Copenhagen and at the end, what was really achieved there?” Felix said.
The media picked up his story fairly early on, and the exposure has helped with donations. Also, his family has a strong environmental perspective. His father also started a conservation group, though not at such a young age. Today Felix is often invited to speak at conferences around the world. He keeps up with schoolwork but sometimes is away from home for weeks.
Plant for the Planet actually has a target goal of planting 212,000,000 trees. So far they have planted just over a million, and there are about 1.4 million pledged for planting. A humorous but pointed awareness campaign of theirs is called Stop Talking and Start Planting. Professional photographers donated their time and photos for the campaign.
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