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Thank the Trees

It's late November and the leaves are still falling.

Although I have lived through sixty-plus autumns, this natural process always saddens me because I know the falling leaves are a metaphor for death. Truth is, I'm not ready to write my bucket list but there is one dream I've had for years, a project that is taking shape as I write this. And it gives back to the trees.

On New Year's Day, I will introduce FIRST WRITE™, a 24-hour writing marathon for writers. The purpose of this worldwide challenge is twofold: to create new works and to raise donations for tree planting organizations.

As a writer, it would be impossible to calculate all the paper I have used over the years. I'm not just talking about the paper that goes into the printer, but also the packaging for pens, printer's ink, and mailing supplies. Oh, and let's not forget all the equipment manuals, notepads, and cartons of my printed books, too. Writers need trees, that's obvious.

In my book, Inn Lak'ech: A Journey to the Realm of Oneness, teenager Elm Sunday has a special relationship with a wise pine tree named Miss Vi. The girl even gets to transform into a tree, marveling at her new roots shooting deep into the soil and the butterflies tickling her arm-like branches.

"Like you, we are all one being, all light and all connected," Miss Vi explained. "And we are all creators, Elm. That is the real magic. So I ask you to reconsider your choices very carefully. Be mindful of what you create or there may be dire consequences which you are not equipped to handle."

Can you imagine a world without trees? Dr. Seuss did and it wasn't pretty. Did you know that over 500 pounds of paper are used by the average United States citizen each year? And 80,000 acres of forests disappear from the Earth every day!

Every human being has a connection to trees—we depend upon them for oxygen, shade, shelter, food, furnishings, musical instruments, warmth, beauty, solace, and inspiration. 

This Thanksgiving, when you "gather together" at your (presumably) wooden table, please remember to thank the trees and consider donating to the tree-planting organization of your choice. (See list below.) We may be unable to replace all the tree resources we have used since birth, but at least we can leave a leafy legacy for future generations to enjoy!

As The Lorax said: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”


Brettacorp is a registered not-for-profit community association building forests in the Cassowary Coast region of Tropical North Queensland, Australia. 

Earth Day Network Canopy Project has a goal to plant 7.8 billion trees (one tree for every person on earth) in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in 2020. Eden Reforestation Projects is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that plants millions of trees every year on the behalf of donors, businesses, and foundations. 

Green Belt Movement engages Kenyan women in planting trees, protecting critical forests and watersheds, and empowering communities. International Tree Foundation works with communities in Africa and the UK to carry out sustainable community forestry projects. 

Kentucky Writers and Artists for Reforestation is a collective of creative people with a simple mission: to plant native trees on abandoned strip mines.

One Tree Planted is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in Shelburne, Vermont, working with amazing reforestation organizations around the world that need financial support to help them get more trees in the ground. 

Plant a Billion Trees is a large-scale restoration initiative launched by The Nature Conservancy in 2008. Projects include Brazil's Atlantic Forest and forest projects in the United States and China. Plant for the Planet is a youth initiative to plant 1,000 billion trees worldwide by the year 2020.

Trees, Water and People works directly with the Oglala Lakota Native Americans to restore fire-degraded landscapes, store atmospheric carbon, and improve the skills and livelihoods of the local Lakota youth who will primarily be planting these trees for future generations on the reservation.

Here is another way to give back to the trees!


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