Jennifer Smith or “Tree Jenny” is an incredible champion of reforestation. This environmental lawyer from Louisiana turned agro forester and certified carbon dioxide auditor moved to Costa Rica over 20 years ago to follow her true call to save the rainforest. Through her organization Community Carbon Trees and thanks to sponsors from all over the world, Jenny and her local staff have planted and successfully grown almost 600,000 native rainforest trees on over 290 locally owned farms. From collecting the seeds to preparing land for planting, ACCT employs local workforce for each step of the reforestation process, helping hundreds of communities towards economic self-sufficiency.
In the wake of the Coronavirus global crisis, Jenny invites all of us to reflect on our relationship with nature with this message:
The coronavirus will hopefully prove to be an awakening for most humans on the planet. And with this awakening, I personally hope that people will get into action by giving back to Mother Earth, the rainforest on the Equator that literally provides us with the very air we breathe! Once this global health crisis started, I could not help but muse about the relation between the human respiratory disease and the global planetary respiratory disease. It has not escaped my attention that our planet has been suffering from a respiratory crisis that no one has really done anything about! And then all of a sudden a global pandemic hits that literally has people with blocked air passages. The irony is tragic.
But I have great hope and faith that our worlds have been rocked so hard that we have new appreciation and determination for life and survival that we simply cannot, will not ignore being able to breathe ever again!
Global participation with an easy low entry and long term effective reforestation model has always been what inspires me to grow community carbon trees. Our organization incorporates human rights with fair pay for tree planters who are planting and regrowing long-term equatorial rainforest with real stewardship. We aim to GROW as many trees on the equator as we can!
For all of these 21 years, I have been working to awaken humans to their ability to give back to mother nature. I’ve been trying to show humans how to appreciate the very air we breathe, the rain that falls from the sky, the birds chirping outside. But the noise of consumerism and busyness, the constant travel and distraction has drowned out my voice. To tell the truth, sadly very few people have participated in our work in comparison to the magical opportunity we have offered over these 21 years! So far, It just seems that people have their priorities all mixed up!
But all of a sudden, we can barely go outside to breathe the fresh air! And all the stuff we buy simply cannot change that we cannot live a healthy life without being able to breathe fresh air! Nature has taken on a whole new value and beauty. I find that people are taking deeper breaths when they are allowed to go outside and notice the birds, the flowers, and of course the trees. Maybe things are changing! And unfortunately, maybe it takes a global pandemic to accomplish nature awareness? Maybe this virus is the “stop gap“ mechanism, the “fail safe“ lever I always trusted was hidden in Mother Nature.
Who else has asked themselves the question, “Are we humans the virus?“ What is the virus here to teach us?”
Just look at how Nature is regenerating during this pause! It is proven that the natural world is recovering right now during this “breather” we are currently experiencing on the planet. Now that the airplanes have been grounded, we can clearly see that it IS possible to bring carbon dioxide levels down. The Chinese people can look up and see the blue sky. The canals are running clear with fish swimming in Venice. The manatees are swimming again in Costa Rica without all the boats and fisherman. We have brought carbon dioxide levels down over 25% in the month of March alone.
How many times I have tried to bring people’s attention to the wonders of Nature, the stoic trees, these generous gift horses who are taken for granted regularly. Trees on the equator are responsible for providing us the very oxygen we breathe And for recycling the rainwater as well as cleaning the air of carbon dioxide.
Our work has aimed to repair these important stretches of rainforest on the Equator with biodiverse reforestation with native trees to help us all breathe easier, enjoy fresher cleaner air. My hope and faith is that the COVID-19 crisis is giving people a space of quiet to sit and evaluate what’s really important. And I believe that many people are going to list being out in nature and breathing fresh air as one of the most important things required to live a happy human life. Imagine if we keep doing nothing, or relying on governments? Our natural world is failing. This virus is an indication of the sickness in humanity and in our mother earth.
But we can cure this respiratory disease in the natural world quite easily. Imagine the positive effects if people change and we change how we work and move about the planet? What if we will jump into action and give a little back to mother earth instead of buying so much junk that doesn’t even make us happy anyway?
Have I seen increased sponsorship since the crisis started? No. Fact is, I’ve seen a couple monthly donors cancel their subscriptions. We understand it’s tough times for all of us. We realize that many people are struggling for food to eat as a result of so much unemployment. But the world will restart again after this reset. And when it does, I hope people will sponsor trees again with our organization which incorporates fair pay for all forest guardians. When we give back to the rain forest on the equator, we are literally helping ourselves and our future generations breathe.
ACCT just launched a fundraising project on GivingWay. For just 25$ you can sponsor a tree and its maintenance for 6 years! To support this project click here: Sponsor Rainforest Trees for Future Generations
- Check out online volunteering opportunities with ACCT here.
- Follow Jenny and ACCT on Instagram and Facebook.
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