Unificationists Help Plant A Million Trees
Unificationists in the U.S. and abroad are supporting Mother Nature in a massive way—raising funds and awareness to plant a million trees in the Philippines this year. And you can help!
The International Association of Youth and Students for Peace (IAYSP) Philippines and USA chapters recently launched a GoFundMe page shared on social media to raise, by the end of July, the first $5,000 of a $20,000 goal for planting trees in the West Pacific nation.
Back to Our Roots
The two chapters of IAYSP—a nonprofit founded in 2017 by Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon—partnered in response to the landmark “One Billion Trees” bill recently passed by the Philippines’ government. The initiative calls for planting a billion trees to help address the worldwide issue of climate change.
“We gave Mother Earth another 100 trees and 100 youth to heal this planet,” wrote YSP USA President Rev. Miilhan Stephens in a project update posted on Facebook. “We’re feeling really good about it.”
But, there’s a lot more to be done.
With the support of other nonprofits, government departments and officials, as well as local youth, the IAYSP team in the Philippines planted more than 5,000 trees this past spring. But as the team now seeks to engage more young people in all 81 provinces across the country, and sends proposal letters to mayors with details of the tree planting plan, more funding is needed.
Donations for Nature
“Any donation will help make an impact,” said one IAYSP organizer. “We’re very grateful for any contribution to this great initiative.”
Organizers said, of the 12 provinces that have responded favorably so far, the local governments can provide land to plant the trees, but they don’t always have the budget for tree saplings so donations are critical.
Organizers estimate the cost of planting each tree will be $1 to $4 USD depending on the species. They said the GoFundMe campaign helps cover this along with the cost of water, snacks, and transporting volunteers to the tree planting sites.
“Not only is this project for tree planting, but for every tree, the goal is to engage one youth,” said an IAYSP organizer. “The Philippines chapter engages and trains local youth from the different provinces on the importance and methods of planting and caring for the trees. Our goal is to mobilize one million youth this year.”
Benefiting the World
IAYSP founder Dr. Moon established the nonprofit to advance world peace by empowering youth and students to become global citizens and the hope of the world. Through character education, and a range of peace and service projects, IAYSP supports young leaders as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Large-scale planting projects have gained more traction after the World Economic Forum’s 2020 global initiative to grow, restore, and conserve one trillion trees around the world. The Ukraine and New Zealand both announced implementing one billion tree planting programs this year, while the U.S. is among a growing number of countries looking into it.
A Green Future
Experts say mass tree planting projects can address climate change by offsetting carbon dioxide and reducing our ecological footprint. In 2014, the Philippines set a new world record of planting the most trees in an hour, with a whopping 3.2 million seeds sown as part of its national forestation program. And in 2019, a new law required the nation’s high school and college students to plant 10 trees to graduate.
The IAYSP team, after consulting resource officials, determined mahogany, mangrove, bamboo, narra (the national tree of the Philippines), and various fruit trees were the best to plant throughout the country. Organizers said sapling and tree planting will run through October, with follow-up visits through May 2022 to ensure proper growth.
You can donate to the IAYSP team’s GoFundMe page here.
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