Published on May 16th, 2014 | by Peter Young


Putting Reforestation On the Dollar Menu

Trees Water and People Article

What can you get for a dollar these days? Well, a quick google search would show that you can buy any wide number of items for such a bargain. Things like cheeseburgers, music downloads and you’re favorite watered down brew can all be had for such a price.  But what if I told you, that with that same dollar, you could make a meaningful contribution to reforestation and helping reverse the effects of global climate change. Which would you choose?

Trees, Water & People (TW&P) was founded in 1998 by Stuart Conway and Richard Fox. Their dream was to find a solution to some of the major issues facing our planet today. TW&P takes on a variety of challenges including appropriate technology, clean water, global warming, deforestation, energy poverty and indoor air pollution. Since their inception,TW&P have delivered 63,419 clean cook stoves, planted 5,368,594 trees, installed 6,200 solar lights and 830 solar heaters and have put 150 Native Americans to work.

Trees for TWP Article

Trees growing at a TWP sponsored nursery in El Porvenir, El Salvador. This particular nursery has the capacity to grow 40,000 trees per year.


So how does a dollar actually get a tree in the ground? That depends on the country and area in which the trees will be planted. Generally though, 10 cents will go toward the seeds themselves (fruit, nut, coffee, hardwood, etc.)  and the remaining 90 cents is applied to the costs of  soil, soil bag, fertilizer, water, nursery infrastructure, tool depreciation, and administrative costs. Each tree planted is grown from seed, so great care and consideration goes into the process to ensure each seedlings success. Which involves communicating and working closely with both their teams on the ground and local municipalities.

Their work in countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua hasn’t gone un-noticed. In 2013 they were the recipients of both The Purpose Prize and Energy Globe Awards. Prior to that they received the NPCA Sargent Shriver Award for Distinguished Humanitarian Service (2009-2010) and the United Nations Environmental Programme Sasakawa Prize (2009-2010).

TW&P works through a community-based development model which aims to engage local community members, educate and enable them to be active stewards of their local resources. By donating just $1 you can provide a farmer with five tree starts that will one day be used to strengthen their local economy and help reverse the affects of global climate change. Companies of all sorts have partnered with TW&P to help promote and support their efforts including Positive Legacy, Counter Culture CoffeePatagonia and Pono Home, which will be donating proceeds from every in-home service they perform. So if you’ve still got a dollar burning a whole in your pocket, maybe you could use it to stop burning a hole in our o-zone.

Photo courtesy of Trees. Water & People. 

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About the Author

graduated from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) with a degree in journalism and has made sustainability and eco-conscious living mainstays of both his professional and personal life. It was during his time at PLU that he began his journey with sustainability and it's what has led him to writing for Green Living Ideas. He currently resides in Honolulu and works for Pono Home, an energy efficiency company focused on reducing carbon emissions and promoting a healthier, greener lifestyle.

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