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Felix Finkbeiner - Planting trees for a greener Earth!

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on April 11, 2017 at 05:26 PM

As a child, have you ever thought of growing up to become a doctor? A lawyer? A teacher? Perhaps a scientist? How many of us actually grew up to pursue our childhood dreams? The answer probably would be not many. Felix Finkbeiner from Germany has been one of those select few who has kept at his dream ever since he was nine years old. Here is a child with conviction, chasing his big dream to save the planet. Not only has he struggled to make his dream come true constantly for the past ten years, but has also been successful in making others join him in fulfilling his dream! 

© Courtesy of Plant for the Planet

It all started ten years back, when Felix Finkbeiner started a research for his fourth grade school assignment on climate change that threatened the survival of his favourite animal; the polar bear. That is when, he came across stories of Kenyan activist Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Prize winner for planting 30 million trees over the span of 30 years in Africa. This struck a chord with him, and he was inspired to do the same. He completed his report with a resolve to plant a million trees in his home country, planting the first one near the gate of his school.

With a clear agenda on his mind, his dream had been set in motion in 2007. He was of the opinion that while it is easy to just sit and talk about it, nothing could be changed unless you act upon it. So he took matters in his own hands and started planting trees. One tree has the capacity to bind a CO2 intake of 10 kg per year! His efforts were recognized and appreciated by Klaus Töpfer, former German Federal Minister of the Environment and executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEP joins hands with Felix, with a promise that children would plant one million trees in every country on earth and extending his dream to the rest of the world.

By 2008, he had joined the UNEP Junior Board Member and gave speeches at climate discussions. His initiative, Plant for the Planet, spreads over Germany and around the globe, to motivate children to participate in the fight against climate change. With time, Plant for the Planet, was no longer just Felix’s dream, it became a global initiative. Today more than 55,000 of them, between the age of 9-12, are Ambassadors for Climate Justice. They even started a campaign entitled ‘Stop talking. Start planting’ to spread the message. Famous personalities came forward to show their support like Harrison Ford, apl.de.ap, Prince Albert of Monaco and Michael Otto.

After a 3-year long struggle, he achieved his goal of planting a million trees in Germany. By this time, his initiative was running full-fledged and even received sponsorship from United Nations Billion Tree Campaign. Together they worked and later achieved the goal of planting 14 billion trees in over 130 countries. He is not done yet, far from it in fact. By 2020 their plan is to plant a 1000 billion trees worldwide which roughly amounts to 150 trees for every human on the planet.

At the Urban Future Conference, last year, he said, “If we follow the scientists and we act and in 20 years find out that they were wrong, we didn’t do any mistakes. But if we follow the skeptics and in 20 years find out that they were wrong, it will be too late to save our future.” It is incredible to see how a child’s dream has cultivated into a mission joined by children all over the world and received support from global organizations. In ten years, he has reached soaring heights. It will be interesting to see what he does in the years to come!

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