One of my favorite books is The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono. If you haven't read it, make time for it. It's a story about the big consequences of small actions. In it a man plants trees. Just a few each day, while he is out with his sheep. But over the course of more than thirty years it adds up. And as the forest grows, life returns to a hard, dry region. I've read it any number of times over the years and given it as gifts on several occasions.
It came to mind as I was looking around for a way for the business to give a little back to the world. Planting trees seemed a natural tie-in. Green as it may be, there is no getting around the fact that wood caskets are made from trees, and where there is lumber, there's logging. OK, I build with softwood from managed forests. I'm told that with replanting the southern yellow pine forests are so well managed that they're growing faster than they are being cut. So those forests aren't in much need of extra help. And the big lumber companies seem to be doing OK too.
However, there's a reforestation project in Nepal that is doing interesting reforestation work. Although the recent earthquake impacted the forests and reforestation projects, reforestation in Nepal has been an on-going project for decades, and has been cited as an example of what is possible with the right approach. One key appears to have been the involvement of the local people. The people nurture the forest, and the forest nurtures the people. As it should be.
At this point, I've committed to donating 2.5% of gross sales to help support the project in Nepal, working through a well-vetted organization called Plant-It 2020. I'm not changing the world. I'm just planting trees.