Plant-for-the-Planet: A Look Back at 2023

Plant-for-the-Planet: A Look Back at 2023


According to the predictions of the EU Earth Observation Program Copernicus Climate Change Service, 2023 is set to become the hottest year in history, dating back 125,000 years. This underscores the urgency of concluding the year by reflecting on the positive developments of our planting projects. Our participating companies, along with us and our planting partners, are collectively addressing the threats to biodiversity and the climate.

Here, we take a glance at the green milestones that distinguish the work of Plant-for-the-Planet and our planting project in Yucatan in 2023.

🌳 Tree Plantations: Another Year of Growth

In August, the annual planting season kicked off on the Yucatán Peninsula, aligning with the local rain patterns. The survival of seedlings depends on absorbing sufficient water in the first weeks after planting to withstand the ensuing dry season. The team in Mexico is giving their all to plant as many trees as possible, restoring lost or heavily degraded forest ecosystems. So far, over 1.6 million tree seedlings have been planted in the project areas this year, with plantations continuing into December.

🤯 Jungle Discovery: Maya City

In one of the protected areas, guarded by Plant-for-the-Planet in collaboration with the Mexican government, archaeologists recently uncovered the remains of a hidden Maya city deep in the jungle. The ceramic artifacts found date back to the period of 600-800 AD, providing insights into the settlement and historical context of the city. This conservation effort not only contributes to preserving biodiversity and combating the climate crisis but also encompasses a significant part of human history – the cultural heritage of the Maya.

Learn more about the Ocomtún excavation here

🎓 Youth Summit and Academies: Educating Tomorrow’s Climate Advocates

This year, numerous academies were organized in the DACH region, allowing children and adolescents aged 8 to 14 to participate. Simultaneously, academy organizations in Brazil, India, Italy, Nigeria, and other countries are working tirelessly to achieve the next milestone of 100,000 ambassadors for climate justice. By the beginning of 2023, over 95,000 children in 75 countries had attended Plant-for-the-Planet academies.

The Youth Summit, an international youth conference, brings together young people aged 16 to 26 from over 20 countries. The summit, held from October 4th to 8th in Frankfurt, focused on challenges and innovative solutions in financing a climate-just world. It offered podium discussions, keynotes, training, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities.

The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) is a significant global forum aimed at providing hope for tackling the climate crisis. Once again, Plant-for-the-Planet was represented by an international youth delegation. Comprising dedicated ambassadors for climate justice from various regions worldwide, including Latin America, Central Asia, Europe, and Africa, their goal was to influence the COP 28 negotiations and advocate for more climate justice in their home countries.

💼 Beyond Trees: Green Jobs

Plant-for-the-Planet not only engaged in tree planting but also created green jobs through its projects. This approach extends beyond tree restoration, emphasizing the broader social benefits of ecological restoration. Research initiatives conducted by a dedicated team of restoration ecologists aim to ensure that restoration efforts are not only effective but also address the historical drivers of deforestation and pressing environmental issues.

In this video, some team members share the valuable impacts tree planting has had on their lives:

🔥 FireAlert App: Early Detection of Forest Fires

To detect and combat forest fires earlier, Plant-for-the-Planet has released the free FireAlert App. The app uses NASA satellite data to provide real-time alerts worldwide for heat anomalies, enabling faster responses by authorities or restoration organizations. With over 20 countries and a monitoring area of over 850 million hectares (larger than the area of Brazil), the app is a valuable tool in the fight against the devastating effects of fires. Users can specify areas for which they want to receive alerts about potential fires directly on their smartphones (via SMS or soon also WhatsApp).

📚 Research Initiatives in the Balam-Kú Reserve

To explore crucial questions about forest restoration, Plant-for-the-Planet has established a Center for Applied Forest Restoration Research and Consulting in the Balam-Kú Rainforest Reserve in Mexico. Ongoing research includes:

  • Optimization of Planting Density: An experiment with 1.2 million seedlings analyzes the optimal planting density under various soil conditions over 30 years.
  • Nitrogen-Fixing Species: Investigations into the role of nitrogen-fixing plants in overcoming nitrogen deficiency in the soil.
  • Restoration of Soil Microbiomes: Research on adding forest soil to tree planting holes to increase the survival rate of young trees.
  • Restoration of Functional Diversity: Developing optimal species mixtures for resilient forests.
  • Tree Diversity in Secondary Forests: Research in tropical dry forests on the impact of human land use on tree diversity.
  • Experimental Tree Nursery: A nursery with 200,000 seedlings allows for breeding and experiments.

🍫 Die Gute Schokolade: A Sweet Contribution to Climate Protection

In addition to the tried-and-true varieties (trust us, we’ve tested them thoroughly) of milk chocolate and organic milk chocolate, “Die Gute Schokolade” (the change chocolate) has been available in a dark chocolate version since autumn in German-speaking countries. This fair and organic certified product has been supporting the foundation’s work for years, not only planting trees but also combating the climate crisis. The purchase of five bars equals the planting of a tree. Die Gute Schokolade Zartbitter can be purchased, for example, at dm, Edeka, Rewe, and also in the Plant-for-the-Planet shop. Recently, all three varieties have also been released in new packaging – so keep an eye out!