To date, 5, 10, 50…then 100 million trees have been planted by The Yves Rocher Foundation and its 50 or so partner NGOs. From Ethiopia and India to Madagascar, France and others, we have planted trees in 35 different countries. Jacques Rocher has travelled across many of these places and met many of the planters in person. Each country faces different problems. But none of these projects could function without the active involvement of their communities. Jacques Rocher, who has always been a planter, looks back on 20 years of commitment to trees.
Where does your commitment to planting trees come from?
We have always planted trees in my family, especially to mark the birth of a child. More recently…Back in 1991, my father Yves Rocher and I decided to create the Foundation. One of our very first actions was to plant trees in schools. «One school, one arboretum» was taken up by schoolchildren in France and other parts of the world. Over 500 arboretums were created! In Burkina, Lebanon, Canada, France to name a few… Worldwide, the magical appeal of trees was reflected in the sparkling eyes of children. The next step was one of those life-changing encounters that happens from time to time…
But there’s quite a gulf between 500 arboretums and millions of trees...
I crossed paths with Wangari Maathai in Nairobi in 2007, and that marked a turning point. Alongside this inspiring, determined woman, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, I decided to give my full support to tree planting… That was the start of the Plant for the Planet adventure. Enriched by our encounters with passionate women and men across the globe, our target jumped from 10 to 50 and finally 100 million trees planted…
How can such a massive goal be achieved without ever feeling discouraged?
Our primary motivators are action and the desire to help people. But none of this would have been possible without such a huge effort on a global scale. The Yves Rocher brand – our main, crucial patron – proved to be a fantastic driver. Thousands of volunteers – farmers, children, local citizens – boosted our resources by joining us to plant trees.
While tree planting is undoubtedly a universally optimistic gesture that goes back a long way, it is also a great way of bringing people together and creating ties with the natural world.
My heartfelt thanks to you all.
Why is planting even a single tree so important?
We still have so much to learn from trees… We know that trees are vital for our ecosystems. When we destroy forests, we wipe out biodiversity and the living world, removing their trace from our maps and history. What kind of future do we face, as mere humans, if we don’t learn a little modesty, get down on our knees and start replanting life?
When we plant a tree, we lay down roots, we give humanity a place in time and history. While trees are witnesses to our past, they are no less than the guardians of our future.
Would you like to find out more about our tree planting programme in France and around the world?