Plant for the Planet Stepping Up

By Gary Piazzon

Children of Plant for the Planet
Fighting For Their Future

They are everywhere: lobbying their representatives, participating in UU Voices presentations in Olympia, introducing Governor Inslee and other prominent officials, presenting to the Seattle City Council and of course, planting trees.  It is just getting started!  These children mean business.

We hosted our first Plant for the Planet academy on Whidbey Island Saturday, 3/28/15 and it was a great time. We certified 15 Climate Justice Ambassadors who join 300 in the USA and 340,000 worldwide. This international, UN sponsored program is just getting started in the US.  Like most other aspects pertinent to this über issue we in the USA have been late adopters.  Boo on us.

The children had an exciting day. They learned about the Climate/Ocean crisis, climate justice, how to speak in public, provide positive feedback to their peers and work together. The weather was wonderful. We planted 11 Garry Oaks in the luscious, dark chocolate earth, found lots of worms, a gorgeous garter snake, the bones of a deer, and petted the resident baby goats. We even celebrated a birthday! We now have the nucleus for a club and will be meeting monthly to strategize how best to get our message to the community and for another academy in the Fall.

You can see images of the event on the CREATe and Climate Change for Families websites.

The goals of PFTP are to:

  • Certify 1 million ambassadors
  • Plant 1 trillion trees
  • Keep fossil fuels in the ground
  • Promote global justice and equality

Why so many trees? Trees absorb CO2. Scientists at NASA have determined this is the number of trees needed to stabilize the climate. A trillion trees may seem like a lot. It amounts to 150 per person on the planet. Huge, but that is where we are. Even that is insufficient to get where we need to be. We must also decrease CO2 pollution by 6% per year. Economists agree that the best way to do that is to tax polluters, i.e. the coal, oil and natural gas industries and provide that money to people so they can make wise choices. So, let’s all “Stop Talking and Start Planting!” and get our legislators to pass a carbon tax like those that make the economies of Germany and British Columbia so strong.


Planet for the Planet Seattle Explained:

The inspiring back story: Now We Children Save the World

Presentation to the Seattle City Council- PFTP (begins at about at about 45:00)

Images from the Academy Saturday 10/25/14 with the Mayor Ed Murray:

Introducing Governor Inslee:

April 3, 2015, 3:20 pm


Piazzon, G. (2015). Plant for the Planet Stepping Up. Retrieved from

Earth Day 2014, Teach-ins for Trees

I hope you were able to get out and enjoy Easter in the sunshine, or volunteer to restore parks or clean beaches. So many activities to choose from on Earth Day and all of them good for your body and soul.

Let’s thank our student ambassadors who are hosting assemblies, cleanups or fairs this week. Some of them organize fundraisers to plant trees though Earth Day Network, or Plant-For-The-Planet, a great way to get 150 trees planted where they are needed most, in poor countries and neighborhoods that rely on trees not concrete. Of course you can donate to plant a tree any day of the year, but inspiring people to donate today makes a big difference.

To the students who are spreading good messages and inspiring grownups to take better care of your planet until you are old enough to be in charge, “Keep up the good work!”

Today let’s also celebrate the delay on a decision for Keystone XL. Over 2 million people submitted comments to the State Dept. People power works, as long as we keep up and keep growing. Let’s work against all the other pipelines and trains coming out of the tar sands. It’s crazy to think that you and me are the only thing stopping corporations and governments from poisoning unchecked the world our children will inherit.

But it’s true, so let’s get to work.

And remember to sign up for next Sunday’s teach-in at Seattle U,… you can hear the ambassadors speak!Connecting The Dots Flier

James Hansen Admires Ambassador Action

Ambassadors visit Sen Patty Murray

Ambassadors from Plant-For-The-Planet shared their plan to end the climate crisis with U.S. Senate staffers last week in downtown Seattle. They made very specific requests for the Senators to consider new language when they discuss climate change, drawing on Dr. James Hansen’s research into how humans might make the world cooler near 2100, but only if we act now.

One week later the preeminent climate scientist and former head of NASA climate research blogged about their brave efforts: You can read Dr. Hansen’s admiring words here: “Children and Adults on Climate Policy: Evidence that They ‘Get It'”

From his blog: “The bravery and insight of people in Washington and Oregon, as they oppose fossil fuel interests that threaten the future of young people, is exceptional and encouraging.”

The Ambassadors draw such inspiration from Dr. Hansen’s important research on behalf of “Young People, Future Generations, and Nature”; and yet in this blog the roles reversed. Clearly James Hansen draws his inspiration from the next generation, the grandchildren he strives to protect. Now his life’s work and climate science messages are starting to reach young people who “Get It”.

You can talk to your Senators, like the Ambassadors. Tell your congressperson to

  • Stop saying the words “2°C Goal” or “Target” in speeches.
  • Start telling Senators there is a real plan to keep global warming close to 1.2°C and to protect children
  • Write laws to reduce carbon pollution 6% per year and plant our share of 1,000 billion trees
  • Put a price on carbon pollution
  • Pledge “No New Carbon Pollution” to oppose dirty energy infrastructure, exploration, and exports
  • You need them to take bold action now on climate in order to protect children in the future.

As the founder of Plant-For-The-Planet, Felix Finkbeiner, says: “For us children, whether the sea level will rise 1 meter or 6 meters is not an academic question, it’s a question of survival.”

Your Senators should know that from now on you depend on them to act courageously; we all do.

Let’s act courageously.

110 New Ambassadors for Climate Justice: Seattle Plant-For-The-Planet

originally published by J. Crapper on Nov 6th

I first wrote about Plant for the Planet back on September 10, 2013.  Since then things have been happening very quickly. On May 24th 2013 in Seattle the first academy on the west coast trained 80 young students from 13 schools  . On Saturday, October 26, 2013 two more academies were organized for students from 26 Seattle area schools.   I volunteered at one of them and it was an uplifting and enlightening experience.

I witnessed:

Students 8 to 14 years old standing up in front of other students of the same age speaking with knowledge, clarity, passion and confidence about climate change.

Speaking with knowledge and confidence.

Kids showing other kids pictures of young people their age in other countries shaking hands with world leaders, pop stars, and famous actors and actresses. Young people showing pictures of themselves speaking in front of city councils, mayors and crowds numbering in the thousands.

I spoke to an eleven year old girl waiting in line to take the stage to present her portion of the presentation.  She looked me in the eye and said, “I’m a born leader.”  She then took the stage and confidently delivered her message to the crowd.

A parent volunteer who told me she at first was not excited about being involved but her daughter’s enthusiasm had convinced her to get involved. She was so thankful.

Young people in the crowd boldly questioning and offering solutions to Washington State Representative Jamie Pedersen who dropped by to show his support and share ideas.

Washington St. Rep., 43rd District fielding questions.

The day brought back fond memories of when I was a Middle School teacher.As a former Middle School teacher, with ten years experience teaching 5th, 6th and 7th grade, this academy reminded me of an elective I was allowed to develop and teach at Ruamrudee International School in Bangkok, Thailand called Teacher’s Aide.  The elective introduced students to the field of teaching, gave them their own students to teach and the responsibility to design lesson plans, develop and administer tests, and give their students a grade entered into their official school record.  All this was under the guidance of me as their elective teacher.  It was extremely successful and both I and the administration were amazed at how mature, dedicated and effective the student teachers were with their own students.

In these Academies, much of the same is going on. Children who have already been trained in previous Academies, give speeches to a new group of children to teach them about the climate crisis and train them as “Ambassadors for Climate Justice”. Through group work and presentations the children are taught about climate justice and they also learn how to present these ideas to others in a confident and exciting way.

Michael Foster is the force behind this rapidly growing organization in the United States.  His main focus is seeding the Plant for the Planet  children’s initiative to other places as quickly as possible.  He argues effectively that children have the most to lose and hold the greatest sway with parents, inducing their involvement in the issue. I’m trying to help him out.  In Michael Foster’s own words:

Six years doesn’t seem like enough time to plant 1,000 billion trees, or to organize wealthy nations into paying impoverished nations for being green. But this volunteer-driven children’s movement is by far the most hopeful thing I’ve come across in 25 years of global warming news. How many environmental organizations have a 3-Point Plan to reverse global warming posted on their website? Simple and clear: 1 trillion trees by 2020, combat global poverty, and end carbon emissions. They’ve counted 12.6 billion trees planted in the last few years. That’s a start! Child Ambassadors hold absolute moral authority because when we grownups are gone, they’ll still be here. These children can change the conversation on climate from ‘whether it is happening’ to ‘What are you doing to protect my future? What are you doing today to stop global warming?’

I want every kid in the USA to have a chance to experience an Academy, to learn to speak out for the future they will inherit, while it’s still possible to make a huge difference.

Today the children need volunteers all across the country. What does it take to host an Academy for 80 students? People. Parents, retired teachers, college students, anybody can organize a day-long workshop for local kids in every town all over the USA. Let’s get a competition going to plant more trees.

We need our kids to tell us, ‘Stop wrecking my planet, right now!’ I know parents will listen when their kids say, ‘We shouldn’t drive that big SUV. I don’t think the earth can afford it. Maybe we should plant a thousand trees instead.’

Parents know we have to change our ways but we don’t want to short-change our children now, so we try not to think about it. But we’re failing our children treat them to a comfy life now, but don’t think ahead for them.

Foster uses the Photo Album test,

Imagine, looking back through a photo album in 20 years. The very things parents do today to privilege our children — pay for big vacations, big toys, a bigger house — these are the very things that our children are going to look back on in horror a few short years from now and say to us, ‘how could you do that, when you knew that Life was at stake?’

History of  Plant for the Planet (adapted from website)

In January 2007, a German boy, 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner founded The Plant-for-the-Planet Children´s Initiative . While researching a climate project for school, Felix grew inspired by Wangari Maathai, who planted 30 million trees in Africa. In his class presentation, Felix ended by saying that he thought children could plant one million trees in each country of the world.

Since then Plant-for-the-Planet has grown into a worldwide movement.  By the start of 2011 there were children participating in more than 93 countries.  It has trained over 19,000 children from all over the word and that number is increasing rapidly.The United States has been a late comer to this children’s movement but that is about to change.  The ripples Michael Foster started are beginning to feel like waves!  He’s looking for others to assume the role he’s taken on in Seattle.

The program has all the elements to be successful and spread quickly.  Here’s why:

Engaged in the World games.

1.  It involves those most affected by climate change – young people.  It provides them with the knowledge and leadership skills necessary to carry the message to their peers,  parents, teachers, politicians and community business leaders.2.  Peers listen to other peers.  It’s the power of peer pressure put to work.

3.  It involves parents with their kids future and educational development.  It motivates them to get involved in climate change action as a result of that involvement.  It is hard to ignore your children.

4.  It involves teachers always looking for creative and innovative opportunities to engage their students in order to teach them valuable skills such as leadership and public speaking.

5.  It involves politicians.  It is hard to ignore a young person knocking on your door or asking you a question if you are a public figure. They know if they do their parents, whom they need to vote for them, will not forget.

Participants learning about properly planting a tree.

6.  It involves community business leaders always looking for good PR opportunities in order to portray  a caring partner image to their community of customers.

7.  It attracts the press.  Young people doing amazing things always attracts the cameras.

8.  And finally, and most importantly, it gives all involved a tangible, realistic way to get involved and move forward with a feeling of hope and empowerment.

To begin the process of organizing your own Academy the best place to start is at the Plant for the Planet website.  Here are some key places to visit.

1.  Suggested flyer and schedule for Academy (template).

2.  Pictures to choose from for slideshow presentation (power point) (takes some time to load but worth the wait). These pictures are used as visual aides to assist students oral presentations.

3.  Ideas and detailed information on how to get the ball rolling in your community.

Other resources:

1.  Announcement used for Seattle Academies

2.  Seattle Plant for the Planet press kit

3. Seattle Plant for the Planet flyer

This is a YES WE CAN program bubbling with the optimism that only youth can bring to the table.  We need that energy in the environmental movement.  It’s time to Stop Talking and Start Planting.  It’s time we join and assist in any way we can these young Ambassadors for Climate Justice.

Ambassadors for the climate.

Michael Foster: A mental health therapist and father in Seattle. Mike always had an interest in the impacts humans have on the health and welfare of our planet. From his childhood in Texas, where he grew up in the shadow of oil refineries, he has always been aware that we have the ability and the obligation to be positive stewards for the Earth – not just for ourselves, but for future generations.

Mike is a speaker for the Climate Reality project, the Al Gore initiative, and volunteers his time to present “The Slide Show” to any and all interested groups. His particular focus is exploring the ways that families can work together to reverse global warming and create a sustainable future.

Michael Foster is ready to help anybody interested in organizing and conducting their own Academy.

350 “Draw the Line” Ambassadors Slideshow

Ambassadors fists up

Video: Seattle Climate Justice Ambassadors “Draw The Line”

Do you want to help future generations speak? Hear what they have to say. And Click Here to view the entire hour of inspirational speakers.

Draw the Line – McKibben – Seattle

byJohn CrapperFollowforClimate Change SOS

Two years ago, retired NASA climatologist James Hansen famously said that if we allowed the development of Keystone XL, it would be “game over” for the climate.  But today there were over 200 Draw the Line actions that took place across the country saying emphatically that that is not going to happen.  You can click here to see where they occurred.   I attended the one in Seattle.  The keynote speaker was Bill McKibben.  It was a great day of environmental activism. Please go below the fold to check out the pictures I took and some key things I learned.


Each tent was a workshop.

Trans-Pacific Partnership.  We need to stop Fast Track Authority.

There were workshops (in two sessions) on topics including: an overview of all of the infrastructure projects currently on the table in the Northwest, tar sands in Washington State, theTrans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the current status of the coal train proposals, ocean acidification, a possible WA carbon tax, Nonviolent Direct Action, and Plant for the Planet. There were  kids art-making and Plant for the Planet tents in both sessions; and the whole event was family friendly.The sessions were very informative and very well attended.

Ambassadors for the Planet – Informed and articulate.

Following these workshops the crowd (between 1,000 -1,500) gathered to hear the speeches.   Right before the speeches began the Plant for the Planet Amassadors confronted the nasty train trying to ship coal from west coast ports to markets in Asia.

These young Ambassadors were the first to speak and immediately touched the hearts of all in the crowd.

Next to speak was  Chief Rueben George Sundance Chief and Member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Chief Rueben George

Then  Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica took the stage.

Erich Pica

The next First Nations leader to speak was Chief Phil Lane Jr. an internationally recognized indigenous leader and founder of Four Worlds International Institute

Chief Phil Lane Jr.

Mayor Mike McGinn

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn introduced the keynote speaker of the day – founder Bill McKibben.

Bill McKibben

The day ended with people making pledges to continue the fight and partake in acts of peaceful civil disobedience if necessary.

Pledges of action from the crowd.

And a human line in the sand.

Our line in the sand!

Below are the workshops I attended and links so you can learn what I learned today.The Trans-Pacific Partnership

A “free trade” agreement that would set rules on non-trade matters such as food safety, internet freedom, medicine costs, financial regulation, and the environment. 2. A binding international governance system that would require the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and any other country that signs on to conform their domestic policies to its rules.  3. A secret trade negotiation that has included over 600 official corporate “trade advisors” while hiding the text from Members of Congress, governors, state legislators, the press, civil society, and the public.

From 350Seattle:

This agreement is very bad news for anyone who cares about the environment.  This agreement consists of 29 chapters and most have nothing to do with trade but instead impose limits on domistic food safety, health, environmental and other policies.  The texts of these chapters have not been released to the public but 600 U.S. corporate “trade advisors” have full access. In essence the TPP privileges “investor rights over national sovereignty.  Investor rights basically give corporations the same rights as sovereign nations and veto power over national laws.

For more information please investigate the following links.……
For environment-specific information:………  (specific to fracking)… (ditto, long version)


Coal Export Terminals – (The Key Facts are here.):

Recent economic conditions have been putting the brakes on these projects in general.

That message – that end times are upon us for global coal markets – is the gist of  recent reports from Citi, Sanford Bernstein Company (proprietary), Deutsche Bank, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs.  Citi’s report is the most recent, forecasting “peak coal” in China by the end of the decade. Perhaps the most significant for those following the proposed Northwest coal terminals is Goldman Sach’s recent warning to investors that the window of opportunity for global thermal coal infrastructure is slamming shut.

The two sites receiving the greatest push for expansion are Cherry Point, close to Bellingham, WA and Longview, WACherry Point

Largely due to the success of public comments the scope of the environmental impact statement (EIS) will evaluate a broad range of impacts.

1. A detailed assessment of rail transportation impacts in Whatcom County near the project site, specifically including Bellingham and Ferndale.

2. An assessment of how the project would affect human health, including impacts from related rail and vessel transportion in Whatcom County.

3. An evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions from terminal operations, and rail and vessel traffic.

In addition the study will include:

4. A detailed assessment of rail transportation on other representative communities in
Washington and a general analysis of out of state rail impacts.

5. An assessment of how the project would affect human health in Washington.

6. A general assessment of cargo ship impacts beyond Washington waters.

7. An evaluation and disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions of end use coal combustion.

James Wells, a fellow Kossack, has written extensively about Cherry Point. Here is his latest post Outsourcing Carbon Pollution – Not So Fast! which includes links to all previous diaries on coal export.


We are in the public comment period to determine the scope of the environmental impact statement.

From Friends of the Earth:

If approved, the Millennium Bulk Terminals proposal in Longview, WA, would be the largest permitted coal export terminal in the United States, with plans to export 48.5 million tons of coal annually.In addition to saying NO, this is your opportunity to provide input on what impacts you believe should be considered. There are a myriad of potential impacts from increased train and shipping traffic — harm to our fragile marine eco-systems, global warming and more.  What’s important is that you voice your concerns!

Protect the Northwest from dirty coal exports – speak out at the hearings for the new Longview, WA, coal terminal. There are four remaining hearings across the area to attend. Please RSVP for one here.The four hearings:

Sept. 25, Spokane Convention Center, Spokane, WA

Oct. 1, The Trac Center, Pasco, WA

Oct. 9, Clark County Fairgrounds, Vancouver, WA

Oct. 17, Tacoma Convention Center, Tacoma, WA


Carbon Tax (Taken directly from the website):

The best climate change policy in the world is British Columbia’s carbon tax. (More on BC from our 2012 NY Times op edfrom this 2012 Sightline post, and from The Economist in 2011, plus here’s some historical perspective.)Our vision is to bring a similar policy to Washington State to improve the state’s economy and the state’s environment. That means following BC’s lead by implementing a carbon tax of $30 per ton of CO2 (equivalent to about $0.30 per gallon of gasoline, $0.03 per kWh of coal-fired power, or $0.015 per kWh of natural gas-fired power). Such a tax would reduce carbon emissions and still raise about $2.3 billion per year in Washington State.

*Plant for the Planet:  I wrote about this extensively in our Climate Change SOS’s Hummingbird blogathon in my post entitled:  Hummingbirds – Plant  for the Planet. but they basically call for a 3-point plan.

1.  Planting 1,000 billion trees.

2.  Leave the fossil fuels in the ground.

3.  Poverty into the museum through climate justice.


2 Academies in Seattle October 26th!


Plant For The Planet Academy, October 26th, 9am – 5:30pm

Free for all students ages 8 – 14.

2 locations: Jane Addams School & MLK Elementary, Seattle WA

Imagine planting a million trees, what you would feel like, how you would change the world…?

Now get started! 160 students ages 8 – 14 from area schools will train to serve our community as Climate Justice Ambassadors! Worldwide, over 19,000 students have attended this fun and educational Academy training to join forces worldwide as leaders of the Official Tree-Planting Campaign of the United Nations.

All participants receive:

  • free T-shirt, “Plant For The Planet”
  • free book, “Tree By Tree” by Felix and Friends
  • Lunch and snacks (Bring your own water bottle)
  • training in how to address an audience on climate change
  • an amazing climate slideshow
  • certificate of “Climate Justice Ambassador”
  • the chance to end the greatest challenge of our lifetime

The following weekend we celebrate in parks with hundreds of families to launch Green Seattle Day, the first day of tree-planting season in Seattle! Ambassadors can invite friends and families to come plant thousands of free trees sponsored by Seattle Parks!

At the Academy,  we play experiential games to understand how our world needs care, learn to plant a tree properly, get a photo with local leaders, and rehearse an amazing slideshow on Climate Justice. We conclude the Academy by presenting the slideshow to invited guests and take a graduation photo.

Students, age 8 – 14, who care about our future and want to start a “tree-mendous” transformation of our planet, please attend this one-day workshop on October 26th.

At 4pm, families and invited guests come see the student slideshow presentation at the conclusion of the Academy. Make plans to attend with the whole family to experience this powerful work from the world’s newest Climate Justice Ambassadors!

Sign Up Now!

Thanks for support to the Seattle Parks Dept, and Coolmom for help making this a free event, open to all students!

To learn more, go to the “About the Seattle Plant for the Planet Academy” page. Questions? Contact us below in comments.


Plant-For-The-Planet and Wangari Maathai are the stars of the blogathon this week at Daily KOS. The article gives you a good introduction to Plant-For-The-Planet, even though it focuses on my volunteer work getting the group started here in Seattle.

Take a minute to read the article and spread the word to friends who might not have heard of us, and who might want to get involved and volunteer to start a Plant-For-The-Planet Academy in their neighborhood. The goal is to see Plant-For-The-Planet changing the conversation across the country this year. Everyone who hears about this group is amazed and inspired, and often offer to help out. Who do you know who can help? Maybe someone who hasn’t heard of the 1,000 Billion Tree Campaign?

If you’d like to volunteer with Plant-For-The-Planet we have so many good things that need doing.

In Seattle we’re holding a volunteer training on October 5th at Camp Long in preparation for our next Academies. To sign up or find out more leave a comment here!