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  • Writer's pictureMika Vanhanen

Two Decades of Trees for Peace

On a Tuesday that dawned like any other, September 21, 2004, something extraordinary took root. As a classroom teacher passionate about digital education and the environment, I initiated an event that would soon blossom beyond my wildest expectations. On the International Day of Peace, we started with 50 schools in 30 countries, each planting a tree as a symbol of peace and hope.

That day marked the beginning of what would grow into an annual tree-planting event, now nearing its twentieth year. From the outset, our aim was more than mere planting; it was to instill a sense of unity and responsibility towards our planet among the youth. Despite the ever-present challenges—be it funding, logistics, or environmental hurdles—we persevered, knowing that each tree planted was a step toward a larger goal.

Today, we find ourselves in complex times, with global challenges that can seem insurmountable. We are not naive to the scale of the problems we face, nor to the magnitude of the solutions required. Yet, we believe in the power of consistent actions that contribute to greater change. Every tree planted is a bridge built, a connection made, and a dialogue opened between nations and communities. It's about nurturing these connections and growing a forest that stands resilient against the winds of challenge.

The trees we plant signify more than mere symbols; they are living proof of our determination to combat climate change, an example of biodiversity, and an emblem of our commitment to nurturing nature and relationships

To those who have walked this path with us, your hands have sown hope. To those who are yet to join, your hands can carry forward this legacy. Let's continue to nurture nature, strengthen our relationships, and take these important steps together. Every tree counts, every action matters, and together, we can achieve our goal—one tree, one country at a time.

As we look towards 2024, our mission gains even greater momentum. We're not just planting trees; we're growing a global canopy of cooperation and peace.

We've set our sights on a milestone: the 21st of September, 2024, when we'll celebrate two decades of dedication with a flourish of greenery across the world. This International Day of Peace won't just be marked by reflection but by action. Schools and communities worldwide will come together to plant trees, each one a living monument to peace and sustainability.

We invite you to be part of this green wave of change. Whether you're a school that's been with us since the first sapling or a community eager to join hands in this nurturing journey, your involvement is vital. Throughout 2024, there will be events leading up to the grand celebration on the 21st of September. Let's unite to make this day a resounding echo of our commitment to the planet and each other.

Join us, contribute to our global forest, and let's write the next chapter of this story together.

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