Earth Bottles supports loads of different charities now and in the past. But one of our favourites are the awesome 15 trees. We started tree planting with these guys years ago and pledged to plant a tree with each gift pack we sell. It’s been a wonderful partnership and one that feels really tangible. This year we intend on planting 500 trees with 15 trees which is super exciting. We will hold our own planting day TBA and will be inviting anyone who wants to join in to do so. I think it will be a pretty fun day.
With Australia's carbon emissions through the roof.. or should I say through the sky.. Tree planting has never been more important. We rely on trees as they grow, to help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. 15 Trees are an incredible organisation who are helping Australian businesses and households reduce their carbon emissions via their tree planting. I chatted with Colleen Filippa, the founder of 15 trees about what they do and their mission.
Colleen getting her hands dirty.
1.How many trees has 15 trees planted and where are you planting mostly?
Since 2009, we have planted over 180,000 trees across Australia. Predominately in Victoria and Tasmania. Trees are planted by community groups such as Landcare, schools and environmental networks.
2.Do you think it would be possible to have a greater amount of trees offsetting carbon than we do carbon emissions? (does that make sense?)
It is going to take more than just tree planting to reduce our carbon emission to zero. Tree planting is one strategy. Project Drawdown by Paul Hawken is a great resource for those looking to really make an impact. The book and website, discusses almost 100 ways to capture carbon. By the way, planting trees is #15! Purely a coincidence. Fifteen Trees was established in 2009, Project Drawdown in 2017.
3.Can anyone get involved in tree planting with you guys?
Indeed. There are 2 options. Option One - come tree planting with us on National Tree Day (Sunday Aug 2nd). Site still to be determined. Probably somewhere near Melbourne. Option Two - let us organise a tree planting day for your company or team. We do ask companies to chip in for (min) 500 trees ($4.80 each). What doesn't get planted on the day, is planted by the community group in the days/weeks following. Where possible, Fifteen Trees attends and we bring our famous GF pear cake.
This could be you!!
4.Australia has one of the highest per capita emissions of carbon dioxide in the world, with its 0.3% of the world's population releasing 1.07% of the world's greenhouse gasses. What can we do to change this?
It is kind of simple - we need to individually reduce our carbon footprint by living more sustainably. Bit of a plug here ... you can reduce your entire year's carbon footprint by purchasing 60 trees for us to plant on your behalf. Last year we launched Friends of Fifteen Trees, hoping to get people to purchase 60 trees each. We hit our target of 60 members. These trees (3,600) went to Tasmania for planting. This year we are aiming for 200 members. We are currently at 76. Check out our membership page.
5.Are you seeing an increase of businesses wanting to team up with people such as yourselves to offset their carbon footprint?
We are! We have new companies contacting us weekly, asking us to plant on their behalf. As a result, we have now employed an office admin person to help us with the demand. This is great for me personally, as I can now really ramp up some projects that have been sitting on the 'back burner' for a number of years. I've got a really exciting one called I <heart> trees. Stay tuned.
- What is your background and how did you end up in this role?
My background is in education. In fact, I am still teaching one day/week at a small university in Ballarat. I love teaching and am reluctant to step out of the classroom entirely. I have always been interested in the environment. I studied Environmental Science at Melbourne State College (now Melbourne Uni). I've always loved a good rally. And am a member of Extinction Rebellion. I attended the Franklin River Blockade in 1982, and we all know how fantastic that turned out!
- Advice for people wanting to make positive changes?
Start today. Step up. See where you are having the largest carbon footprint and tackle that one first. Using a carbon calculator may have you prioritize where to start.