BioPlanet

An international organization reforesting the world

 

In 2009, the founders of bioplanet, back then a mere vision, decided to start a small activity that resulted in one of the most applied social responsibility exercises inside corporate offices in Mexico. The concept of reusing a plastic bottle to plant a seed, grow a tree in the workspace and then give away that tree to communities in need, soon became the insignia of BioPlanet.
Founders German Flores, Victor Quezada and Jack Haime called this concept “The Forest Begins at Work.” BioPlanet then became an official non-profit organization in Mexico and the trees that resulted from these exercises all of a sudden needed a place to be planted. Soon after, an alliance with the Secretary of Environment gave birth to the Gran Bosque del Bicentenario [Bicentennial Great Forest]. As Mexico was approaching the 200th anniversary of its independence, BioPlanet set the goal to plant and protect 100 million trees—nearly one per inhabitant—plus create jobs, reforest and forest eroded regions, and educate communities on the importance of caring for the environment. When the project became known throughout Mexico City, corporations such as DuPont, ScotiaBank, Kodak, Nestle, Banamex, Comex, NH Hotels, KPMG and Earnst&Young, to name a few, soon  became sponsors of the Great Bicentennial Forest, and their employees, from the receptionists to the CEOs, implemented BioPlanet’s exercise, giving these seedlings a new meaning. To date, more than 25,000 employees in Mexico alone have grown a tree on their desks in benefit of the communities of Jalisco, Michoacan, Puebla, Valle de Bravo, Guerrero and Oaxaca. Additionally, more than 400 schools across the republic implement this same exercise in their classrooms to help their communities’ reforestation projects, learn about the benefits of trees, and how they minimize the effects of climate change.

Today, Mexico is an example to the other countries where BioPlanet operates, and the communities that have been receiving aid from BioPlanet are currently full of small growers, making a profit from the production and harvest from the trees that regular office employees once grew for them at work.

Early in 2010, after Haiti’s devastating earthquake, BioPlanet proposed a project to the Mayor of Port-au-Prince to plant trees for environmental purposes, with a special significance. Only two months after the earthquake, BioPlanet signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mayor’s Office and set the goal to begin an ambitious reforestation effort called The Tree of Life Forest, planting 310,000 trees, one life for another one lost. With this emergency action, BioPlanet is helping to reforest cities, improve the communities’ sustainability, create jobs, and create a local environmental campaign to inform of the benefits of trees and to promote a constant reforestation effort. Reconstruction cannot happen without reforestation.

Dr. Mark E .Olson, honorary board member of BioPlanet and Dean of the School of Biology of the UNAM University in Mexico, led BioPlanet to promote the planting of the Moringa tree. Known as the “miracle tree”, Moringa oleifera is native to north India but is now found throughout the tropics. All of the parts of the tree can be used in a variety of ways: human food, animal fodder, water purification, natural medicines, fertilizer, living fence, alley cropping, natural pesticide, domestic cleaning agent, fuelwood, biogas and many other ways. Most importantly, the leaves of the Moringa tree have great nutritional benefits because they contain an array of vitamins, carbohydrates, fiber and proteins.

Because these leaves contain protein, the Haiti project adopted an additional purpose which at the time became an emergency solution to feed children with natural produce grown in their families’ back yards. BioPlanet began to excel as a social development organization beside its environmental efforts. Today, more than 120 people are receiving benefits from BioPlanet in the cooperative that was formed since the day the organization arrived to Haiti. The city of Anse-à-Pitres, in the southeast region of the country, is one of the most important projects, and new developments are being done in the cities of Saint Marc, Leogane, Coupon and Port-au-Prince.

Due to the impact that BioPlanet was having in Haiti, the Honduran government reached out to BioPlanet through ESP, an American based company focused on sustainable disaster relief efforts, and expressed its need to address two significant issues: deforestation and child malnutrition. In December 2010, the Secretary of Agriculture of Honduras met with BioPlanet to seek relief to these issues. The solution was evident: the Moringa tree. This tree not only would help to forest the most affected regions of the country, but would find its way into children and women suffering of chronic malnutrition. Soon after, the National Moringa Project was passed as part of the National Food Security Strategy, in which BioPlanet would work in alliance with the Secretary of Agriculture to seek private funding to implement the project, while promoting BioPlanet’s famous workshops “The Forest Begins at Work” and “The Forest Begins at School,” so every company and every child would get involved. That way, the persons who work behind a desk 40 hours per week can grow in their offices the trees that will give their country the solutions they seek.

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Currently, national banks, corporations and organizations are slowly beginning to learn about BioPlanet, and those already committed are working closely with BioPlanet to aid the communities in need in the western and southern regions of the country, where up to 49% of children under the age of five fall under the chronic malnutrition level. In other words, almost one out of two children in certain regions of Honduras is malnourished and will not live beyond the age of five.

Additionally, BioPlanet is working with the Secretary of Health to include the Moringa in the “Lunch Box” nationwide to assure that each child will receive a sufficient daily dose of protein, hence giving BioPlanet an extra responsibility in its curriculum, besides social development and the original environmental efforts.

In the USA, an alliance with Miami-Dade’s Community Image Advisory Board came about as a result of the research made by the University of Florida regarding Miami’s canopy coverage. The research proved that only 14% of the county is shaded with native trees, and compared to other metropolitan cities, this percentage should be increased to 30% by adding approximately one million trees. On April 4, 2011, the Million Trees Miami initiative was passed by the Commissioners of Miami-Dade County, seeking the participation of the community and proposing a 10-year plan to increase the canopy to 30% by the year 2020. Companies such as Univision, Southeastern Recycling, Louis Vuitton, Moet Hennessy, Camacol, WIZO and several Chambers of Commerce from different Latin-American countries have been key sponsors of this initiative, showing their support to the environment, the community, and proving their social responsibility.

Internationally, BioPlanet has offered a native seed donation to the State of Israel after Haifa’s wildfires; offered a native seed donation to Chile after their powerful earthquake, soon after Haiti suffered theirs; offered a native seed donation to the city of Veracruz in the Yucatan peninsula after floods affected them; and as guest speakers at the 2011 Tree Summit in Miami, Florida, promoted the need to aid the middle states of the USA after being hit by hundreds of tornados that devastated cities and crops.

BioPlanet operates and is legally constituted in Mexico, Honduras and USA. Colombia and Brazil are under constitution processes and soon will have the corresponding alliances with the local entities.

Additionally, BioPlanet is working with the Secretary of Health to include the Moringa in the “Lunch Box” nationwide to assure that each child will receive a sufficient daily dose of protein, hence giving BioPlanet an extra responsibility in its curriculum, besides social development and the original environmental efforts.

In the USA, an alliance with Miami-Dade’s Community Image Advisory Board came about as a result of the research made by the University of Florida regarding Miami’s canopy coverage. The research proved that only 14% of the county is shaded with native trees, and compared to other metropolitan cities, this percentage should be increased to 30% by adding approximately one million trees. On April 4, 2011, the Million Trees Miami initiative was passed by the Commissioners of Miami-Dade County, seeking the participation of the community and proposing a 10-year plan to increase the canopy to 30% by the year 2020. Companies such as Univision, Southeastern Recycling, Louis Vuitton, Moet Hennessy, Camacol, WIZO and several Chambers of Commerce from different Latin-American countries have been key sponsors of this initiative, showing their support to the environment, the community, and proving their social responsibility.

Internationally, BioPlanet has offered a native seed donation to the State of Israel after Haifa’s wildfires; offered a native seed donation to Chile after their powerful earthquake, soon after Haiti suffered theirs; offered a native seed donation to the city of Veracruz in the Yucatan peninsula after floods affected them; and as guest speakers at the 2011 Tree Summit in Miami, Florida, promoted the need to aid the middle states of the USA after being hit by hundreds of tornados that devastated cities and crops.

BioPlanet operates and is legally constituted in Mexico, Honduras and USA. Colombia and Brazil are under constitution processes and soon will have the corresponding alliances with the local entities.

More than planting trees, BioPlanet is creating better communities.

BIOPLANET

is an international organization focused on generating intelligent actions to minimize the effects of climate change. Join our environmental efforts! Sponsor your own forest in any of our projects. Apply our environmental awareness and social responsibility workshops at work and school or dedicate a tree in memory or in celebration online. BIOPLANET in the USA is a 501(c)3 non-profit environmental organization.
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