International Day of Friendship

International Day of Friendship

Honestly, if someone told me at the beginning of 2020 that one of the most important days to celebrate this year would be the International Day of Friendship, I may have thought they watched a few too many Hallmark movies leading into the holidays. Please don’t misunderstand, I relish and rely on friendship in every sense of its meaning in my life.  Thanks to the uncertainties and challenges presented during the first half of 2020, however, my hope for greater friendship in the world and within my personal community has grown exponentially.

Around the world, people are dealing with major friendship challenges including: social distancing and isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; heightened racial discord and political partisanship in the US; and, global impatience between countries and cultures.  As a result, the need for us all to take a pause to contemplate and celebrate friendship is of greater importance.

When the United Nations (UN) proclaimed the International Day of Friendship in 2011, they did so with the idea that, “friendship between peoples, countries, cultures, and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities”. The UN considers friendship in its broadest definition and as “a shared spirit of human solidarity.” 

On this International Day of Friendship we have an opportunity to think about how we can increase our tolerance of differing points of views and cultures.  We can consider ways to reach out to our local and global communities with empathy and care to heal old and new wounds. Together, we can create positive momentum toward peace and mutual respect for the betterment of all.

Here are few ways we recommend you celebrate on this International Day of Friendship:

Reach out to friends near and far and let them know you are thinking of them. 

It’s amazing how quickly a simple text, email, or video call from a friend can elevate a person’s mood. 

Volunteer in your community to help a stranger in need. 

Whether you support your local food bank, deliver meals to seniors in need, or lend a hand to your neighbor, sharing kindness and love will leave you and your new friend feeling grateful.

Share and promote peace, tolerance, and equality.

At home, in your community, and across your social media channels celebrate and share friendship.  All of us at One Planet Life will do the same.  Join us on Instagram at #OPLFriendshipEveryday.

Let’s Plant One Trillion Trees

Let’s Plant One Trillion Trees

Restoration of trees is one of the most effective strategies for climate change mitigation.

Yes we need to dramatically increase trees and forest coverage.  Trees are a rich resource that gives us oxygen, store carbon, provide shade, stabilize soil, support animal life, provide building materials, and some have medicinal properties.  Trees are masters at absorbing Co2 and producing oxygen.  At the same time, deforestation continues.  

We are losing 18.7 million acres of forests annually.  This is equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute!

Soccer Field Image

Armed with an understanding of the importance of trees, what actions can you take? 

Fortunately, there are many ways to get involved and make a difference.  There are people around the world on a journey to increase trees everywhere. Join up with others who are working to protect existing forests around the world, find out about tree planting in your community, and support organizations that plant trees. To help you get stated, we are sharing some of the organizations that are dedicated to planting trees and having success in doing so. 

There are longstanding organizations such as The Arbor Day Foundation ( which has planted more than 350 trees around the world.  Arbor Day Foundation has many areas of focus that include replanting our forests and tree cities.  One initiative is called “Tree City”.  If you live in a city, this is a great way to explore the progress and needs local to you. Another initiative is called “#TeamTrees” to raise more than $22 million to plant 22 million trees around the world.  It is easy to join in and for each dollar you donate, a tree gets planted.  You can find out where trees are being planted on their initiative site   

This is just the beginning.  There are organizations started by children to mobilize children with Trillion Tree Campaign ( . There are organizations that combine causes to lift people up and reduce deforestation such as The Eden Reforestation Project (  This organization focuses on locations with severe poverty and deforestation to lift the people up and grow trees.  This is a sampling and below we list seven organizations to help you get started.  Also, check out our Cool Stuff for organizations we like that support planting trees every time you make a purchase. 

We have a long way to go, but we are optimistic as more and more people will join in planting trees.  To date, these organizations have planted tens of millions of trees on the journey to one trillion trees.  No matter where you are, it has never been easier to participate in planting trees and making a difference.  We hope you join the tree lovers!


Organizations Dedicated to Planting Trees:

Arbor Day Foundation (Global)

The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest non-profit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than 350 million trees planted all over the world. Their goal is to educate people on the ways that trees can solve global issues we face today, and work on reforestation efforts as well as increasing tree cover in communities. In addition to offering memberships (the proceeds of which go towards planting trees), the Arbor Day Foundation has an online tree store that allows you to get trees and other plants delivered straight to your door.  (

Plant for the Planet (Global)

Plant for the Planet has an ambitious goal: plant trees to fight the global climate crisis. Started by 9-year-old Felix Finkbeiner in 2007, the vision was simple: get children to plant one million trees per year in every country of the world and offset their own carbon emissions. After three years, the millionth tree was planted, and now Plant for the Planet is shooting for one trillion trees, with the goal of offsetting global carbon emissions by 25% each year. Children can become Climate Justice Ambassadors at a one-day Plant for the Planet Academy.  (

One Tree Planted (Global)

The goal of One tree planted is to plant more trees, and as a result, create a healthier climate, protect biodiversity and help reforestation efforts. One Tree Planted wants to make it easier for everyone, whether individual or part of an organization, to get involved. Their teams have doubled the number of trees planted year over year, with more than 5 million trees planted to date and projects spanning from North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia. One Tree Planted partners grow saplings, which are then planted during the rainy season and monitored and maintained until maturity. (

National Forest Foundation (USA)

The National Forest Foundation is a United States-based organization with the mission of helping people connect with America’s national forests and grasslands, as well as coming together to restore and enhance the nation’s green spaces. Though the challenges that American forests face are complex, the National Forest Foundation’s tree planting programs aim to reforest areas that have been affected by natural disturbances such as wildfires, insects and disease, and to date have planted more than 7.5 million trees across the country. (

Trees for Cities (UK & Africa)

Trees for Cities’ aim is to cultivate lasting changes in cities by revitalizing forgotten spaces. Through their urban forestry programs, Trees for Cities is combating climate change, which has caused an increase in pests and disease not previously seen in the UK. Edible playgrounds offer an engaging way for children to learn about growing and eating food, and to get children excited about participating in their environment. Internationally, Trees for Cities has worked with local communities to plant more than 200,000 trees in 13 countries. (

Trees for the Future (Africa)

Trees for the Future sees a clear problem – destructive and short-sighted agricultural practices used by smallholder farming families in developing countries make their community vulnerable to further degradation and to the effects of climate change. Their solution is the Forest Garden Program, which teaches farmers to revitalize their land over a period of four years. Not only does the quality of the soil improve, farming families are able to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables and increase their own financial and food security. Donations help fund the Forest Garden program, and Trees for the Future boasts one of the lowest costs to plant a tree at just $.10.  (

Eden Reforestation Project  (Nepal, Haiti, Madagascar, Indonesia, Mozambique, Kenya, Central America)

The goal of the Eden Reforestation Project is to lift the poor out of poverty by providing them with wage-fair employment. Those that join the project are employed to plant trees and usher them into maturity, so Eden’s reforestation efforts first yield a positive environmental impact, and then a positive socio-economic impact. Eden Reforestation Project works with the poverty-stricken in Nepal, Madagascar, Haiti, Indonesia, Mozambique and Kenya. Since the beginning of the project, more than 300 million trees have been planted. (

World Population Day

World Population Day

The UN World Population Day seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population in our world.

We are in a world of 7.5 billion people. Sometimes it seems as if we are a world of egos each focused on our individual needs. Deep down we know that we are connected and the winning strategy is to work together and to lift each other. 

Of the 7.5 billion people in the world, ~1 Billion live in extreme poverty with an income of less than $2 per day per person. For many of the people in poverty, the problems are compounded by rapid population growth and vulnerability to climate change. 

In 2019, the Nairobi Summit on population took place in Kenya. World leaders and community members from 163 United Nations countries reflected on the agreements made in the 1994 landmark population conference, and agreed that greater urgency is needed – we need to “Accelerate the Promise.” They created the Nairobi Statement and the Nairobi Commitments – five themes and 12 global commitments to achieve the goal of “three zeroes” – zero preventable maternal death, zero unmet need for family planning, and zero gender-based violence or harmful practices.

Studies show there is a close relationship between population, development, and individual-well being.

In the book, Factfulness, by Hans Rosling, we learn that in 1800 the average number of children per woman was almost 6. By 1965 it was 5 children per woman and in 2017 it was 2.5 children. What accounts for this dramatic change? There were many changes around the world between 1800 and 2017 which raised the standard of living for billions of people. The results: “As billions of people left extreme poverty, most of them decided to have fewer children. They no longer needed large families for child labor on the small family farm. And they no longer needed extra children as insurance against child mortality. Women and men got educated and started to want better-educated and better-fed children: and having fewer of them was an obvious solution. “ Page 84-85. What is amazing is that this trend happens in all countries around the world. Therefore, we have clarity that moving out of poverty enables families to be healthier, better educated, and increase individual opportunities and well-being. So while we have made progress there is much to be done. And we know that reaching the three zero goals and lifting people out of poverty is key. 

On this World Population Day, let’s take time today to reflect on our connected humanity. Every person you help is important.

What does the world population mean to you?

What is your role in humanity?

How can you make a difference?

We look forward to your thoughts on how to help some of the most vulnerable people in our world. Please leave us a comment below.