Cultworthy: For the Earth Conscious

In light of the current conversations taking place around the validity of climate change, this year it feels more important than ever to take a moment this Earth Day and reflect on our habits and the effect they are having on our planet.

The environmental issues we face can feel extremely overwhelming and Tree Era is on a mission to end the doom and gloom approach many have taken on the topic of climate change. They’ve taken the subscription based model we have come to know and love but instead of fueling addictions that might be bad for the environment and adding more waste, this service benefits the environment by growing more trees. We sat with Co-founders Michael Fitzgerald and Ryan Heal, and Community Manager Melissa Fellows to learn more about Tree Era.

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What is the story behind TreeEra?

Many of us believe in climate change, understand the magnitude of it, and realize that we should take action against it. But it can also feel daunting to know where to start and how to make a real difference. This is where the idea for TreeEra came from. We understand that not everyone is ready to become vegetarian, has the luxury to cycle to work every day, or can afford a hybrid. We wanted to provide individuals with an approachable and affordable first step to getting off the sidelines in the fight against climate change. A monthly subscription with TreeEra plants trees on one’s behalf every year, helping to offset their carbon footprint in a meaningful and ongoing way. We were drawn to the subscription model because today, we all seem to purchase everything through this basis – tv shows, music, even groceries. Think of TreeEra like “Netflix” for the environment. Instead of helping us find new tv shows, it helps us find a more sustainable lifestyle.  

Why did you decide on planting trees as a way to combat climate change as opposed to focusing on other solutions?
Not only do trees play such a meaningful role in the climate equation, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone with an aversion to them. Trees seem to mean something different to everyone – whether that has to do with their role in tackling climate change or not. Forests also seem to come out as one of the top methods of carbon sequestration. While it might be hard to personally relate to the concept of solar panels or electric vehicles, trees are an accessible way people can combat climate change. We like to believe that a subscription to TreeEra is just the beginning or part of one’s sustainable lifestyle changes – our hope is that it gets people thinking about other lifestyle changes they can make to live with a little less impact. As stated by a TreeEra founder, “We’re not saying that planting trees will solve the problem. All we are saying is that by doing so we can start to make a difference. For the price of a drop-in workout, or a few good coffees individuals can start to make a measurable impact.”

What kinds of trees are they, and where do they get planted? How do you choose the locations of where they get planted?
For our first plant in 2017, we partnered with Brinkman & Associates Ltd., and 12,330 seedlings (a mixture of Lodgepole Pines and Douglas Firs) were planted just north of Kamloops, BC. For our 2018 plant, we are hoping to spread the tree love a little bit and plant in a few locations around the globe – stay tuned for the where, when, and with whom the trees will be planted!

How many trees have you planted to date?
To date, 12,330 trees have been planted through TreeEra, and we are excitedly preparing for our 2018 plants.

If someone had $99 what should they spend it on (other than your products)?
A solid set of reusables: a mug, a water bottle, some grocery bags. Following sustainable movements like the ‘Zero Waste’ one is really inspiring. Spend the money now on some daily reusable items, and save in the the long term on paying for packaging.

Your site says, “Climate Change isn’t a topic we like to think about”. What are some small things people can do today to make a difference?
There are many simple ways to start making a difference – and we are constantly learning about new habits to incorporate into our day-to-day. Try buying more local products, eat out at restaurants that compost their waste, ask for no straw with your beverage when dining out, or try driving one less day per week (opt for your bicycle or public transit).

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Image taken by @merakisupplyco

What do you think is the single biggest millennial trend contributing to global warming and what should be done about it?
There is an impressive community of millennials that place heavy value on sustainability and are thinking outside of the box on some amazing solutions to the global problem. A fearful trend in all of us could be simply the belief that we, as individuals, are too small to make a difference. We are so often surrounded by climate change rhetoric that focuses on fear-mongering, guilt, and doom-and-gloom, which, we found, can actually be immobilizing. TreeEra, on the other hand, wants to empower the community through climate optimism, and let people know that together, we can accomplish more than we can alone. Individual actions do count and can have a meaningful impact when combined with the efforts of others.

In celebration of Earth Day, you can win the chance to have Tree Era plant 100 trees in your or a loved one’s name. Head to our Instagram to enter.

Cover Image taken by @alisonseto