As the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.’s biodiversity conservation arm, One to Tree is setting out to make everyone a champion for local trees by making the cause more accessible.
Since 2017, RAFI BioCon has grown more than 8 million trees and 1.2 million mangroves in more than 10,000 hectares of land in both upland and coastal areas of Cebu. Furthermore, RAFI BioCon has worked with over 40 organizations, 300 farmers, 300 public schools, and over 23,000 students.
“We have provided an avenue for organizations and groups to contribute towards nature conservation, and at the same time, provided livelihood support for marginalized rural communities,” says One to Tree Executive Director Anton Dignadice. “For me, the biggest milestone was helping shape and shift minds: from exotic to native species, which supports local biodiversity, and from tree planting to tree growing to ensure survival.”
The program understands though that biodiversity conservation is a responsibility that should be shared. To make a significant impact on the environment, the program was rebranded into One to Tree, to make nature conservation more accessible to the public.
“We wanted to give each individual the opportunity to make a difference, whether it be one tree or one million,” shares David Aboitiz, One to Tree’s Program Champion. “Our goal at One to Tree is to break down the barriers, and make it as easy as possible for someone to make a difference.”
The name One to Tree was selected to resemble basic arithmetic and simple steps. As One to Tree, the program wants to break down conservation into doable steps that people can integrate into their everyday lives.
“Accessibility is critical, and that is why we have developed key digital partners to extend our reach,” Aboitiz adds.
Currently, One to Tree has partnered with Lazada and GCash so users can grow their own native tree with the click of a button, and there are many other digital partnerships and platforms in the works. “[We hope that this direction will] tap into the consciousness of millions of internet users, not just in the Philippines, but globally as well on how they can be involved in caring for our planet,” Dignadice continues.
On the ground, One to Tree hopes to extend their efforts beyond Cebu. “We plan to expand our operations in Luzon, and engage more partners and organizations based in Metro Manila,” Anton shares. “With the expansion comes an increase in our target for planting native trees.”
Looking forward, One to Tree hopes to plant 5 million more trees by 2023, and create more platforms and activities that the public can participate in.
“I am hoping that people, locally and globally, learn that making a difference for the environment is as easy as One to Tree,” David explains. “[Our platforms show that] making an impact is only a few clicks away.”
“The goal is to make it as easy as it can be,” Anton agrees. “We encourage them to check out our website onetotree.org, and other digital channels that we have tapped. We encourage them to spread the word, and become biodiversity champions.”