Supporting Palestine’s Million Tree Campaign  – People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty

March 15, 2023

The Peoples Coalition on Food Sovereignty recently joined the Palestinian-led Million Tree Campaign as a Green Partner.  

Over 2.6 million trees have been planted by activists and environmentalists since 2001, coordinated by the people’s organization the Arab Group for the Protection of Nature (APN) to “reestablish local Palestinian food systems through direct support to small-scale farmers”. This year, the campaign aims to reach its goal of 3 million trees with the support of its Green Partners around the world. 

APN is an active and has been a PCFS member since 2012. Its chairperson, award-winning activist Razan Zuayter, seats as a Global Co-chair of the South-led coalition of rural movements.  

“It is with great pride that the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty joins this initiative that we have revered and supported for so long, but now as a partner,” PCFS Global Co-chair Chennaiah Poguri. 

For her part former PCFS Co-chair and Filipina activist Sylvia Mallari wrote, “The Million Tree Campaign is a symbol of the Palestinian people’s arduous struggle for their land and self-determination against imperialist forces that grab their land, kill their people and bomb-scorch the earth that feeds them. We are one with the launch of the MTC. PCFS is proud that it has a tree planted and growing there– in solidarity.”

Not Just a Tree Planting Campaign 

Tree planting initiatives have been skyrocketing in the last three decades alone, with no less than the corporate club World Economic Forum launched its own One Trillion Trees Initiative in 2020.  

However, much of these “nature-based initiatives”, mostly funded by fossil fuel TNCs, are based on so-called ‘carbon offsets’. These schemes give polluters a free pass to continue contaminating the environment by planting their way out of reducing emissions. 

A grassroots initiative to rehabilitate the colonial-ravaged lands of Palestine, the MTC is not only an environmental campaign but also a banner of resistance against Israeli aggression. Radically opposite to these greenwashing schemes, the MTC enables and empowers local communities that are best position to care for them.  

In 2020 alone, APN and partners planted   82,178 trees in West Bank and Gaza despite escalating threats from the Israeli troops. More than 300 fruit trees were also seeded in a liberated colonial outpost in lands threatened with Israeli confiscation. 

Under the slogan “they uproot one tree, we plant ten”, APN has mobilized concrete political support to the resisting Palestinian peoples while restoring ravaged ecosystems.  

With movements at the heart of the tree-planting program, the initiative becomes people-centered and truly sustainable. At the hands of Palestinian peoples, tree planting becomes an act of resistance and solidarity. 

To achieve its goal of planting 5 million trees by 2025, APN launched its international “Trees for Palestine” digital campaign to support the Million Tree Campaign under the hashtags #TreesforPalestine #أشجار_فلسطين. The campaign narrates the Palestinian struggle using a variety of visual, audio, and written material that highlights the crimes committed by the occupation against the Palestinian environmental and agricultural sectors.

A Global Call to Free Palestine, Plant Trees in Solidarity

According to PCFS, “People’s food sovereignty is a seed that grows and blooms amid a people’s struggle against imperialism, wars of colonization, plunder, and feudalism. It is a hope nurtured with people-to-people solidarity.” 

Despite distance and restrictions, the rural peoples of the Global South – through this campaign – stand with the Palestinian people, Arab farmers in their fight for food, land, justice, and freedom. ###

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