Earth-loving social entrepreneur and inspirational speaker Clare Dubois is the founder of the TreeSisters campaign, a quickly-growing network of women who support “the radical reforestation of our planet”. Treesisters has the goal of planting a billion trees every year in the tropics, where trees grow more quickly and sequester more carbon, in order to help stop climate change. We spoke with their founder.
Parvati Magazine: What inspired you to start Treesisters?
Clare Dubois: I used to work as an intuitive medium for environmental changemakers. I was working with Project Green Hands, having fallen in love with their reforestation work in southern India. I was distilling the social strategy that they were using to help their entire state mobilise around the reforestation of millions of trees to help reverse desertification, so that I could inspire someone in the west to do the same. Right at that point I was driving my car, slid on ice and crashed into a tree. [At the same time, I was intuitively] given the mission of TreeSisters, literally like taking dictation.
It took me almost two years before I felt ready. I was [inwardly] given the Treesisters Map of five choices (now called the Map of the Restorer Species) and could feel the intuitive wisdom of that map [as] a framework of balance and flow. It was teaching and beckoning me, especially because behaviour change is what I’m most passionate about. How can we get inside the shadow of the behaviours that are keeping us consuming, and actually flip it to understand our indivisibility with nature and act from that place instead? That’s why we’re doing the Billion Trees campaign. It’s a powerful solution to climate change.
We invite you to join our grassroots network of women and help plant 1 billion trees in the tropics. We are planting a million trees per year already, but in our current environmental state we require drastic measures. At this time we lose 15 billion trees a year. We are already down to 15% of our original primary forest so 85% is gone. At Treesisters we always want to focus on the world that we can create. Women are powerful and we know it. There is a magical potential of women working together, that we haven’t yet seen in our modern culture. Treesisters can be the catalyst culture of loving and tending to the earth. We can act in our understanding that the earth provides the air we breathe, the land we stand and grow on, and that it only makes sense to take care of it. We can reinstate a culture of care.
PMAG: How is it going fostering relationships with tree-planting/reforestation initiatives?
CD: With a strong focus on planting around intact forest landscapes so that reforestation would contribute to conservation and protection, we have found and now support some wonderful initiatives. They have all passed through our very rigorous and comprehensive due diligence process to ensure the best possible match, the safest hands, the best practice, organisation and financial transparency, so that we can report back to our donors exemplary results. We have four diverse planting partners running eight projects in six countries; Brazil, India, Madagascar, Kenya, Cameroon and Nepal. Each reforestation project has strong community and social benefit components so that local people in the area have a strengthened relationship and dependency with the trees which helps ensure survival rates. Our reforestation director goes to visit and check on our projects to see that the trees are thriving. You can read more about our trees on our website that outlines our due diligence strategy called Tree Strategy.
PMAG: What is the most profound lesson you have learned from this work?
CD: What I’ve learned is to just have a go. Just have a go. The first words that came to me after the car crash were ‘“the experiment”. The voice said, “Call everything you do an experiment because you cannot fail an experiment, you can only learn.” I am devoted to learning from every experience. We are very passionate about it being ok to risk making mistakes at Treesisters and harvesting the learnings from them. There’s a freedom in this. I am walking permission for women to just pull up our sleeves and have a go, no matter what is calling to your heart. Like Parvati with the whales and the Arctic. Whatever’s calling to your heart, dare to follow it and call it an experiment; then you need not be afraid to simply follow where it takes you.
Clare Dubois is the founder of TreeSisters.org. She is an Earth-loving social entrepreneur and inspirational speaker with two decades experience coaching business leaders and creating behaviour change. Her aim is to reclaim balance, to revel in freedom and health and to be ‘walking permission’ for those who are fed up of being held back, and just want to have a go.