“One day I realized that of the many ways I had tried to help the planet, the most lasting impact I had had on the most people was also one of the simplest things I had ever done — I had invited my neighbors to make soil with me”
Meet Josh Whiton, 1treellion’s ambassador and the founder of MakeSoil. I sat down (virtually) with Josh to talk about trees, soil, and our world.
Josh is a social innovator / Impact Entrepreneur — creating participatory movements that empower people worldwide to directly contribute to planetary repair.
Josh decided to spread the simple experience of soil making and get millions of people to make it together. “If we do that, we can really make a difference with climate change, public health and community resilience”.
I asked Josh where they find the most communities implementing his work. He explains that “the most activity is in places where a local citizen really begins championing the idea in their communities. On our map you can check out places as diverse as St. Petersburg/ Florida, all the way over to Dubai where MakeSoil has really taken off”. What do they all have in common? ”Local leaders who understand the transformative power of making soil together and begin sharing it with everyone.”
Just like 1treellion is a global community of planting trees together, MakeSoil is focusing on composting together. The reason for that is that “People are looking for a way to connect that has purpose and meaning behind it, instead of just connecting over passive consumptive activities. When people come together and experience connection while helping the planet and regenerating the Earth it builds community around a deeply meaningful and practical activity. The community that forms is strong. It humanizes everyone involved, helps us drop our projections and fears about one another, and naturally leads to other important activities like growing food and sharing it.”
I couldn’t agree more. We see that as well in the local communities that 1treellion is supporting all over the world.
MakeSoil.org & 1treellion.org really go hand-in-hand! “One of the key components of good soil-making are fallen leaves from trees'', Josh enthusiastically tells me. “The carbon in the leaves is used to balance the nitrogen in the food scraps. And by using the leaves to make soil, we help lock the carbon in those leaves into soil and keep it from going back into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. So trees play a big part in our soil making movement and together, they can help capture carbon and address climate change”.
As we continued our conversation, Josh shared with me his future plans involving trees. “I am struck by the power of trees to feed us. I think we’ve forgotten that a single tree can produce millions of healthy calories for us in a single season. I would like to see neighbors coming together to care for a few avocado trees, or a few nut trees, as stewards who recognize the life-giving and even life-saving gift these trees are offering, instead of just relying on commercial industrial operations. I would like to help make that relationship with food-producing trees more normal in our communities”.
Like every ambassador, I asked him what his favorite tree is. I wasn’t surprised when for Josh it’s an Avocado tree - “They produce my favorite food!”.
Josh is also involved in various land regeneration projects. In the past few weeks they have planted 8 avocado trees. “The other day I found two chestnut trees that were being damaged by goats. So I put up some wire fencing up to protect them”. He plans on helping to plant and care for thousands of food producing trees and millions of other trees “in my lifetime...”. We need more ambassadors like Josh, to help us plant our planet.
I finished by asking Josh why he cares so much about what we do. His answer was simple “Trees can help solve so many of our world problems, from climate change to food security. It’s time for humanity to remember this and to befriend trees like never before”.
Amen to that!
To learn about Josh’s work and learn how to make soil, feel free to check out MakeSoil.org