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weLOG #26 Not as simple as it seems

Updated: Dec 17, 2022

You’ve probably heard of multiple planting projects happening all over the world, announced and talked about by organizations, businesses, and wealthy and influential individuals - there’s clearly a lot of buzz around tree planting.

Seems amazing!

All these trees and forests (re)planted, all for the good and health of our planet.

On the surface, seems like a simple thing to do - find land, purchase trees, plant, and viola! Mission complete!

Well, it turns out A LOT has to happen before a single tree is planted.

In weLOG #24 I shared with you the story of how our reforestation project in Ghana came to be. The story continues - one that’s less about the actual planting but more about research, research, research, and some more research. Doesn’t sound very glamorous, I know. But if we want to do it right, that’s exactly what’s necessary.

A tree planting project is a process, one that requires an extensive wealth of knowledge to be drawn from so that we have an understanding of all the elements surrounding the project, that is the land, the trees, the people.

Let’s talk about soil. Understanding this element is crucial and very complex, as it requires having scientists on the team who can visit the site, take the samples, have them examined in a lab and provide an assessment. What is the soil composition? What’s the depth? What’s the level of degradation?

All this information then informs the selection of trees that can be planted.

Of course, the history of the land is also essential - what grew on the land before it was degraded? How long are we able (based on the availability of information) to look back into the past and even how far do we want to go? And the cherry on top of it all? - climate change. In the changing world, we cannot take these reports at face value, either, so the species that used to grow in the area, may not have sufficient conditions to grow anymore (in comparison to, let’s say, 50 years ago).

People are as important - who lives in close proximity to the land or on the land itself? What’s their relationship with the land? What choices do they make that impact the land? What are their needs? How can the project be catered to those needs?

According to current plans, planting will begin between April and June next year. That’s when there’s a rainy season in Ghana. We want to make sure that we plant at the time when the trees can soak up that rainfall because that’s what will power their growth.

And this is just the beginning - our intention is to plant 50ha next year and the remaining 150 ha the following year. We experiment in year 1 and in year 2, we apply those learnings to the wider area.

You’ll be hearing a lot more about the project in Ghana.

Let us know if you have any questions or curiosities and we’ll be happy to answer them for you!


It's been a while since you heard from Ian.

Here he is sharing his insights on the Ghana project.

"The project in Ghana is one of the most proud accomplishments of weMORI. weMORI launched as an app concept in 2020. That journey was difficult and didn’t lead to the kind of success we had hoped for, so we sort of pivoted half way into 2021. The 200ha we are now reforesting in Ghana is a result of that effort and an outcome that far surpasses what we expected to achieve through the app in the same time frame. So we’re proud. I’m glad myself and weMORI alike have ‘come out on the other side of the tunnel’, so to speak, because the months before and after the app launch was a really difficult time, riddled with uncertainty and anxiety. I’m very grateful to the donors who have supported us through this time, despite the challenges we faced and our many shortcomings.

The trip to Ghana was amazing. I was able to meet with our partner SYND in person for the first time since meeting them online three years ago. Meeting Solomon, who’ve I’ve been speaking to weekly for over a year now at this point, was surreal. He felt like an old friend who I’d never actually met before!

One of my takeaways from the trip is being able to understand the magnitude of work creating a forest entails. You’d think ‘well, all I need to do is put baby trees in the ground… how hard can that be?’ In reality, it’s everything but easy! You need to understand the soil, build the team, clear the ground, decipher the best-fit species, involved the adjacent communities, and all the rest of it. So many moving pieces!

I had a particular experience with the SYND team where we walked through the 200ha to-be forest area. That was insane! Our goal was to see all four corners of the property, and we started walking a little before noon. When we got back it was dark! It had taken us about 6 hours. We carried no food — you have no idea how hungry (and also grumpy!) we were when we got back! It really imprinted on me just how enormous of a task it is to turn 200ha of degraded bush back into a forest. The stars on the ride back home though? Truly breathtaking.

I look forward to sharing more about Ghana as the project goes on."

by Ian


by Kenny


“Now is the winter of our discontent.” Sounds familiar? If yes, it could be because of one of two reasons. You have either read Shakespeare’s “Richard lll” or you listened to a recent speech made by Secretary General, António Guterres, at the UN General Assembly in New York. He stated, “A winter of global discontent is on the horizon” and with that, he urged developed economies to apply windfall taxes to the profits of fossil fuel companies. He impressed upon the need to charge those inflicting harm on the environment and benefitting as a result. His words, though slightly different, bring the same bleakness that came with this famous soliloquy in Richard lll. It’s quite poignant.


There is no doubt that forests are essential in combating the climate change crisis. Thanks to a newly developed platform we’re reportedly able to accurately calculate the carbon sequestered by trees. This platform was developed by CTrees and should be able to track the carbon stored and emitted by every tree on the planet. Though it is well received and expected to bring greater levels of transparency and accountability, some are concerned this new platform may lead to forest conservation efforts solely being based on carbon sequestration. Carbon sequestration alone is not enough as it doesn’t factor in things such as biodiversity or forest resilience. But we can’t deny there is a benefit to be had from the CTrees platform.


Joan Marques said, “it is easier to take than to give”. It seems the founder of the clothing company Patagonia, has made the harder choice to give. Yvon Chouinard is giving away 98% of his shares to an organization geared towards protecting the environment. As he puts it “the earth is now our only shareholder” and we have to agree. We need to consider the environment as a key player and not just a bystander. This generous donation will undoubtedly go a long way towards implementing changes to mitigate the climate crisis and preservation of the environment. It’s time for those who can to step up, much like Yvon Chouinard has done.


  • Eco beauty company ‘appoints nature’ to its board of directors Read here

  • The Amazon is approaching a tipping point beyond which it would begin to transition into a dry, degraded savanna Read here

  • How come dinosaurs survived very high concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere and why humans cannot? Read here

  • The magic of rewilding can turn the clock even 500 years! Read here

  • Vultures Prevent Tens of Millions of Metric Tons of Carbon Emissions Each Year Read here

  • Zero-deforestation commitments ‘fundamentally limited’ in tackling deforestation Read here

  • Inflation in Ghana (that is also affecting our reforestation project) Read here

There you have it, dear friends!

Very grateful we’re able to co-create the project in Ghana and appreciative of you being here to support and witness that.

And as we’re moving forward, I’ll be updating you on the most interesting findings!

Stay tuned!

Have a day that matters and see you next month!

Joanna Arai


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