Will you support tree planting and green jobs?

By Rachel Brown

We’re emerging like new shoots into autumn sunshine. It’s a time to show what kind of country we want now. It’s time to actively support the green recovery we’ve all been asking for. 

One way we can do that is to ensure we continue to restore our waterways. Five years ago the Sustainable Business Network founded the Million Metres Streams Project. We set out to restore one million metres of New Zealand’s waterways with native plants and trees. It’s a practical response to the shocking state our waterways are in. It’s proved how communities can regenerate their land and restore the mauri, the life essence, of their waters. It’s part of the vital regeneration of our environment that we need to prioritise.

Five percent of every SBN membership fee goes to Million Metres. So, if you are an SBN member thank you for your contribution!  These vital contributions have joined with donations from individual supporters, and impact investing by businesses and local authorities, the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for the Environment. This has so far added up to more than $1.6 million. It’s supported the planting of more than 500,000 native trees. It’s enabled local communities themselves to rejuvenate the equivalent of more than 60 kilometres of New Zealand’s waterways.

The 2020 planting season was set to be our biggest ever. We have 11 planting projects in seven regions with more than 180,000 trees to get into the ground. Planting these would restore another 22 kilometres of waterway. But the pandemic has severely disrupted our community planting days, ruling out the core of our workforce.

Everyone involved is adapting as fast as they can. Some of the community groups and farmers involved have been preparing sites for planting in their bubbles during lockdown. Others are organising small scale pandemic proof planting days to try to fill the gap. Some are working with us to access some of the new government funding to increase jobs for nature.

But we need your support now to save the 2020 planting season. 

With mass volunteer days impossible, we will need to pay planters to get the job done. These are tough times, with a lot of uncertainty. But what is certain is that we won’t maintain our momentum on this work without help.

We need to raise $150,000 by the end of July to support our community groups and farmers, otherwise it will be too late to get the wheels in motion to get all those plants in the ground!

If we can’t, some of our projects will effectively lose a year’s worth of work.

Later we will raise an additional $250,000. This will complete the projects, and fund three years’ care for the new plants.

The lockdown may have given the natural world a short break, but it didn’t clean up our waterways.

So I’m reaching out to you. You can act now to help leave a green legacy from this time that will last for generations. We want this to be one of the first signals that New Zealand is taking the green recovery seriously.

If you can, please choose your favourite project now and give it a boost.

Or get in touch with georgina@sustainable.org.nz to partner with Million Metres or support it in other ways.

Any help you can give at this critical time will be extremely valuable.
We’ll provide you with updates on the project’s progress and keep you in the loop on all the work we are doing.

Thank you so much for your support!

Noho ora mai

Rachel Brown ONZM
CEO and Founder, Sustainable Business Network