Trees are more significant than many of us might imagine. They commemorate births and lives lived. They beautify slums, farms and grand avenues. They provide shade, oxygen, and delight. They cool the Earth.

Inspired by the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Wangari Maathai, the first United Nations global tree-planting campaign was met with more enthusiasm than anyone could have predicted. The original goal of gathering a billion pledges in one year was exceeded in just five months. The billionth tree was in the ground in November 2007. By the end of January 2008, nearly 2.38 billion trees had been pledged and more than 1.8 billion planted.

This is the story about the Tree Billion Campaign. It is intended to convey the range of partners moved to action: from children to giant corporations, from women’s groups to technocrats, dancers to diplomats, farmers to national governments.

Photo credits: veeterzy / CC0 License