To celebrate the 20 000 trees milestones of team Trees4Breeze, we sat down with its founder Uwe Kauntz and discussed about the story behind Trees4Breeze.
Flashback to June 2019 in the Dolomites, Uwe remembers “We could not believe our eyes! The trees were lying on the mountain slopes like fallen matchsticks. Once vast, decades-old forests were destroyed in a matter of hours. Ecosystems where numerous species of animals once lived were dead.”
Indeed on October 28 and 29, 2018, about nine months before their trip to the European Spartan Race Championship in the Dolomites, storm “Vaia” had hit 494 municipalities in Trentino Alto Adige, Lombardy, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia with gusts of 200 kilometers per hour. In total, about 42 million trees were blown down or simply snapped off. Italy experienced the worst natural disaster of the past 50 years.
“We were shocked” – said Uwe when he and his team informed themselves on the Internet about the condition of the forests in other regions of the world and always received the same statement “The worldwide forest has a serious problem“.
Under the bleak sight of the destroyed forest in the Dolomites, they came up with the idea to reforest one million trees worldwide. The initiative Trees4Breeze was born that day. The name was quickly found, because they are all runners and loved the pleasant and cool breeze that comes from running under trees.
From idea to implementation
It all started with a small group of athletes (OCR runners) as they were looking for an idea on how to link sports with sustainability (reforestation of forests). After some researches they discovered Active Giving.
They quickly formed the “Trees4Breeze” team, put our trust in the Eden Reforestation Project, and started sweating for new tree seedlings. We found a sponsor for them and so they ran, biked, swam and burned calories in support of reforestation projects.
Their small team grew to over 20 members and soon they had completed our first 1000 trees.
Money for tree seedlings without begging for it
Temporarily the Active Giving Team took over the costs for our tree seedlings, until the idea was born to earn money for reforestation with different, virtual challenges and at the same time to bring people closer to their goals. “We wanted people to leave their comfort zone and enrich their lives while supporting a (our) sustainable action.” says Uwe. They went on to call the set of many, small challenges “Timeless Challenge“.
One example: One element from the Timeless Challenge is the Iron Lake Challenge. In this challenge, participants have to walk (or run) around the ten largest lakes in a country or region. Once they have done this, they receive a high-quality collector’s medal. Entry fees cover the cost of tree seedlings sweated by the Trees4Breeze team. People enjoy the fresh air on the shores of the most beautiful lakes, exercise for their health, and at the same time fund new trees for a better quality of life for everyone on Earth. A true “win-win” idea.
“But if you think the Timeless Challenge is just a collection of sports challenges, you’re wrong” express Uwe. The Timeless Challenge also offers challenges from the areas of environment, personality, relationships and emotions. In this way, people in all areas of life can leave their comfort zone through small challenges, develop themselves as people and society, and do something good at the same time.
The first 20,000 trees have been reached
While it is still as far away from one million trees as mankind is from landing on Mars. Trees4Breeze believes in their vision and has made it a concrete goal through the Timeless Challenge and day after day, works towards achieving it.
Uwe says : “We now reached the first 20,000 trees, and we have found a wonderful way how to realize our intention in our (sporty) way with the Active Giving App”. By growing their team, team members can sweat more and more trees can be planted. As well as by growing the Timeless Challenge they can finance more and more trees and become a serious partner support Eden Reforestation Project.
The first steps are done, now Uwe declares, “we just need to stay on the path and convince many people to walk this path with us, We need people who sweat together with us in our Trees4Breeze team for the reforestation and we need many people who participate in our challenges.” He adds “If we can convince people, we will reach our big goal of planting one million trees for our wonderful Earth! “It is easy to worry about climate change, but it is also easy to do something against it.”
We are grateful for the support of Uwe Kauntz (initiator and supporter of the Timeless Challenge and the Trees4Breeze team) as well as all team members who have been supporting our mission.
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