The Bible begins and ends by featuring trees of life and reveals the essential place trees inhabit on the earth and their roles, both in the ecosystems of God's creation and in the lives of its people.
Jewish teachings carry on this theme. A Jewish midrash, or proverb, states that after God made the first human, God led the human creature around all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said, "See My works, how beautiful and praiseworthy they are …Be careful not to spoil or destroy My world – for if you do, there will be nobody after you to repair it." Another Jewish teaching says if people claim the world is ending and the Messiah has come, first plant a tree, and then see if the story is true.
We plant trees because they have environmental, social, and spiritual benefits. Trees capture carbon and slow the warming of the earth. They cool the land and preserve it from erosion, thereby making it a hospitable place for the other beings of God's creation to live and thrive. The point our eyes heavenward and remind us of the goodness that God proclaimed over all that he had made.
In a time of ecological crisis that can feel overwhelming, we can find hope and resilience in the simple act of planting trees. The JoinTrees program of Mennonite Men has assisted many communities across the U.S., and Central America take part in this simple act of healing that begins to restore our connection to the land as individuals and as communities. Since September of 2020 when we launched our JoinTrees campaing, 54,920 trees have been planted with funding for another 32,316 approved in March.
Visit mennonitemen.org/jointrees to read these stories and to join Mennonite Men's campaign to plant one million trees by 2030.