Knits for Life is my eco-friendly boutique at http://lornawatt.Etsy.com where your love of luxury handmade things and making a difference intersect. Sign our guest book at the bottom of the page.
The independent energy and spirit for creating things nowadays is unbounded and limitless. I wanted to be a part of the handmade frontier and explore its possibilities. I am also a biologist with a passion for biodiversity. I realized that the trees my customers were donating were, in effect, creating a handmade forest. What if I dared to dream big? Could I organize a group of people to make a whole forest?
My goal is to plant a Handmade Forest of 1,000 trees in 2011.
See who we are and how we're doing in the photo albums on the right.
Knits for Life donates trees to the Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Trees campaign in Brazil. Each tree costs $1. You can help make this forest with any item at Knits for Life, or you can plant trees by the tens on this site.
The Nature Conservancy is an effective and accountable charity respected by the scientists I respect the most. You can read more about why I donate here at the "About Us" link above.
Why do we need a Handmade Forest?
Life as we know it requires plants.
Plants alone turn the sun's rays into tasty sugars for all who dine on plants and all who dine on them in turn. They've been at it so long, we still "dine" on their fossilized sugars. Humans are getting better at doing with solar cells what plants do in their green cells, but they still smoke us on efficiency. In fact, they smoke them all: every time energy moves up the food chain most of it is lost. This means the more life we dream of restoring, the more plants we'll need to do it.
One tree pays it forward.
You know those teachers you never forget? Tied with the teacher who poured a gallon of water into her fancy leather knee-high boots to make a point about physics to my 3rd grade class is my college plant ecology professor who spent the first day telling stories of how all the other species in the world experience plants. The moral of the story is not far from all our tree-house dreams: a plant is covered in and filled with other life, so much so that most plants would die without it. The species that live in a single plant's micro-ecosystem do more than nest and feed: they've evolved together as ancestors, turn each other's genes on and off, signal each other's developmental stages, and even help each other get dates. All this means that planting trees also helps millions of other species in a million ways.
Compassion is human, but cooperation is universal.
Scientists have long been trying to find the scenarios that make biological sense for any individual to help anyone but one's self. The short answer is there are two ways it makes biological sense to help another individual. The first is any scenario where helping the other is like helping yourself. If they can in some way be considered an extension of you, you're also helping yourself. This means helping anyone that doesn't share your genes is biological poppy-cock, or, rather, something only a human would do. The second scenario is much more interesting: it also makes sense to help another if together you can reach things you couldn't reach alone. It's no exaggeration to say, for example, reaching the moon. Corporations get a bad rap these days, but the idea of groups of people working in an organized way to achieve large goals is biologically and historically sound. The Nature Conservancy reaches things individuals can't. Planting over nine million miniature ecosystems through the Plant a Billion project so far is a good example.