Kiri Trees: a hack for sustainability 


Human evolution has been centered across the advances humans have imposed upon society, from the invention of agriculture to the outbreak of social media. Although the human brain has been the focus of evolution and societal advancement, we have forgotten about the unity between our feet to the soil and our heads to the air. We have been consumed since the industrial revolution in a capital driven market that has used its creativity for consumerism, creating new needs by contaminating and making the hole in our ozone layer bigger. We have allowed UV rays from the sun to enter the stratosphere and cause climate change, natural disasters, and a countdown to the end of the world as we know it. 

During the summer, the outbreak of fires in the Amazons caused by deforestation and cattle farming has raised awareness towards the threat of destroying one of the biggest sources of carbon dioxide processors. Social media reacted with fear and discontent of how far Industry, with a capital I, has lead to the destruction of essential organisms for our existence. Everyone feels useless, resourceless, and anxious about what the future holds if there is no real action taken against global warming and the conservation of the environment. 

Luckily, there are some people with enough ambition, passion, and determination to make a change and educate a society in which we start making up for our carbon footprint. Greta Thunberg, the young activist, for example. has created a world-wide campaign of planting trees in order to heal our ozone layer. 

IE alumni, Mario Rodríguez, from Argentina, used his passion for gardening as a way of actively incentivizing change through an entrepreneurial vision: selling Kiri Tree planting kits to the community. His main goal is to sell each kit and in a span of three years, once the tree has reached a height of  2.5 meters, replant the trees in Plaza Callao. 

In an interview with Rodriguez, he was asked why he chose to sell that specific tree species, which he expanded upon:

“Since the fire in the Amazon and the harm that has been done to the environment, I did  research on how I could make a difference using my knowledge of gardening in a quick and efficient way. I wanted something that would grow fast and in a dry environment, and which could also be harvested in city apartments. So I came across Kiri Trees, also known as Paulownia trees. This species might not be native to the Spanish area, which causes a lot of controversy in the field, but it has been used in reforestation projects throughout the world. This Japanese tree only needs water and is very easy to harvest. But its most magical feature is that it absorbs ten times more carbon dioxide than any other tree, which I believe would be the perfect solution to bring harmony into peoples’ homes and the environment.” 

Currently, Rodriguez is contacting several environmental NGOs , such as Reforesta, Arba, Bosques Naturales, and Asosiación Plantamos Árboles in order to make his project bigger by involving his customers, the community of Madrid, and the environment as a whole. You can buy his kits for 18 euros (delivery included) in with a variety of house gardening products that will help you make an impact towards the sustainability of our home: Earth. 

If you feel anxious about the future, don’t feel like quitting animal-based products, but want to keep living in a green and blue world, where the dystopian extremes of The Handmaid’s Tale can be avoided, then start by planting a tree, giving it love, and harvesting your intentions for a better future for humankind, the animal kingdom, the ocean, the atmosphere, and your heart. 

Illustration by Valentina Traversone

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