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April 17, 2020
Did you know that a single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support two human beings? Trees also help lower air temperature to combat climate change while stabilizing the soil by preventing erosion through their roots.
Recently we came across the following quote: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." We took the advice contained in this old Chinese proverb and decided to start planting trees with TreeEra. TreeEra is a Canadian based company founded in 2016 which goal is to provide simple, convenient and affordable carbon offsetting while facilitating conversation about the current state of our environment. TreeEra has an ambitious goal: to plant one billion trees. We want to help TreeEra reach this milestone and engage our customers in the process. That’s why we pledge to plant one tree for each Smartbite order. We talked to Brieanne, a community manager at TreeEra about the environmental impact of planting trees, what makes her smile and her advice to anyone who wants to make our planet a better place.
Describe yourself in 3 words: Passionate, curious, creative
Favorite color? Purple
We’re curious... do your friends and family have any nicknames for you? Yes – a lot! Bibbs, Brai, Biblow
Morning, noon or night? Noon!
What is your favorite movie quote? “Buzz, you girlfriend... woof.” – Home Alone
What supply in your house is running low? Flour – I have been baking up a storm while in isolation!
What did you eat for breakfast? Sourdough bread (which I baked myself!) with ricotta and raspberry jam
What is the last thing you liked on social media? Probably something from the @bonappetit on Instagram
Last band or artist you listened to? John Mayer and his new single with Leon Bridges “Inside Friend”
My favorite flavor to dip things in is: Guilty pleasure? Helluva Dip – French Onion flavour
How do you define happiness? Having people to love and people who love you
What is one item you could NEVER live without? Coffee
What makes you smile? Onions and garlic in a pan
What emoji best describes your personality? 🙌🏼
Who do you admire the most? Right now? Health care workers. From doctors to nurses to long term care support staff to hospital cleaning staff. They’re absolute heroes.
Likes: Coffee, cooking, wine
Dislikes: Fish, licorice
Life ambition: Gosh that’s a big question! To always explore and learn.
If I wasn't doing this I would be: I work a few different jobs actually! So if I’m not helping to plant trees I’m teaching spin or working in marketing.
Hello Brieanne, thank you very much for chatting with us. Can you tell us a little about yourself? Sure! I live in Victoria, B.C. and work as the Community Manager for TreeEra. I’ve worked with TreeEra for about over a year and I love their mission of “Together We Will Plant One Billion Trees.” Their membership format is such a simple way to step off the sidelines in the fight against climate change.
Other than that, I love to cook, (like REALLY love cooking), I love coffee and I’ve recently taken up baking sourdough bread!
You work as a community manager at TreeEra. How did that happen?I do! I’ve known one of the founders, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, for years and he shared with me they were looking for someone to help them out. We grabbed coffee one summer afternoon in Kelowna to discuss it and the rest is history!
What sparked the desire to start TreeEra and what does TreeEra’s name represent? The idea that sparked the creation of TreeEra came from our co-founder, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. As a touring musician, he spends a lot of his time in vans or buses which leaves a lot of time to think! So, TreeEra sprouted on the grounds between a belief in climate change and a lack of knowing how to help. While there are many ways to reduce our carbon footprint, we wanted to provide people with a convenient and simple way to contribute to a not-so-simple problem.
Planting trees seemed like a perfect place to start. The name TreeEra represents that we believe this is the era to plant one billion trees!
Congratulations on planting over 110 thousand trees in TreeEra’s first four years of business! How have you met this initial vision for the brand and where are you looking to go next? Thank you! Honestly, we’ve gotten to planting over 68 thousand trees because of the amazing members of our #CommuniTree! From individuals to small, medium and large businesses – they’re the ones who are champions for planting trees and doing their share to help combat climate change. We’re looking to plant one billion trees – that’s where we want to go next!
TreeEra currently plants trees in Canada, Africa and Costa Rica. What is the environmental impact of planting trees in these locations? We work with a number of different planting companies across the globe because climate change has no borders – so we think our tree planting shouldn’t either. We get to leverage different planting seasons and tree species, from pine trees to mangrove trees!
On top of the essential environmental work these trees are doing, they are also helping to create social change in the communities you plant them in. Can you tell us more about that? Absolutely – right now we’re in the midst of working with an elementary school to plant trees to offset their school’s electrical usage. This is not only an incredible way for the school to offset a portion of their carbon footprint, but it’s also a real, tangible way to tie the topic of environmentalism and the three Rs for the students of the school!
How do you ensure that you are making a lasting impact once the trees have been planted?
We ensure that the tree planting companies we work with are specifically using tree species that are native to the area. This is important to maintain the fragile ecosystems already in place. We also want to be sure that any one area doesn’t become a mono-culture which isn’t naturally found in nature.
What specific leadership qualities are needed by innovators in the field of sustainability that differ from those of running a traditional business that seeks only to meet the needs of their shareholders? Wow! This is a great question! I think the trait that I could best boil it down to is empathy. Empathy for the planet and for humanity as a whole is often what is the kernel for starting a company within the sustainability field.
How would you explain the importance of brands like TreeEra built on a more ethical and sustainable model to someone who isn't well versed in what that means? Now more than ever we think customers are critical about the values that any company or brand holds. Choosing where we place our money can be as impactful as voting when it comes to deciding what kind of society we want to live in.
Are there any influencers, books or films that have influenced your sustainability thinking? We look up to brands like Patagonia. They’ve been at the forefront of being a sustainably-minded business since their inception. Every choice they make, from their supply chain to their marketing is rooted in their mission statement: “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
What have you done outside of work to live a more sustainable life? Personally, I made the choice to start eating vegetarian. It’s not for everyone and I respect people who don’t choose to live this way, but I felt like it was one of the easiest and most impactful decisions a single individual can make in the fight against climate change.
What advice do you have for someone who is looking to make a more positive impact in the world around them? Start small! Bring a backpack or reusable bags to the grocery store the next time you go. Turn the temperature down in your home when you leave for the day. Buy a bamboo toothbrush. Eat meat-free one day a week. Don’t let being perfect be the enemy of good – we all have to start somewhere. It’s just important to start.
Thank you Brieanne for all these wonderful insights. You can follow TreeEra's journey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
WHAT IS SMARTBITE COLLECTIVE? Smartbite Collective shines a spotlight on changemakers in our community that live according to Smartbite principles. We started Smartbite Snacks because we want to live our lives on our own terms while creating a positive change around us. We don't wait for things to happen, we get up and happen to things. Roadblocks don't discourage us, they fuel us. We believe that life is what you make it, how you impact it and also how you look at it – rice cakes are just rice but wine is just grapes. To us simplicity, boldness, kindness and giving a shit (yes, we said it) are everything and when we meet someone who embodies all of the above, you bet we'll ask tons of questions.
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