Get Up – Go Wild – Give Back: Stoves, Trees, and Schools
In late 1987 I established Walking The World, my adventure travel company specifically designed to provide small group walking vacations to those who are 50 years of age and better. Since then I’ve had the privilege and honor to travel the world with some of the most amazing and wonderful people on the planet.
In the process, our small groups of adventure travelers have met, learned from and grown to love the local families we’ve met. No matter where we go on our walking trips, the local people make our trips rich, unique and personal. My life is fuller and I’m a better person because of the individuals and families I’ve met.
In the scope of things, travel is something that’s in my blood, in my soul if you will. Having been blessed to travel to so many areas over the past 25 years, it’s now time to add a new challenge. To give back to the local people around the world, particularly those in Central America, who have given so much to me and my fellow travelers.
Giving back also fits in with our motto at Walking The World – which is: Get Up – Go Wild – Give Back.
Go Wild means two things for me. One, head to the great outdoors, those wild places that rejuvenate your soul. Second, literally, Go Wild! Sometimes I think we forget that we were born in the great outdoors, and like every other species, it’s in our nature to play, to cavort, to let loose and Go Wild! So the next time you’re out for a walk, totally flummox your hiking partners by letting loose in loud song, start skipping down the trail, go up and smell the bark on a tree, hoot and holler and generally let that wild creature inside express itself!
Give Back. What does giving back mean? For me, it’s planting trees, building schools and providing clean cook stoves.
Deforestation is a major problem in many areas of the world. Millions of children around the world cannot reach their potential because of a lack of access to good education and schools. And, tragically, more than 2 million women and children die each year from toxic smoke emitted by fires used to cook family meals.
The challenges are significant. But solutions to these challenges already exist. Schools can be built, trees can be planted and there are clean cook stoves on the market that reduce wood use by up to 60%, are off the ground so children don’t get burned and that reduce smoke significantly.
So what’s next? To get started, I’ve partnered with two nonprofits that have been on the ground in Central America for more than 20 years. One builds schools, and one plants trees and provides clean cook stoves.
My goal: connect with one million people, minimum, who will donate $10 a year to help plant trees, build schools and provide clean cook stoves.
The cost to build a classroom in Central America is in the range of ten to fifteen thousand dollars. Planting a tree costs about one dollar. Grafted fruit trees, which can produce fruit in less than two years, cost about $5.00 a tree. The cost for a clean cook stove ranges from $40 – $150.
Why one million people? It’s not a magic number by any means. I would love to have 100 million donors. But what it does represent is a level of funding that can make a significant positive difference for many, many local families in Central America or wherever in the world the needs exist.
To help illustrate, 100,000 people donating $10 a year would bring in $1 million and allow us to, at the minimum, build 40 classrooms, plant 300,000 trees and build 1000 stoves per year.
While these numbers are significant, they pale in comparison to the challenge that exists. Worldwide, about half the world’s population still cooks on traditional 3-stone fires. Two million women and children die each year from the toxic smoke these traditional 3-stone fires emit.
Because I’ve been working with the 50+ population since 1987, I know some of the statistics for this group. Currently there are more than 100 million people over the age of 50 in the U.S. My goal is to reach – in the next twelve months – 1% – or one million of this 100 million.
By the way, if you’re not yet 50, I invite you to join us as well. The challenges are big, so we need everyone’s help.
But here I want to categorically state that we CAN meet these challenges. There is no doubt in my mind. We have the capacity, if we choose, to do almost anything we set our minds to.
Several years ago a professional sports team paid three athletes $480 million in salaries. If we extrapolate that number to what I’ve outlined we could do with $1 million, with $480 million we could build 19, 200 schools, plant 144 million trees and build 960,000 stoves.
That would make a difference.
My timeline: one year, starting today, October 11, 2012.
Please join me in this effort and please share this message with others.
During this process, I’m still going to travel and scout out new adventures for our travelers to enjoy. In fact, if you check out our trip schedule for 2013 at www.walkingtheworld.com, you’ll see that we’ve added quite a few new trips to a number of new destinations.
And we’ll be offering special pricing for all new trips.
Stay tuned and visit our site at www.1stove.org for more information on how you can help in our program to plant trees, build schools, and provide clean cook stoves.
Your support WILL make a difference. Join us today! And when you do, please send a photo of yourself that we can post on our blog.