Ugly Sweater, Beautiful Impact: The Sweater That Plants Trees

Meaghan Weeden | December 22, 2022 | 6 min read

Making an Impact and Looking Good While Doing It

The holiday season can be a challenging time to navigate your environmental impact and keep things sustainable while also taking full advantage of all that the season has to offer. To help bridge that gap, we invited all of you to get ugly for a great cause (ugly sweaters, that is) — and you did not disappoint! 

Together, you planted 29,200 fruit trees in India, making a tangible, lasting impact for the communities that are most in need of environmental restoration. These trees will improve air quality, grow fruit for improved nutrition and economic stability, and provide essential wildlife habitat in a mega diverse region. We think that's a pretty special way to celebrate the holiday season!

All around the world, from nature hikes to holiday parties and present-wrapping sessions, these sweaters have kept our reforestation heroes both cozy and stylish. After all, what better way to dress for the holidays than with a classic ugly sweater — minus the ugly environmental impact from fast fashion?

woman reforestation india fruit trees

The Project You Supported: India Fruit Trees

This campaign was about more than fun and games, though!

Our amazing partners are working with local communities across twelve Indian states to plant fruit trees to fight hunger, improve local economies, and combat climate change. The 29,200 trees planted by these Ugly Sweaters will change lives.

When intercropped with seasonal vegetables, a grove of 100 fruit trees provides nutritional meals and sustainable income to a family of 4, helping to reduce migration into urban areas. Special emphasis is given to employing people from marginalized groups like widowed and elderly women. Each fruit tree we plant will equate to at least $10 USD in food and nutrition each year, with a cumulative value of 5 million dollars garnered over the next 50-60 years.

While the socioeconomic benefits of this effort are undeniable, there are important health benefits, too. India has some of the worst air quality in the world which is a massive drain on human health. Cue trees, which filter the air, trap pollutants, and provide thousands of pounds of breathable oxygen over their lifetimes.

The trees planted will also grow food and shelter for insects, bees, small animals, and birds. Biodiversity will also benefit from improved watershed health thanks to improved water absorption (and therefore, reduced runoff) during rain events. This will help keep area rivers clean by stabilizing soils, filtering stormwater, and more!

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. This project is currently supporting AFR100, the African Forest Landscape Initiative. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Provide jobs to minimize poverty in local communities
  • Improve climate change resilience & mitigation
  • Restore forest cover to improve food security
  • Africa is home to the world's second-largest tropical rainforest. The Congo Basin is home to 60% of the continent's biodiversity. However, unfortunately, Africa is alarmingly at risk due to the current deforestation rate - which is 4 times the global deforestation rate. Not only does this threaten the livelihoods of its local communities, but it also affects the planet as a whole.
    Thanks to AFR100, Africa is on a mission to reverse these trends and restore 100 million hectares of land by 2030. This country-led effort will bring 100 million hectares of land in Africa into restoration by 2030. This initiative aims to accelerate restoration to enhance food security, increase climate change resilience and mitigation and combat rural poverty. This includes 32 participating countries in Africa, along with local communities, national governments, public and private sector partners, and international development programs.
  • Planting trees in Africa reaps multiple benefits! Notably, reforestation here will help to add nutrients to the soil and control erosion, minimize poverty within local communities through the creation of jobs, and improve food security by feeding impoverished families through the planting of fruit trees. Ultimately, added forest cover in this region will diminish pressure on remaining forests, allowing for biodiversity to flourish and ultimately helping with the global climate crisis.
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about this project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • We will plant an array of indigenous tree species throughout Africa, such as Senegalia polyacantha, Faidherbia albida, Albizia adianthifolia, Persea americana, Calliandra calothyrsus, Macadamia spp., shea, and mahogany. Fruit trees will also be planted, which include mango, orange, tangerine, avocado, apple, guava, and Brazil nut.

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