Jen's MEM Journey

The Treevival Project – Part II
by Jennifer Weiss -- April 11th, 2012

trevivalIf one person’s moral obligation to protect the planet can make a difference – imagine what 350 of us can do together. One leaf at a time.

If you happened to wander into Hug Commons yesterday, you may have asked yourself “What in the world is that huge cedar tree doing in the middle of the room?”, “Why are there brown leaves hanging from it? “What am I supposed to do?” Excellent questions!

The tree is part of a class project for a Conservation Ethics class – lovingly named  PROJECT TREEVIVAL. You may have read a bit about it in Jack Beuttell’s blog a few days ago.  He hinted at this fabulous project, but now we’re ready to reveal the details.  For one week, and one week only, our spectacular tree of moral obligation will be making the rounds at the Nicholas School, Fuqua, Sanford, the Divinity School and any other schools that will let us in the door.

Project Treevival is inspired by a book called “Moral Ground” – an excellent assortment of thought-provoking essays from environmental leaders around the world. Project Treevival asks one question: “What is your moral obligation to protect the planet?”  All we ask is that you take a moment to consider this question, take a brown leaf from the tree (complete with wildflower seeds), and sign a green leaf indicating your written commitment to protect the planet.

It’s that simple.  Take a leaf, plant it, and replace it with your own pledge to give back to the planet. Together we can revive this tree, one leaf at a time.  I’ll start with mine:

 “I have a moral obligation to protect the planet.”

Over the years, I have been many things – a daughter, a sister, a friend, a wife and a mother.  But it has only been recently that I have been able to add ‘environmentalist’ to the list.  Because it has only been within the last few months that I have truly understood what this role means to me.  For me, being an environmentalist has nothing to do with advocacy and has everything to do with appreciating the world around me and giving back. To demonstrate compassion and caring for a planet that has given me so much life, love and pleasure. A planet that gives and gives, but sometimes does not get back.

So, what is MY moral obligation to protect the planet?  My moral obligation is to live the environmental equivalent of the Golden Rule:  Do unto future generations as you would have them do unto you.  My pledge is to live a consciously sustainable life by putting more thought into every action I take, every purchase I make, and every message I write.  I pledge this for my children, for my grandchildren and for all future generations.

One of my favorite essays in the Moral Ground is actually a poem titled “For the Children,” by Gary Snyder.  The final lines of the poem have a beautifully simple message:

stay together

learn the flowers

go light

Please stop by Hug Commons this week and take the pledge. For more information on Project Treevival, please visit http://sites.duke.edu/treevival/. Together, we can make a difference. One leaf at a time.

1 Comment

  1. Sue
    Apr 13, 2012

    what a great project

    I love the notion of spreading all these trees everywhere for others to enjoy.

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