One way to streamline office processes is to move communication into the digital realm. Paper in the mail, printing stuff to hand it on paper to the next person, tomes of paper documentation… That’s wasting resources – time, money, space, wood – which could be employed in much better ways. Using less paper, even using (almost) no paper at all anymore thus is a good step forward for any company as well as the environment.

Walking TreesIf’ve made that step years ago and never would want to go back. And if you want to learn more about becoming #paperless you might want to ask Mrs. Paperless 😉

But why stop there?

Hardly using paper anymore – maybe you even stop reading paper books like I’ve done; my library today is all eBooks; can you imagine how much space that saves in my apartment? – is just one step. You can take a next. That’s what I did today. And it feels great.

Recently I read an article about “walking trees”. Can you imagine? Like the Ents in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Of course I was fascinated by this nature’s creativity. But then there was one sentence that really caught my attention:

One hectare goes for less than $500, and so far, García has bought more than 300.

I had heard about the merciless clearings of the Amazon rainforest. But I had no idea what to do against it. Stop drinking soy milk? Stop eating beef of cattle raised with soy? Stop buying at IKEA?

This sentence, though, made it much, much more tangible what to do: help Mr. García buy more rainforest. I didn’t know that was possible at all. But it is. Amazon rainforest is for sale in Ecuador; anybody can buy it for $500 per hectare, as it seems. And Mr. García is doing right that as a conservationist for the Bigal River Biological Reserve.

Bigal River Biological Reserve

Since I’m not living close to Ecuador, don’t speak Spanish, don’t know how to contact relevant authorities for buying hectares of rainforest, I wrote Mr. García and offered to help by donating $500. He immediately replied and after a short paperless 😉 communication we settled on the best way to transfer the money.

This is so cool!

Saving 10,000m² is so easy. That to me it is a kind of very, very tangible help for the environment. More tangible than not using paper anymore. More tangible than planting new trees. Because saving 1 hectare of existing rainforest means saving an investment nature has already made. And it means keeping more plants and animals of all sorts alive. The leverage here to me seems so much larger.

And again: Isn’t that cool? Soon I’ll be owning a 100m x 100m area of rainforest in Ecuador. Ok, almost 😉 Because there will be no plate with my name on it next to a trail leading through “my” forest area. Nevertheless… it feels good.

To me that’s the next level after going paperless in your office: Actively stop the devastation of the world’s “green lung”.

Any amount will help Mr. García. Save a single “Ent tree” for 20cents (assuming trees standing with an average density of one every 2m), save 2,500 trees or 1 hectare for just $500. Why not celebrate your paperless efforts every year with such a donation? Why not give back to nature some of your efficiency gained in the form of money – which then gets transformed into lifes saved?

I’ve added a reminder to my calendar for next year in January to check back with Mr. Garcia if the program is still on. And if so, I’ll very likely donate again. I think it’s a nice new year’s habit to pick up.

And maybe… if I’m feeling adventurous I’ll even fly out to Ecuador and walk among “my” trees. The Bigal River Reserve offers accommodation and even let’s you help with their research, if you like.