Artists And Athletes Inspire And Empower Fans To Help Plant Seven Billion Trees By The End Of 2009

Mokugift fosters global environmental solidarity by making it easy and rewarding to join celebrities in planting trees, for $1 apiece, through online "gifting."
Jun 1, 2009 1:00 PM ET
Press Release

 San Francisco, CA - June 1, 2009 - Inspired in part by pop culture heroes from an earlier era who used music and mass media to spawn social and political activism, mokugift, through its Artists and Athletes Program, is leveraging the latest Internet technology to rally support for an issue of the utmost urgency: combating climate change. Launching on World Environment Day (June 5), the innovative program enables fans to join with their favorite artists and athletes to plant trees via (Moku means tree in Japanese.)


Organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Environment Day 2009 (theme: 'Your Planet Needs You—Unite to Combat Climate Change') will focus attention on a global tree-planting drive that is part of larger awareness-raising campaign leading up to a crucial climate policy meeting in Copenhagen, in December 2009. Through its “Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign,” UNEP is appealing to global citizens to achieve the goal of planting seven billion trees—roughly one tree for every living person on the planet—by the end of 2009.


An official partner of UNEP, mokugift not only empowers people to participate in the Billion Tree Campaign, it also provides the tools to inspire others to participate. Tree planting is an easy first step to a more environmentally responsible lifestyle, and Mokugift enables anyone concerned about climate change—even those lacking access to planting space—to make a difference. fosters global environmental solidarity by letting everyone see how their actions inspire their friends, and friends of friends, to take part in the Billion Tree Campaign.


Farmers practicing environmentally sustainable forestry and agricultural methods plant mokugift trees in tropical zones in Central America, Africa and Asia. The plantings not only restock, with native trees, existing forests that have been depleted, but also contribute to more diverse, productive and economically sustainable land-use systems. An average tropical tree absorbs 50 pounds of carbon dioxide annually over its lifetime, providing enough clean oxygen for two people.


Artist and athletes who sign up with mokugift will be recording public service announcement spots for radio and video. These spots will air across the nation for the duration of the year, inspiring fans to participate in the Billion Tree Campaign before its conclusion in December 2009. By visiting artist and athlete web pages on — which track the number of trees planted and can be easily promoted through blog posts, Twitter, e-mail and social networks—fans will have the opportunity to plant real trees, for $1 each, and to prompt others to do the same. Anyone purchasing a mokugift tree receives their own web page, a virtual island that serves as a platform for encouraging others to plant trees themselves or "gift" trees to others. Active promoters of tree planting via mokugift receive acknowledgment for their achievement on the site and are rewarded with free tree planting. The planting of real mokugift trees is administered by award-winning nonprofit agroforestry organizations such as Trees For The Future and Sustainable Harvest International.


“The Artists and Athletes Program is intended as a call to action, to accelerate participation in UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign,” says mokugift co-founder Krates Ng. “It’s not so much about the artists themselves planting trees as it is about empowering ordinary people to inspire everyone to plant trees.”


Program participants include critically acclaimed hip hop artist and lyricist Pharoah Monch, who, in his 1991 song Releasing Hypnotical Gases, prophesized that "in 2010, every man will be subject to global warming." Hip hop fans will recognize his solo songs and his collaborations with artists such as Mos Def and Justin Timberlake. His songs have also been featured in video games (Madden NFL 08) and movies (Charlie's Angels).


Also mobilizing fans via is Tajai Massey. Besides heading up two renowned record labels/independent distributors, Hiero Imperium and Clear Label Records, Tajai is one of the four founding members of the Oakland, CA-based underground hip hop group Souls of Mischief and, with the Souls of Mischief, a part of the eight-person, alternative hip hop collective and Bay Area institution, the Hieroglyphics.


Grammy nominated Hip hop singer Mystic, whose song The Life was featured in the ESPN show of the same name, merges literate rhymes charged with poetry and a lush singing voice beaming with a sense of soul. Her mellifluous intonations resonate in a PSA recorded for mokugift, in support of the Billion Tree Campaign. "[A]s a global collective," she says, "we have the power to make every day an opportunity for change…. When you plant trees with me, a sustainable farmer really plants trees somewhere in the world. So, not only for the future but for now, get involved. You are the key, and we have the power."


Artists and athletes are encouraged to join mokugift's global collective (via and create distinctive PSAs that inspire fans to go viral in combating the challenge of climate change.


About UNEP's Billion Tree Campaign


Launched in November 2006 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), with the objective of encouraging the planting of at least one billion trees worldwide each year, "Plant for the Planet: The Billion Tree Campaign" is now recognized as one of the UN's most successful environmental campaigns. To date, UNEP has tracked the planting of more than three billion trees in 166 countries. Now in its second stage, the campaign, which stresses the power of partnerships, has set a new goal of seven billion trees planted before the end of 2009—roughly one tree for every living person on the planet. Every tree counts, and UNEP counts every tree.


About mokugift


A social venture focused on customer experience, profit and tangible, positive benefit to the environment and society, Mokugift makes it easy and rewarding to plant trees, for $1 apiece, through online “gifting.” Giving a mokugift tree is similar to sending an e-card, and recipients can proudly display their trees online at Facebook, MySpace, MyYahoo, iGoogle and other popular Web sites. An official partner of the United Nations Environment Programme's Billion Tree Campaign, mokugift collaborates with award-winning nonprofit agroforestry organizations such as Trees For The Future and Sustainable Harvest International to plant trees in twelve countries: Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Burundi, Senegal, Zambia, India, the Philippines and Haiti. Using environmentally sustainable methods, farmers in these countries plant mokugift trees to restock existing forests and enable more diverse, productive and economically sustainable land-use systems. For more information on the UNEP’s billion tree campaign, please visit

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Hans Chung



Hans Chung