woman standing in forest among tall trees

Our planet is 4.5 billion years old and is often daunting to try to imagine the impact our actions can have on the fate of the world. However, it is important to think of our big picture: the impact our actions today have on future generations. The best thing we can do for the future is to ensure that our actions today provide a better life for those who will live long after we are gone.

Dreaming of a Green Future

Yi Jiefang, the 67-year-old mother of Yang Ruizhe, a young university student who died in a tragic accident in Japan, is hoped to make a difference for future generations out of love for her son. Her son always dreamed of turning their hometown into a forest, but he was unable to carry out that dream. His mother took it upon herself to carry out his wishes. 

Planting the Seeds

We can plant the seeds that will allow future generations to thrive – a sentiment that Yi Jiefang took literally as she, over the course of 12 years, planted 2 million trees in North China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. This worked to counter the deliberate desertification of China. Planting these trees could also contribute to reversing the effects of deforestation and fuel sources that are not environmentally conscious on the planet. Trees produce oxygen, capture greenhouse gasses, and help stabilize our atmospheric conditions. Yi Jiefang truly took to heart her son’s vision for a greener future.

Rooted in Community

Yi Jiefang went beyond just the work that she could physically do herself by creating a non-profit named Green Life to recruit others to join her in this mission. Not only did Yi Jiefang and her husband invest all they had in this organization, but they are using it to help others cope with similar loss of a child. They have found it is a way to cope with grief and do good despite what they have suffered. 

Be the Change

As a young person, I am constantly inspired by efforts to make a difference for future generations. There is an opportunity for each and every one of us to take inspiration from people such as Yi Jiefang who take it upon themselves to care for the planet out of love for others. Caring for the planet is an act of love for future generations. While what Yi Jiefang has managed to do is amazing, it is not the only way to carry out these acts of love. They can be as simple as recycling or experimenting with plant-based eating. It would be amazing if we could all plant two million trees, but any action can work to change the future. 

Acts of love can go beyond actions; they can take shape in the power of our words and motivate others towards doing good. We have seen a rise in young people speaking out against harmful practices and for environmentally-conscious policies. The acts of love of many people will combine to create a safer tomorrow. Everyone today, especially young people can begin by dreaming green and planting the seeds to build a better future for our Planet Home.