Real Leaders

Felix Finkbeiner, Founder, Plant For The Planet

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash


“A mosquito cannot do anything against a rhino, but a thousand mosquitoes can make the rhino change its direction.”

Vision: A world in balance, where climate justice prevails and children no longer have to fight for survival. Action: The 17-year-old passed his target of planting a million trees in his home country Germany, and kept on going. To date, 30,000 Climate Justice Ambassadors have planted 13 billion trees in 131 countries. “There is still space for 1,000 billion more,” he says.

It all started with a school presentation at his school in Germany and today Plant-for-the-Planet is a global movement with an ambitious goal: to fight the climate crisis by planting trees around the world.

Inspired by Wangari Maathai, who planted 30 million trees in Africa in 30 years, Felix formulated his vision: Children could plant one million trees in every country on earth and thereby offset CO2 emissions all on their own – while adults are still talking about doing it. Each tree binds a CO2 intake of 10 kg per year.

Within a year, Klaus Töpfer, former German Federal Minister of the Environment and executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) became an official patron. Finkbeiner then became a UNEP Junior Board Member and gave speeches at important environment and climate events, including the European Parliament. Plant-for-the-Planet academies were established in Germany and around the world. These are events organized by children, for children, where they motivate each other to take action against the climate crisis. The children become active Climate Justice Ambassadors and pass on their knowledge and encourage other children to take on social responsibility and shape their future.

To popularize the campaign Finkbeiner started the “Stop talking. Start planting” campaign. This was characterized by a series of photographs of himself with famous supporters such as Harrison Ford, Prince Albert of Monaco and Michael Otto, with his hand over their mouths.


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