Shakti Reforestation is bringing the forests back, one tree at a time
With all the talk of deforestation going around, it might seem like the planet is getting less green. Fortunately, companies such as Shakti Reforestation exist to remind us that there are people who care about putting trees back into ground after they’ve been cut down.
Shakti Reforestation has built a sustainable business (in more ways than one!) of planting trees for the forestry and energy sector. Based out of Alberta, Canada, the company has spent the past seven years helping clients reforest well sites, pipelines, roads and other areas that were previously cleared for industrial use. They also plant trees for research, conservation and to support the carbon credit efforts of energy companies. Would you believe that the company started out as a trio of dedicated tree-planters who wanted to make a change? Today, Shakti has grown into a massive operation with more than 50 employees!
BRainSfeed speaks to Chris Harris, general manager for Shaki Reforestation
BRainSfeed recently spoke to Chris Harris, one of the founders and the general manager for Shaki Reforestation. We had the pleasure of meeting Chris on Pulau Banding last year when he attended the Belum Rainforest Summit 2016. Curious as to how one company, let alone one man, can make the world a greener place, we asked him what drove him to start Shakti and what kept him going.
What does Shakti Reforestation do?
We plant trees and forests. Wherever land is disturbed by people or cleared for natural resource use, we come in and work with local experts to grow new forests.
Why did you start Shakti Reforestation?
Because I love planting trees! When I was a kid, someone told me that you could plant trees as a job. I knew from that moment on, that planting trees was what I was going to do. I never planned to start a company, but then again, it just came naturally.
What do you plan to achieve with this company?
I want to plant as many trees as possible. Planting trees is easy and everybody likes trees. I want to show people how easy it is and plant as many trees as possible.
What are your most memorable projects?
There were so many memorable projects and experiences. Certainly, one that stands out however was the time we flew into a remote camp by helicopter, worked there for six weeks, and then floated out on a river in rubber dinghies and rafts made of empty barrels.
Which countries do you operate in?
Until now I have operated in Canada. However, I have been lucky to travel and live in many countries and I’m coming back to plant a lot of trees. Asia and Africa are places I would like to plant trees because the climate over there makes trees grow very fast and there are so many interesting species.
What are the company’s future plans?
I have a lot of ideas but the plan is very simply to plant as many trees as possible and to share that experience while learning from other people and places. It starts with having conversations like this. In Canada, we got a lot of things right about tree planting; the culture around planting and the system of reforestation is really great. But in China, they plant a few billion trees each year. There is no reason why we can’t do that here. Likewise, other countries are better at developing a culture of environmentalism and participation, like tree planting campaigns which are really hip, cool and fun. There is so much to learn and share between these different experiences of planting trees.
Why did you attend the Belum Rainforest Summit 2016?
I was very curious about what tree planting and conservation is like in other countries. I am really so glad that I went because it was such a memorable and eye-opening time for me. To meet so many talented and passionate people with so much knowledge about the environment and forestry was simply amazing.
Did your participation benefit you? What did you learn?
Yes. Being immersed in a learning environment with leading experts from all around the world benefited me in a lot of ways. It really puts things in perspective and opens up a lot of doors. Anyone looking to branch out in their field or simply look at nature from unique perspectives can benefit from it.
Are you planning to attend any more similar conferences?
Yes, certainly. I will always want to meet people to talk about nature and trees.
How many trees have you personally planted?
I’ve planted more than two million trees.
Why do you think the work you are doing is important?
Trees host the ecosystems that keep us happy and healthy. Trees control the weather and they clean air and water. Trees are also an important resource for food, shelter and fuel, and besides, forests are a great place to live and work. There is a lot of debate about how best to address environmental and social issues and there are also many ways to look at them. For me, this is simply how I choose to contribute.
Any advice for those looking to play their part in helping the environment?
My advice is to know that your contribution is valuable. Nature is the most cool and awesome thing in the world and it’s okay to be positive and have fun when doing your part, whatever that may be.