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EcoTree: Who we are and who we are not

EcoTree: Who we are and who we are not

Every day, we are committed to responding to the many comments we receive on social networks. There are congratulations and encouragement, which warm our hearts; and then, from time to time, there is also criticism. Some are justified and help us grow. Others sometimes seem unfair to us. But we want to answer them by stating here what we are and what we are not.

We do not finance the forest

EcoTree does not finance the forest. EcoTree does not promote any form of speculation, and if EcoTree promises a form of income, it is that which nature has always offered to mankind, at least since the Neolithic period. Our job is simple: it is that of the forester. It consists of making and growing a natural good that can be useful to as many people as possible. There is no room for speculation in any form because, in this case, we are in charge of managing private forests (which make up 75% of the French forest). Only 25% of the forest is public and managed by the NFB) and there is no speculation about the growth of a tree. A tree is sown, planted or germinated naturally; the time of its growth is not controllable. This depends only on the climate, the richness of the soil in which it grows, and the daily work of maintenance. When the tree is mature, it is cut down to make way for new generations, which in turn, are then cut down to make way for other new generations. "If the grain does not die, it will not bear any fruit."

We reap and share the benefits of trees

Naturally, a felled tree is sold for a price that depends on its species, size, appearance and market demand. Is there anything wrong with that? Should the gardener be blamed for living off the fruit of their production? Do we blame the farmer for selling their animals in order to buy grain, hay, look after the rest of their livestock - in a word: 'run their shop' - and, if they can, pay themselves a decent salary? We do not finance the forest, but we try to involve as many people as possible in its growth, development and, ultimately, in the fruits it brings us back, because this seems essential, if not vital, to us.

We give every one what is due to them

As foresters, we could have chosen to stay in our own corner, not to involve the community and to do our job just as diligently, in the service of nature - reaping the benefits it produces. But why should a common heritage, essential to everyone's life, remain the domain of just a few? Don't we all have an interest in our forests being beautiful and performing their ecological function? Why don't we all get involved?

Philanthropy is not enough to ensure an ecological transition

We hear from people who would like to put the preservation of the forest solely into a philanthropic perspective. And that is to their credit. But let's not fool ourselves: philanthropy, however essential it may be, cannot in itself be sufficient to lead the ecological transition to which we are called upon. Many citizens now no longer have the means to sponsor the actions they support, as purchasing power has been reduced. The same is true for the company, which cannot abandon its economic logic, at the risk of alienating the object of its existence and therefore its survival - with dramatic consequences for the first victims: the employees.

You can make a donation, but you can also receive

Let's say it straight out: whether the tree is philanthropically funded or not, it inevitably belongs to someone (the NFB, a forestry group, a natural person) who owns it, and therefore, the benefits it produces. Some companies invite people to donate, while they keep the benefits for themselves. EcoTree has chosen not to fall into this selfishness and to be an actor in redistribution. Seen in this way, the initiative does not fit into the principle of capitalism denounced by Karl Marx (producing ever more capital, i.e. fictitious wealth without bothering with the means) but on the contrary into the almost archaic logic of the gift as stated by Marcel Mauss: give, pay back, receive. And in doing so, sustainable development is put into action and is rewarded. 

We maintain forests in the interest of all

We must suppress the misconception - an urban myth - that generally comes from a part of the population that only understands city life: the forest does not grow on its own. It may seem obvious, but a forest is constantly being maintained. The forest needs the people who support its work without replacing it. Just as the stork needs man to build its nest on a house roof. Just as humans add to the service of medicine, thereby renouncing the radical element of naturalism that defined them in the first place. For nearly a thousand years, French forests have been maintained by men and women and governed by edicts and laws. When France is prosperous, its forests are prosperous. And when a forest is being exploited and maintained, it is better protected from urbanization. Today, we have reached a threshold of afforestation comparable to that of the late Middle Ages, but it is at the cost of a public will - now also private (let's remember that 75% of the French forest is private). Nothing is ever gained in these spaces where life unfolds, fecundates and is generated. Protecting trees from attacks by germs or fungi, wood-eating insects or repeated blows from big game has a cost. Planting a new forest after a devastating storm, or simply thinning it, has a cost. That's why we're offering those who want to contribute the chance share their efforts with us so that our children can reap the benefits.

In conclusion

In the end, the world is not divided into virtuous, warm-hearted people, on the one hand, and unscrupulous exploiters of Earth and man on the other. "Kantianism has pure hands; unfortunately, it has no hands," Charles Péguy wrote. To be an entrepreneur is to use your hands. Not to satisfy your personal ambition but to contribute to common development. We are honored to work with our hands in the earth, as, although the earth may leave its mark, it does not stain. 


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