Reforest Patagonia campaign advances

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Matias Anguita running at the Patagonia International Marathon last month (photo courtesy Reforestemos Patagonia)
Two thousand pesos, or four dollars, is a cinch to spend. In Chile, it can buy a 5-minute cab ride, one tall chai latte at Starbucks, three trips on the subway, or a 1/4 kilo of turkey ham. Unfortunately, all these things feed our ever-growing carbon footprint. Thanks to the Reforest Patagonia campaign, we can use that same amount of money to compensate for our carbon excesses and help heal Patagonia’s ecosystems at the same time.
The Reforest Patagonia campaign main goal is reforesting 42,500 acres of Torres del Paine National Park consumed by a devastating forest fire last December. But the campaign also aims to restore forests at burnt areas in Laguna San Rafael National Park, Cerro Castillo National Reserve, and Lake Carlota National Reserve in the Aysen region. It is simple to donate using PayPal whether you purchase an individual tree or add to a "forest" that your company or organization is working to grow. 
Seventy-two prominent public figures have supported the campaign and its gotten great press. The Patagonian International Marathon last month in Torres del Paine park was a fantastic event but produced only a mere slight increase in donations for the campaign. Facts are, tree donations continue to climb at a sluggish rate. Since the campaign launched May 1, 2012, more than 100,000 trees have been donated, but the goal of 1 million in one year has a long road to travel.
Is Chile willing to meet this challenge?
"The issue of environment consciousness is mostly absent here. We are a supportive country, but Reforest Patagonia is among the first "green" initiatives for this country," said Matías Rivera, executive director of Reforest Patagonia, in a recent interview with Patagon Journal. 
Rivera says the campaign is not raising the surrender flag just yet, rather they are preparing to ramp up their efforts with new, exciting opportunities to get us involved over the next few months.
An upcoming "Reforest-thon" on Thursday, Nov. 7, broadcast via Internet, will be the first of several initiatives to debut. The six-hour online auction will feature assorted products and experiences with the profits to go toward purchasing trees. "We are gathering items. For example, a signed jersey of a soccer player, or the tennis racket of a famous tennis player. Also experiences, such as going out to eat with someone, or a yoga class with an actress…things like that," said Rivera.
The auction hopes to raise 50 million pesos, or about US $100,000, to plant 25,000 trees in Patagonia. People and businesses can offer their products or services for the auction by mailing to or contacting via Facebook or Twitter.
Additionally, the campaign is planning a music festival to be held early next year. There will be multiple stages and a line-up of national and international bands, and ticket sales will go directly to purchasing trees.
Patagon Journal is looking forward to both of these upcoming events. Meantime, no need to wait, collaborate now by visiting and purchasing trees.

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