MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: PHILIPPA ATTWOOD
Sometimes our purpose in life is revealed at an early age and it launches a career so young that it doesn’t even have a full name; only a mission. When that kind of passion-filled mission is revealed, we must begin moving towards it, even when we don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle clearly defined. When the mission seems out of the norm, it’s having the courage to take baby steps forward, that can lead to clarity of meaningful work; work with an impactful purpose. JAG understands that gaining profit with no purpose, means working with a lack of responsibility; lack of responsibility to people, our society, the environment, and the entire planet. JAG understands how the small things we do in our day-to-day work, can have an impact on an even bigger level. Philippa Attwood is making a difference on levels big and small. Her philanthropic work is reaching across the globe and touching businesses in many sectors. After years of working in the project management industry, and several eye-opening experiences, Philippa has found a way to connect her corporate industry knowledge with her passion for restoring nature. This month she is to be applauded for her courage to not only see something and say something but for doing something to make a difference.
FROM TEENAGER TO TRANSFORMATIVE GLOBAL WORKER
Philippa Attwood, known to some as Pippa, had no idea while growing up in the United Kingdom as a curious child who loved nature and drawing pictures of trees, that she would later ironically align with Tree-Nation, a reforestation organization. At age 16, Philippa started her career in project management. She was young, but she was a natural who absorbed everything she learned. Having an amazing mentor made a difference as she took Philippa under her wings and taught her everything she had a desire to learn. Philippa quickly became one of the youngest, well-respected professionals in the company as she developed a clear understanding of processes, timelines, deadlines, and profits.
Quote: “5 years of project management and strategic development experience enabled me to completely jump all normal rules and routes of traditional education. I actually didn’t go to college and get a bachelor’s degree, but what I did end up doing was receiving in 3-years, a master’s degree”
By age 21, Philippa’s knowledge and experience in the industry was so vast and impressive that a University in England accepted her into their master’s degree program based on fulfilling their 5-years of industry experience pre-requisite. The 5-years of working in project management and strategic development paid off for Philippa. As she attended school part-time working towards her master’s degree, she continued her work in the apparel industry, but her world was about to change as she began to travel.
Quote: “The trip to Kilimanjaro really opened me up energetically speaking because there was a big energetic shift within me” It made me want to see more and be more curious about what the world had to offer.
TAKING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
In 2011, as Philippa began developing a desire to travel, she took a trip to Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa. It was on this trip, that a visit to Kilimanjaro would forever change her perspective on life. As she stood at the top of the highest mountain in Africa, she was able to take in the vastness and majestic beauty of the planet, and it sparked a desire in her to want to see more of the world.
Philippa said, there was a big energetic shift that took place within and she knew it was time to put work on hold so she could find her purpose in life. Philippa wasted no time following her heart. She sold all her belongings, put her 10-year career on hold and she hit the road.
Quote: “Probably the most pivotal defining point in my travel, was my first time in the Amazon.”
Philippa traveled to many places, India, Europe, Mexico, and Argentina to name a few, but the one place that kept calling her name was the Amazon Rainforest in South America. She says the first visit was probably the most pivotal point for her. She entered by boat and went along the river for a week and she immediately fell in love with the forest and the energy it provided.
On her way out of the Amazon, while traveling along the roads, she witnessed something that would never leave her spirit. She saw the destruction of the rainforests and the natural habitats. On her right side, she saw the dense jungle, and on the left side, she couldn’t see the jungle at all. There were no trees and no life; it was completely dead. These visual stark contrasts woke up the curiosity Philippa had as a child. She could not understand it, nor was she willing to accept it. This experience sparked a fire within, and she gave birth to a new desire. She got involved with the local indigenous groups to learn more about their lifestyles and their needs. She wanted to help restore and support nature and
Amazonian inhabitants. Indigenous groups have been living in the Amazon for thousands of years, and they share the forest with other settlers seeking to tap into the Amazon's natural resources. But due to colonization of the land, many indigenous local groups were forced into uninhabitable lifestyles and lost control over their territory and resources.
CAN PLANTING TREES REALLY HELP CLIMATE CHANGE?
In 2015, Philippa began working on permaculture farms. These farms work to strategically design and maintain natural ecosystems that integrate with the people to provide their food, energy, and other necessities in a sustainable manner.
She later took a position with Greenpeace, an organization that uses peaceful protest to globally communicate and expose social and environmental infractions, then offers solutions that are educational, peaceful, and sustainable.
To make the biggest impact in her work, Philippa later joined forces with Tree-Nation, a non-profit organization that partners with individuals and organizations to plant trees on their behalf all around the world and offset their CO2 emissions.
Some have wondered if planting trees can really make a difference; does it really help slow down climate change? The truth is, trees absorb the carbon that contributes to the global heating of our planet, producing climate change. Trees and plants use energy from the sun to process photosynthesis. This process uses carbon dioxide and water to create energy, and trees feed themselves off that carbon that we are trying to absorb from our atmosphere. So, the answer is Yes; planting trees makes a difference. Today, Philippa continues her work with Tree-Nation where she is the Corporate Partnerships Manager, working with organizations on reforestation projects. Reforestation is a natural and intentional process of restocking existing forests that have been depleted. Currently, they have planted over 8 million trees worldwide in over 36 countries. Reforestation projects help to restore forests, which creates jobs and natural resources while supporting a healthier planet. Tree-Nation is bringing technological solutions to the problem of Deforestation, which is responsible for about 17% of all Climate Change emissions.
Quote: “I feel really blessed I get to work for such an incredible company.”
FASHION AND TREES WORKING TOGETHER
Fashion apparel companies are also partnering with Tree-Nation to join the mission through their Offset Product Services Program. Here’s how it works:
Companies join the Tree-Nation Offset Product Services Program
Companies establish which products will be a part of the program
Tree-nation builds the integration to the company’s website
For every product sold, a tree is planted on the customer's behalf
Customer's receive documentation and a certificate with information on the trees planted in their honor and the locations
The company receives the same information, but they also receive analytics on the full number of trees their organization has planted, as well as the amount of CO2 emissions the planted trees have absorbed. The organization is privy to the specific details on how they are making a difference by contributing to reforestation. This information creates excellent talking points for a healthy partnership between the organization and the customer, along with Tree-nation.
PHILIPPA AND TREE-NATION TOGETHER, ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE, ONE TREE AT A TIME
Written by Gina Moore-Herring
JAG Learn, Director
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