Inspiring Action

Inspiring Action

In May 2016, I joined a Tree Climbing Expedition led by David Milarch of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive in the giant sequoia and coast redwood groves of California. The people I met were an amazing collection of dedicated, hard-working, fun-loving, adventurous souls—a group of volunteers who climbed trees over 200 feet high to gather cuttings to make into new “old-growth” trees intended to help avert the disaster of climate change. It was truly a memorable week to spend with such a remarkable group of people.

It was also inspirational in a couple of crucial ways. The trip made me more resolute than ever in my own mission to build an organization that can help heal our planet, but I also came away with something perhaps even more critical to my vision: a greater understanding of the power of inspiring others.

Inspiring others by taking action is vital to the success of any attempt to make significant change in the world!

That’s exactly what the people on this expedition were doing—after being inspired by David, Jared, and Jake Milarch and their efforts to clone ancient champion trees. It’s a chain of inspiration, if you will, one that has been achieved by Archangel with very limited outside support or funding.

And they continue to inspire me.

Further inspiration

Looking for some inspiration of your own? Here are a few others making a difference in this area—and you can check out the Sources of Inspiration section of my expedition blog for more.

What if Wangari Maathai, the “Tree Mother of Africa” hadn’t started the Green Belt Movement to plant 30 million trees in Kenya? Then 9-year old Felix Finkbeiner wouldn’t have had the inspiration to come up with his idea to plant a million trees in Germany. Without Felix, there would have been no Plant-for-the-Planet organization. Each inspired actor in turn inspired others, who then took action themselves, which inspired still others, continuing the cycle.

Stop Talking Start Planting

Without the Plant-for-the-Planet initiative to plant trees for climate justice—led by children inspired by Felix—the United Nations would not have launched its Billion Tree Campaign, which has resulted in over 14 billion trees planted worldwide. This particular chain of inspiration resulted in a huge benefit to the planet.

What kind of inspiring action can each of us take?

While you are reflecting on that question for yourself, here are a few things I have been inspired to take action on since going on the 2016 expedition:

  • 2017—Started a project called Moving the Giants to Puget Sound, which distributed 350 Archangel coast redwood clones to 30 communities around the region.
  • 2018—Sought to find a home in the Northwest for 100 of Archangel’s “Living Archive” trees.  (Read the Seattle Times article.)
  • 2019—Started a nonprofit, PropagationNation, with two colleagues. Our mission is to foster the propagation and growth of millions of coast redwoods and giant sequoias for the Pacific Northwest.
  • 2020—Continued to distribute Archangel-grown redwoods and sequoias to people for planting in the Northwest.
  • Spring 2021—Purchased 2,870 redwood and sequoia seedlings from Weyerhaeuser and gave away up to 20 trees per person across Western Washington to people who responded to our ads. (Get more details here.)
  • Fall 2021 to Spring 2022—Started the 1000 REDWOODS Project with colleagues in Olympia to help 30 organizations and individuals plant small forests of redwoods to demonstrate that redwoods can indeed thrive in many parts of the Northwest.
  • Today (Fall 2022)—Renovated the PropagationNation website to educate and welcome those who want to fight climate change by supporting our mission: fostering the propagation of millions of redwoods and sequoias for the Northwest.

I invite you to share your ideas for taking action that inspires others—add a comment below or send an email to We’ll share them with a broader audience and create a community of action.

Philip Stielstra

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