Treeplanting: As Unsustainable As Sustainability

A look back at how planting deforested and sustainability apologized for continued devastation

B. Lorraine Smith
8 min readFeb 23, 2023

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Me carrying trees to be planted in a farmer’s field in Southern Ontario, where we planted as a warm-up until the frost receded further north. In this image I didn’t yet know how bugs, weather, pesticide-soaked hair, and life with tree bags strapped to my hips for 14 hours a day would shield me from reality. It would take a few more decades steeping in corporate sustainability for that to become clear. (Unknown photographer/1991).

I am going to compare the experience of working as an industrial treeplanter in the 1990s in Northern Ontario, Canada with the ongoing unlearning of my experience in international corporate sustainability. I will be gentle

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B. Lorraine Smith

Former sustainability consultant replacing ESG with reality-based insights about corporate purpose and impact. https://www.blorrainesmith.com/