In 1988, I gave up my job and embarked on a mission to preserve the natural environment. Since that time, with a little help from a lot of friends, I`ve led expeditions to the Amazon, and walked more than 47,000 kilometers through 39 countries, speaking to millions of people, and planting of a lot of trees. In 1994, prior to my walk to Sarajevo, where I planted a tree in the middle of that cities three year siege, I was asked to become an Ambassador to the ‘We The People’s Initiative’, a United Nation’s Peace Messenger Initiative.
Since 2000 I have been on a ten year walking mission, planting trees wherever I go for people killed at war. In 2006 I walked through China, Korea and Japan on ‘The Earthday Friendship Walk’ with my wife, Konomi Kikuchi, the co-author of the book, `The Man Who Plants Trees, Paul Coleman, A 44000km Walk` which was recently published in Japan.
The ‘Earthday Friendship Walk’ began on January 15th from the Great Wall of China and was noted by the International Earthday Netwrok as the event that began the Earthday Celebrations of 2006. The walk was recieved in Beijing when members of the Olympics Communtiy and Committee received us with a huge press conference and invited us to assist them in the efforts to make the 2008 Beijing Olympics ‘Green’. From September 21st 2007 to August 1st 2008 Konomi and I responded to the request to help ‘Green The Olympics’ by walking from Hong Kong to Beijing. This 3140km walk ‘Greening The Olympics, Greening The Earth’ Walk received considerable local, national and international attention and helped to spread the environmental message and the concept of a ‘Green Olympics’ throughout China. However, due to China’s political sensitivities, the scrutiny of events leading up to the games by the international media and China’s increasingly heavy handed approach to citizens engaged in environmental activities, the walk was abruptly cut short 140kms before it’s destination, the opening ceremony of the games.
In August 2008 a Korean version of my autobiography, translated by Mr. Ma, the Director of Wetland Preservation for the Korean Federation of Environmental Movements (KFEM) was released by Gmulko Publishing.
Thanks to the support of countless individuals around the planet I have been honoured by many nations and have have received several international awards. Including the Hearts of Humanit Award (2004), the ‘Shining World Leadership Award'(2008) and in November will soon receive a special Earth Champions Award to be presented in Hong Kong. I was also chosen to be one of 100 Earth Lovers representing the Earth at EXPO 2005.
I`ve given well over 3000 speaking engagements and recently narrated, for Sony Corporation, the movie ‘Our Planet’ which was produced for the premeiere of the world’s largest movie screen at EXPO 2005.
Since 1994 I have been serving as Advisor and Ambassador to Pathways To Peace International Secretariat to the ‘Culture of Peace’ United Nations Peace Messenger Initiative. A major focus of the Initiative is the International Day of Peace (September 21st)
Since 2007 I have been serving as Charity Ambassador to The Living Rainforest. a new breed of public education institution that is passionately committed to telling the story of humanity in nature.
August 2008: In a ceremony in Hong Kong I was chosen to represent the Earth Champions as Ambassador.The Earth Champions Organisation discovers and awards people, organisations, companies and governments, the title Earth Champions, for doing exemplary work to make the world a better place.
September 2008: Became the President of The Wonderful World tree Planting Festival
Whats Next? 2009
CELEBRATION EARTH – SIX MONTH CELEBRATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
Currently I am on the Island of Okinawa, planning for a huge celebration of next years International Day of Peace. Okinawa, the former Kingdom of Ryukyu had a long history of peace, until it was invaded and incoorporated into Japan, which led to massive trauma and tragedy when the Japanese authorities decided to sacrifce the islands in an all out effot to stop the progression of the Allied troops in the final days of WW2. Consequently 230,000 people died, a great proportion of them non combative Okinawa citizens. On April 1st 2009 (the 400th year of the Japanese invasion) an Earth Celebration Tree Planting Ceremony will usher in a Peace Symposium. These events will be the begiining of six months of peace and earth related activities which will stretch through the islands and Japan and culminate on September 21st, The International Day of Peace.
THE WONDERFUL WORLD TREE PLANTING FESTIVAL
In April 2008 I was invited to help lead a group of 100 Japanese volunteers visiting Inner Mongolia to plant 130,000 trees in the deserts. The event, which utilised local people was a great success, so with the Japanese organisers we decided to create a new entity, The Wonderful World Tree Planting Festival, to expand our activities. I serve in the capacity of President. Our mission is to reforest lands that have been deforested or are suffering from the results of Global Warming. Next year we will bring volunteers to plant trees in Inner Mongolia and South Africa. These trees will be planted with the local people and activities will be funded by the volunteers and our One Yen Campaign.
Paul Coleman, Earthwalker