The Giving Trees: Fighting Climate Change and Strengthening Communities in Nicaragua

Photo by Oscar Leiva/Silverlight for CRS

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Erratic weather patterns and warming temperatures are diminishing farmers' ability to grow food for their families and earn income. The effects of climate change threaten the lives, independence and dignity of people around the world. The poorest among us are the ones most impacted.

Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si' that we must be good stewards and protect our planet. Our faith calls us to assist those whose lives are threatened by climate change.

Catholic Relief Services' ever-present mission is to eliminate global poverty. Much of our work is impacted by climate change. It's now more important than ever to do more than treat the symptoms of climate change; we must address the causes.


Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It has one of the worst rates of deforestation in the region.

An innovative project involving smallholder farmers aims to reduce poverty among participating farmers, and to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.



The Planting Prosperity project allows participants to offset their own carbon footprint—and support small-scale farmers—by paying the farmers to plant trees.

CRS is engaging rural Nicaraguans, who have an average employment income of $3/day, in planting 310,000 indigenous trees in land on or near their small farms. These trees will remove from the atmosphere approximately 67,800 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, over their full lives. Farmers will be paid annually for a 10-year period to maintain and nurture these trees, and additional investment will be made in the communities.

This program clearly addresses the twin problems of global poverty and climate change. At both the farm and community level, the Planting Prosperity project enhances income, builds diversified agricultural and financial resiliency, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

As part of the project, participants will meet the farmers working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.



Support for Planting Prosperity will not only impact small-scale farmers today; it will have a lasting impact on the world for generations to come.


Learn More About the Planting Prosperity Project >