As Realtors®, we tend to think locally. So whether we’re urging the public to get involved in the election process or even recommending a new restaurant to clients, Realtors think about our own communities because that’s where we live and work. But sometimes we need to zoom out to get a bigger picture, and when I take a step back, I’m very encouraged with what our National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is doing on a grand scale.
You might not know it, but the National Association of Realtors® is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. That’s a lot of Realtors, and with this many people, we can make a real impact across the country.
One example is a partnership just announced between NAR and the National Forest Foundation, which will result in 1.575 million trees being planted across the United States. The initiative, which will plant at least one tree for each Realtor® by the end of 2025, was spearheaded by NAR’s 2022 President Leslie Rouda Smith.
What led Realtors to be involved in such an effort? President Smith explains. “As part of our association’s comprehensive sustainability and resilience plan, NAR is leading by example, like we always do,” said Smith, who is a Realtor from Plano, Texas. “We’re helping to foster more vibrant communities by increasing the number of trees around us, delivering cleaner air, enhancing stormwater mitigation and encouraging biodiversity in ecosystems. We are thrilled to partner with the National Forest Foundation as part of our ongoing efforts to support the millions of consumers and communities that we, as Realtors, serve every day.”
Sure, all these trees will help beautify areas across the country, but what’s the environmental impact? According to EPA calculations, planting 1.575 million trees reduces 750,000 metric tons of carbon in the atmosphere. This is equivalent to 145,931 homes’ electricity use for one year or the annual operation of over 160,000 gas-powered passenger vehicles.
As to where these 1.575 million trees will be planted, the decision will be made based on repopulation needs in areas affected by events like wildfires, drought or deforestation. NFF only plants native, ecologically appropriate trees and targets support to areas that need the most help.
“We are excited to partner with NAR to expand our tree planting efforts,” said Mary Mitsos, President and CEO at the National Forest Foundation. “The future of our national forests depends on partnerships like this one to sustain natural ecosystems, foster resilient forests and promote healthy communities. Each contributing dollar means one more tree planted to help to mitigate wildfires, offset carbon footprint, combat climate change and maintain 193 million acres of National Forests. We’re grateful to NAR for engaging with us on this critical initiative and look forward to what we can accomplish by 2025.”
For me, looking at the big picture also causes a very interesting reaction; it causes me to examine my own area even closer. In fact, our association recently applied for a sustainability grant from NAR and aim in February 2023 to host a sustainability summit to highlight local organizations that have such programs. If the grant is approved, we will announce more details about a mini tradeshow and speakers featuring ways we each can take to protect natural community assets.
Seeing the big picture makes me work even harder for my community everyday to make it better, and this mindset is shared by more than 1.5 Realtors across our nation. Realtors live and serve their communities everyday. That’s Who We R®.