A Healthy Lung of the Earth

How do we improve the sensibility, especially among young people, to think about the forests of our planet as our lung, since the atmosphere of the earth has no artificial frontiers like national borders? From a country, where the awareness for reforestation is very great, we want to bring the Austrian way of a “Forest-Farmer’s-Mindset” of planning economic success for 2 or 3 generations ahead into as many classrooms as possible.
  • Raise Awareness

    In order to raise awareness, our worldwide webinars would concentrate on making young people feel like they are the “owners” of the forests in their countries as much as possible by raising a sense of responsibility. Controlled growth rather than limitations, we want to explain how the responsible and competent use of wood can improve economic activities in the long run, if we always take care of reforestation in the process.

    So, in a nutshell, economic development and environmental protection should be friends and not enemies…--In 2024, we are proud of our achievements with the most modern agricultural technologies in Austria and centuries-old know-how, and we would like to exchange insights and learn from others countries as well to move forward together!

  • Our Mission

    We believe that every society and every country of the world has valuable achievements that can be shared to improve our lives. But especially young people have to look closely at the good things and expand them in order to improve the bad things that we also have, because the world is not perfect, but with a positive spirit, we can make it better step-by-step. If you only complain about the glass half-empty instead of seeing it also half-full, how can we really enjoy life?

    In Austria, for centuries farmers are thinking in generations to plant trees for their grandchildren to harvest, because their grandparents have done the same for them, but the action of planting the tree gives no quick return on investment. We are afraid this “forest-farmer-mindset“ can easily be lost, if we are not careful to remember how valuable it is in every aspect of our lives: Furthermore, reforestation seems to be a symbolic act for planting something that is of long-term value for everybody, because it produces oxygen for all people on earth to breathe in a common atmosphere, and maybe such powerful symbols are necessary to BeChangeMaker.

  • Changemaker for global reforestation

    I want to be changemaker for global reforestation because it is important for the future of my children and grandchildren. We all know that we need forests for a healthy climate and to breathe good oxygen, but somehow international rules and regulations are not enough to stop the cutting of so many trees without reforestation in many places of the world.

    So, maybe prohibitions and sanctions alone are not enough, but we have to look for economic solutions, and maybe the best way is to raise more awareness among all countries of the world by teaching in the schools the value of “Ecological Social Market Economy”?
    Young people should already understand the economic value of trees for their countries, and then hopefully everybody in that society will understand that what is good for the environment can also be good for the economy, because trees can be used for many generations again, if you do not act only on short-term profits (e.g. cut tropical rain forest trees and sell them without reforestation!), but rather think of the long-term economic development, so this is an economical and educational issue that we want to address in this project, and I feel it is important enough for me as an economics student to participate in this effort.”

    Xenia Kutschera

    22 years old and a student of economics and marketing at Vienna Economics University


    Using AI to analyze environmental impacts

    I believe that Austria has managed reforestation quite well. However, I've heard that in many developing countries, the situation is dire. Trees are often cut down excessively for quick short-term profit, and both local and international politicians fail to prioritize reforestation or consider future generations. I am studying information technology and computer science and believe I can contribute by helping to accurately analyze the environmental impacts of these practices, possibly using modern AI technology.

    Why do I think computer scientists can be helpful? For example, in Austria, a young professor at the University of Technology in Graz, Sonja Wogrin, employs innovative computational methods to study impacts in the energy sector. I hope to do something similar in the future, focusing on the global effects of deforestation on our earth’s atmosphere.

    Martin Miedl

    21 years old and a student at the Technical University of Vienna


    Stop cutting forest without reforstations

    I find the subject of reforestation, fascinating, because worldwide laws and rules to prevent the destruction of forest are not being followed by many countries. Why is this so? Why are we powerless to stop criminal acts of cutting forest without reforestations that hurt the local people economically for many generations?

    Additionally, it obviously hurts the whole world because we have less oxygen produced in the atmosphere of the earth which concerns all people everywhere, because we all breathe the same air without borders! So, studying economic law I don’t just want to work with companies who increase short-term profits, but I also want to think how economic laws can be used wisely and effectively to improve the world, and that’s how I want to BeChangemaker”.

    Barbara Hofer

    22 years old and a student of economic law at Vienna Economics University


    Eco-Social Market Economy

    My focus is environmental and agricultural sciences and I also have a degree in technical engineering. During my studies, I started working for the European parliament in Brussels. Up till now, I am carrying on, a job in politics in Vienna. So, I was glad to study about the positive results of our Austrian system of „Eco-Social Market Economy“ (“Öko-Soziale Marktwirtschaft“), for the long-term welfare of our Austrian society. About 40 years ago, a very responsibly thinking Austrian agricultural scientist and politician, Dr. Josef Riegler, decided to combine the environmental issues together with the economic necessities for a modern society in such a way as not to fight each other, but rather to find common interests. When Riegler started his efforts, most people argued that “we cannot all think like farmers! This only concerns agriculture!”— But he set out to convince people in Austria that in fact we should all think like farmers with the mindset of many generations, because the ecological damage of bad air from factories for examples hurts our grandchildren just as much as chopping down all trees without reforestation!

    So, I believe that this project might help us to bring this mindset of our Austrian agricultural and economic insights into the world in order to improve awareness, especially among young people of how important it is to think about the effects on the long-term well-being of our grandchildren. Especially concerning agricultural technologies, Austria has been producing very innovative industrial products in the past few decades along with new scientific methods making soil more fertile even under very difficult conditions, so I really believe that we can use this Know-how to help improve other parts of the world. As written on the oekosozial.at website: “At the center of all considerations is the human being: A free, self-responsible and creative person who also takes responsibility for the well-being of others. Who acts regionally and thinks globally.”

    Dealing professionally with public policy issues for the past few years, I know how difficult it is to convince people in the economic and political world that long-term profits are just as important as short-term profits, so I’m glad that I have economics students in this team effort, and also an expert on modern computation systems to get the facts straight, and maybe together we can convince international foundations and the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)-departments of international companies to finance this effort to improve reforestation worldwide? We just need to find a way to change this terrible development of cutting trees down indiscriminately in many parts of the world, but we can try to make a very serious effort to change this mindset and be BeChangemaker!

    Hans-Jörg Hager

    34 years old and a former student of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna

  • Motivation

    Xenia Kutschera: As a student at the Vienna Economics University my new university campus coincidentally is located exactly in the same place where my great-great-great-grandfather worked as one of the managers to build and organize the World’s Fair of 1873 in a highly forested region of Vienna called the “Prater”. As you can see from our one-minute video, the Economics University is right next to the forest of the Prater, which today is in total still 6 km² of forest very close to the city center of Vienna (2 million inhabitants). So, we think it is quite good to use this as an example of how to combine urban development and conservation of forests in a quite harmonic way of productive co-existence.

    Also, I’d like to use a family Coat of Arms as a symbol for this BeChangeMaker project, because it was given to my forefather in 1874 like a “thank you medal”, and he chose a small young oak tree in the middle of the Coat of Arms and he wrote in 1874: “I chose the young oak tree in order for my descendants to create a strong large tree for many generations to come!” — So, this seems quite fitting for a global reforestation project.