Study Buddy (Explorer): Hong Kong teen works with tree-planting company to fight climate change, promote greener world

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  • Check your reading comprehension using the questions below or in the linked Kahoot! game
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EcoMatcher’s CEO Bas Fransen (left) and 13-year-old Elodie Lambotte, who is holding her puppet Jack, have created a video about a dream for a world with clean air. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Content provided by the British Council

Read the following text and answer questions 1-9 below:

[1] Hong Kong student Elodie Lambotte is passionate about protecting the environment, and she has an entertaining way of getting her green message across. “This is Jack,” said the 13-year-old, pulling out a hairy orange orangutan puppet from her bag. “I dream of a world where forests are not shrinking but are growing,” Jack “said”. Elodie, who is originally from Belgium, is also passionate about ventriloquism.

[2] The orangutan is an apt choice. Found only in the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo, the great apes are classified as critically endangered. The biggest threats to their existence include habitat loss and the illegal wildlife trade.

[3] Elodie wanted to show how today’s youth dream of a greener future. So she – together with her Jack – approached Hong Kong-based firm EcoMatcher with a video message. She mentioned how she loved EcoMatcher, which plants trees worldwide for companies, and wanted to offer support. “I made the video because I want leaders of companies to get inspired and, most importantly, to take action,” she explained.

[4] EcoMatcher allows people to plant, gift and track trees virtually on its digital platform. When its CEO, Bas Fransen, saw Elodie’s video, he reached out, and together they created “I Have a Dream”. It is a video where Elodie – and Jack – talk about a world “with clean and fresh air to breathe, and trash-free beaches”. A world, she said, where she could wake to the sound of nature.

[5] “As a social enterprise in the sustainability space, we have a responsibility to give Elodie and her peers an opportunity to be part of the solution ... to climate change,” he said.

[6] EcoMatcher is also working to be part of the solution. “We are two years into our journey and have planted over half a million trees through our partnerships with ... tree-planting organisations around the world,” said Fransen. Trees were vital, he said, as forests could draw out pollutants and carbon from the air, supply life-giving oxygen and help lower global temperatures.

[7] A key element of its business, Fransen said, was to bring engagement with tree planting. “Through our platform, we know of every tree that is planted, whether it’s in Peru or in Uganda or in Indonesia,” he said. EcoMatcher is active in 13 countries. “We know, for example, the precise location, the date of planting, the species, who the farmer is and its carbon sequestration.”

[8] Reforestation is also vital to millions of people who rely on forests for agriculture, medicine and shelter. Tree planting empowers local communities by restoring land that supports income-generating farming. “Through tree planting, we’re also helping to elevate people’s lives,” Fransen said.

[9] There are good reasons for companies to integrate tree planting into their businesses and gift a tree instead of plastic pens, USB sticks or unwanted plastic knick-knacks that often end up in landfills. It saves money because the price of planting a tree through EcoMatcher is about the same as buying a cappuccino. It also helps companies reach their corporate social responsibility goals while building relationships with employees and customers.
Source: South China Morning Post, January 15

In Guatemala, EcoMatcher works with the Alliance for International Reforestation to protect water sources and provide nutritious crops. Photo: EcoMatcher


Play a Kahoot! game about this story as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:

1. List two of Elodie’s passions that were mentioned in paragraph 1. (2 marks)

2. According to paragraph 2, what threatens the orangutans’ existence? (2 marks)

3. Which sentence best describes “to take action” in paragraph 3?
A. act in a video
B. do something to deal with a problem
C. wait for someone to do something
D. do nothing about something important

4. According to paragraph 4, what is Elodie’s dream?
A. to live in a world with clean and fresh air
B. that there will no longer be rubbish left on beaches
C. to wake up to the sound of nature
D. all of the above

5. Read paragraphs 5 and 6 and decide whether the following statements about EcoMatcher are True, False or Not Given.
(i) EcoMatcher encourages individuals to take action against climate change.
(ii) The company’s CEO, Fransen, believes trees are part of the solution to climate change.
(iii) The company hopes to plant another half a million trees in 2022.
(iv) It partners with other businesses to plant trees only in certain parts of Asia.

6. Find a word in paragraph 6 that means “necessary in order for something to happen”.

7. According to paragraph 7, what information is not available on EcoMatcher’s platform about the trees planted by the company?
A. where they are planted
B. how old they are
C. how much oxygen they release
D. their species

8. List two ways in which people are reliant on reforestation according to paragraph 8. (2 marks)

9. What does EcoMatcher encourage companies to give instead of plastic gifts, and why? (2 marks)

The EcoMatcher app has a host of functions that allows users to track a tree’s progress. Photo: EcoMatcher


1. ventriloquism and protecting the environment
2. habitat loss and illegal wildlife trade
3. B
4. D
5. (i) T; (ii) T; (iii) NG; (iv) F
6. vital
7. C
8. agriculture / medicine / shelter (any 2)
9. EcoMatcher encourages companies to gift trees because they won’t just end up in landfills / because planting one tree is about the same price as a cappuccino / because this can help them reach their corporate social responsibility goals while building relationships with employees and customers (any 1)

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