Entrepreneur who lost home offers to match donations to help Big Basin
Since the League joined with Sempervirens Fund last week to create the Big Basin Recovery Fund, so many generous people have stepped forward to help. Together, we’ve raised more than $100,000 to fund the park’s immediate needs, as well as help lay the groundwork for its reconstruction.
Generosity sometimes comes from unexpected places, and that brings us to Diego Saez-Gil. As an Argentinian entrepreneur and environmentalist, Saez-Gil was moved by the continued deforestation of the Amazon rainforests and the impact that was having on earth’s climate. Convinced that forests could be part of the climate solution, he co-founded Pachama, a company that uses data and carbon markets to help restore critically important forests around the world.
Saez-Gil has a connection to the CZU August Lightning Complex Fire that goes beyond his interest in climate and forests, though. That fire also destroyed his house in Boulder Creek. But rather than channel that loss into despair, he instead found hope in the story. As he writes in a recent Medium post: “It is meaningful that now my house is taken by the consequences of climate change, and that those forests will need restoring soon. You can’t make our mission more personal to me now. The consequences of climate change will not be an abstract idea in a distant future, but the biggest disaster of my life. This, of course, renews my determination to give my all, for the rest of my life, to work on this purpose.”
Saez-Gil’s hope has led to Pachama offer a $5,000 match to the Big Basin Recovery Fund, to inspire others to take an active role in rebuilding this wondrous park and the forest around it. For every dollar that people contribute, they’ll donate another dollar, up to $5,000.
The fires of the last two weeks have devastated a wide swath of California. More than 1.5 million acres have burned, exacting a tremendous toll on our communities in the form of lost homes and businesses, terrifying evacuations, and poor air quality across the region. As in many disasters, the loss can be hard to fully comprehend. But this time around, there was one loss that particularly galvanized people around the world, and that was the loss of Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
This is a park that greets more than a million visitors a year, providing a convenient gateway for the large communities of the Bay Area to the wonders of our iconic redwood forests. It’s our oldest state park, and the place where so many families’ memories were formed across generations. While we are cautiously optimistic about the park’s redwoods, the loss of the park infrastructure — the headquarters, campgrounds, museum, and other structures — has closed the park indefinitely.
This is a park that needs our help. Redwoods are a critical part of our identity as Californians, and an inspiration to the entire world at a time when we need it most. Their beauty and resilience represent hope in the future.