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Dr. Joyce Penfield Speaks About Planting Trees and Some Environmental and Spiritual Implications in Her Eye-Opening Book: “Before You Die, Plant a Tree: Practical Lessons for Peace Building From Cambodia”


‘Our lives— at any age— are like planting a tree.’

These are the words of Dr. Joyce Penfield, a down to earth peacebuilder who provides us with her fresh insights in her book, “Before You Die, Plant a Tree: Practical Lessons for Peace Building from Cambodia.”

How are our lives like planting a tree? And how does planting a tree make a difference? Dr. Penfield’s book reveals practical answers not only for these questions but also for many messy problems and conflicts that are found around the world. She gives us an understanding of some possible ways that communities can create a more peaceful world and how we can be change makers. The book’s title is derived from a Cambodian saying whose meaning goes farther and deeper than its literal words. By the end of the book, the reader will understand that the title is much more than an environmental reference, but also a spiritual and moral one. The book is calling each of us to leave behind a better world than we found it for future generations. Trees are used because trees provide food, shade, and other forms of life for we humans and other creatures of the earth. The book doesn’t stop there. It asks the reader to take a journey through 21st century, grassroots, peacebuilding efforts by partnering NGOs who are part of a post-genocidal generation in a land with one of the worst genocides historically.

In the book, Dr. Joyce Penfield shares the observations and lessons which she gained as a volunteer for Peace Bridges. She introduces each chapter with the words taken from her interview with everyday Cambodians who were impacted by violence—be it family violence, community violence, political violence, or land grabbing.

The author hopes that by reading this book, the reader will grasp the wisdom and practical lessons which can be applied to contexts in other parts of the world, including marginalized communities in urban contexts in America. After all, our fight for peace encompasses the whole world. Dr. Penfield’s work dares us to let our seedlings take root, and quite literally, take the time to plant a tree so that we can leave behind a better world for the future generation.

Get your copy at

“Before You Die, Plant a Tree: Practical Lessons for Peace Building from Cambodia”
Author: Joyce Penfield
Publisher: Stillwater River Publications
Publication date: 04/02/2021
Pages: 328
ISBN-13: 9781952521836

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 Dr. Joyce Penfield
 Theory Of Change
 Post-genocidal Generati
 Culture Of Peace

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