HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – In his outdoor laboratory, University of Hawaii at Manoa associate professor Camilo Mora smiles as he scoops up a handful of seeds he collected from native trees.

“This one here is the koa seeds. We have about 150,000 seeds of this guy. Look at this! To me, this is like gold,” he said.

The seeds will eventually go into the ground as part of Mora’s mission to plant one million trees a year in his battle against climate change.

“That is what drives me,” he said. “We can make Hawaii go into the history books as the first place in the world that managed to become carbon neutral.”

The idea came from his teenage daughter, Asryelle.

“He was talking to me about how bad climate change when I was about 7. I said, ‘Let’s plant trees.’ A couple days later he saw this article about how planting trees would be a good way to combat climate change. And here we are,” she said.