Plant a Tree for the Planet

4 minutes

Help Reverse Climate Change

Plant A Tree

The United Nations has launched a plan to plant one billion trees in a single year. The initiative is called “Plant for the Planet”.  It is about getting individuals, communities and indeed, countries, to make a cumulative difference to reduce climate change and ensure that the rich natural habitat that trees provide is protected. Climate change and loss of bio-diversity are the great environmental challenges of this century.

This initiative is about empowering people to act locally and impact globally.  It believes that change is not just confined to large boardrooms.  Discussions between states are one aspect but people can take charge of fighting climate change by planting a tree.

The campaign has brought on board some large hitters to promote it, including, Prince Albert of Monaco, Wangari Maathai of Kenya – 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner and the World Agroforestry Centre. Maathai was enthused by the campaign for fighting one of the leading causes of poverty in Africa, the loss of productive farmland through desertification and depletion of minerals in the soil.

Many similar charities across the world are fighting the degradation of land and communities by engaging in planting of trees. One prominent example that the UN looked at was the “Trees for Tibet” program.  China has cut down 50% of Tibet’s trees, resulting in the deserts of Tibet growing by 50% in the last 35 years. “Trees for Tibet” have planted 800,000 trees to date, driving away the desert and reclaiming grass land from the sands.

Some people decide to buy a tree from them as a Memorial Tree. It’s about different people taking a stance and having a positive impact on their community and planet.

The scale of deforestation over the last 15 years has been so great that 140 million hectares would have to be planted to reverse the devastation.  That is an area of 1.4 million Sq. Kilometres, equal to 1/7th of the United States. 15 billion trees would have to be planted every year for 10 years. This would mean that everyone on the planet would have to plant 2 trees. Quite a body of work just to get back to where we were in the 80’s.

In America, an area the size of Connecticut is planted each year, which is about 2.5mn acres in size. It really hasn’t changed much since the 20’s and records began. It still represents a lot of trees though. Tree nurseries in America grow 1.5bn trees each year, for planting across the country.  Most of these trees are grown in the South, with Georgia’s mild climate producing 240mn trees per year.

While the size of the task is immense, it also shows that the production capacity is there. The will and the intent to plant is where we are being let down. In America, the Government only plants 13% of the trees that are set each year, and yet, it is the largest land holder.

The Government has stepped in before, in the 30’s during the great depression.  Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corp engaged in a 7 year tree planting blitz that gave us many of our most well know local forests. During the time of the CCC, volunteers planted nearly 3 billion trees to help reforest America.  They constructed more than 800 parks nationwide and upgraded most state parks, updated forest fire fighting methods, and built a network of service buildings and public roadways in remote areas. At a time of 25% unemployment, 300k young men were able to work for the benefit of all.

While planting trees is one of the most lasting actions that you can take, there are many other ways that you can help mitigate climate change. These can include driving less, switching off lights in empty rooms and turning off appliances rather than putting them on standby. It is estimated that if everyone in America, turned off their computer while not in use, that it would save the energy of one Nuclear power plant. That is a significant financial and environmental saving.

You can make a difference.  Pledge to set one tree each year, for the rest of your life. Grow seedlings and give them as gifts to your friends.

Be the change that you want to see in the world.

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