Planting Trees to Mitigate Climate Change

Planting Trees to Mitigate Climate Change

I was surprised to learn that planting trees is among the most effective strategies for climate change mitigation. We know that trees renew our air by absorbing carbide dioxide and producing oxygen. The amount of oxygen produced by an acre of trees per year equals the amount consumed by 18 people annually. But how many trees do we have on the planet and how many do we need?

Thomas Crowther and his team (crowtherlab.com) started asking these questions and used big data and machine learning to understand the world better and explore ways to restore the planet. 

Thomas and his team used a unique approach to determine how many trees are on the planet. Instead of relying solely on satellite pictures, which do not tell you what is going on the ground, they leveraged tree counts by thousands of people that had been done on the ground for other projects. By leveraging big data computing they were able to combine the counts and satellite data to find repeatable correlations. This led them to creating a global model and the “Tree Density of Three Trillion Trees” which was published in 2015. This was astounding as from just satellite pictures the number of trees was thought to be 8 times less!

This video by nature.org is a stunning visualization of our tree coverage. 

Armed with this information the United Nations realized that they had not sized their tree campaign properly. So they changed their Billion Tree Campaign to the Trillion Tree Campaign (trilliontreecampaign.org). So far, 13.6 billion trees have been planted and more are planned. I invite you to go to their site and you can explore around the world the number of trees planted, current forests, and restoration opportunities.  

While trees are effective at absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, is there sufficient, suitable land to plant enough trees to make a significant difference?

According to the data analytics results from Thomas Crowther and team, “Excluding existing trees and agriculture and urban areas, we found that there is room for an extra 0.9 billion hectors of canopy cover, which would store 205 gigatonnes of carbon in an area that would naturally support woodlands and forests.”

Translation: It makes a huge difference and we should all conserve forests, plant trees, and support others who are planting trees. With the continued urbanization of the world, we have the opportunity to increase our forests in rural areas as the population reduces and to increase the greening of our cities around the world.  

Armed with a better understanding of our world, what actions can you take?

Join up with people who are working to protect existing forests around the world, find out about tree planting in your community, and support organizations that plant trees. To get started, look for a local organization such as treesatlanta.org and also global organizations such as 8billiontrees.com which are both doing great work.  

 Let us know about your tree efforts; no progress is too small. We would love to hear from you! 

 

Time to Give Trees the Love They Deserve

Time to Give Trees the Love They Deserve

In the book, The Secret Network of Nature, Peter Wahlleben brings knowledge and experience to deepen our understanding of how plants, animals, rivers, rocks, and weather systems cooperate in a balance that is essential to life.

From the fight for every ray of sunlight, through photosynthesis and through cooperation within the ecosystem, he brings us into the world he knows. He invites us to take time to really understand the energy and time it takes to become a mighty tree. Once you do, you will not be able to pass a tree without being amazed.

“A mature beech, for example, contains up to 13 tonnes of wood, which if burned, would release about 42 million kilo calories of energy.”2  For comparison, a person burns about 2,000 kilo calories a day. “This means that a mature beech stores enough solar energy to feed a person for forty years – if the human gut were able to digest wood.”3  “A forest ecosystem, then, is basically an enormous storehouse of energy.”4

Trees are the biggest plants on earth and are essential for life. Trees are a rich resource that give us oxygen, store carbon, provide shade, stabilize soil, support animal life, provide building materials, and some have medicinal properties.

Person Thanking Tree

Research shows that being around trees and green space lowers your blood pressure, slows your heart rate, and reduces stress.

It is time to love the trees and find ways to protect them and create new space for them. Individual efforts count; every person can make a difference.

Thankfully in Atlanta, we have additional ways to support our trees. Tree Atlanta (treeatalanta.org) is dedicated to protecting Atlanta’s urban forest through planting, conservation, and education. This gives people an additional way to support our trees. Founded in 1985, Trees Atlanta works tirelessly to address Atlanta’s tree loss, protect its forests, and create new green space. Empowered by volunteers, Trees Atlanta serves the metro Atlanta area, and has grown to become one of Atlanta’s most widely known and supported non-profit organizations.

The Secret Network of Nature

Recommended Reading:

The Secret Network of Nature

The Delicate Balance of All Living Things

By Peter Wohlleben

Copyright 2017

Reducing Plastic for Water’s Sake

Reducing Plastic for Water’s Sake

We all know intuitively that water and all the living things that depend on it are precious. At the same time, we create tremendous waste in the form of single-use plastic which harms the planet. Reducing our use of single-use plastic aligns our actions with protecting life and the planet.

Since 1950, 8.3 Million tonnes of plastic containers have been produced. Only 9% gets recycled and the rest ends up in our landfills and litters our land and waterways. Plastic is problematic in many ways. It degrades slowly, lightweight bags are eaten by livestock and wildlife, and plastic bags are among the most common types of marine litter. At our current pace oceans will have more plastic than fish by 2050.

Plastic bottles, straws, shopping bags, cups, and food packaging are pervasive in our society. But we can change. Switch to reusable options for liquid containers, shopping bags, straws, and more. It can be rewarding as you notice the dramatic reduction in waste. Begin with one reusable substitution, then add the second and so on.

Every reduction makes a difference for our planet. We hope you join us. One Planet Life.

The World of Dolphins

The World of Dolphins

Humans have had a kinship with dolphins since we met a long time ago. For example, excavations of ancient cities bring to light that on the island of Crete, the Minoan civilization lived in harmony with dolphins. I love standing on the beach watching their joyful jumping antics. Like us, dolphins are air-breathing, warm-blooded, and sentient (self-aware as they recognize themselves in the mirror). They live in complex social structures called pods, some boasting 1000’s of individuals. They give birth to live young and nurse the calves from 11 months to 2 years. Their brains are much larger than the human brain. They are great vocalists and each dolphin has a “signature whistle”.

Dolphins are at the top of the food chain and therefore are highly interconnected to the health and survival of the marine ecosystem. They have a right to full lives in their wild, natural environment. So the more we understand and protect dolphins the better off we all are. To learn more, go to dolphinprogject.com or read Voices in the Ocean by Susan Casey.  

World Bicycle Day, June 3rd

World Bicycle Day, June 3rd

June 3rd is World Bicycle Day. The bicycle has been in use for about two centuries and it is a reliable and sustainable means of transportation. Physical activity of moderate intensity such as biking or walking is good for your health and fun.

Some countries are known for a large number of people cycling. The Netherlands has the largest number of cyclists per capita in the world. Amsterdam, the capital of The Netherlands is known as a favorite place of biking as the cites have bicycle throughout and 50% of the commuting is done on bicycles. Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Finland, and China also have a high number of cyclists. Now with Covid-19 people in American cities are flocking to this basic form of mobility.

So on this World Bicycle Day, if you have a bike or can rent a bike treat yourself and go for a ride! If you do not have a bike then enjoy a walk. Take a moment to feel the breeze on your skin and enjoy it!