As far as problems go, they don't come much larger than the threats posed by global climate change. And yet, instead of engaging in a meaningful debate about the best solution to the problem, we seem to be stuck in a cycle where many remain resistant to the mere idea of tackling the issues we face. Why is it that? Sociologists have an answer to this conundrum that makes perfect sense. Because the problem is so monumental, and the potential devastation too frightening, it almost seems inevitable, as something impossible to fix. But, what if the solution is much simpler than we're expecting? Not only simple but completely doable? And, icing on the cake, what if the fix was something that pretty much everyone views as positive?
In mid-February, a Swiss researcher named Thomas Crowther presented his research findings at the Science Transcending Boundaries Conference, this year's Annual Meeting of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). Until very recently, the prevailing wisdom was that a widescale adoption of wind turbines and a mass conversion of diets from meat-eating to vegetarian would have the greatest impacts on the planet's environment. But after Dr. Crowther presented the results of his amazing research project, we now know that a worldwide tree-planting "spree" would have the greatest impact on our planet's environment. That's right, simply by increasing the number of trees worldwide from three trillion to four trillion, we could cancel out more than a decade of greenhouse emissions right away! According to Crowther, trees should now be viewed as “our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change."
Could restoring the health of our planet be as simple as planting one trillion trees? The longer answer is that a combination of ending destructive farming practices and replenishing our planet's biodiversity through forestation really could be the turning point in our ecological crisis. In a very real sense, planting seedling trees is the first step in a proactive solution to most of our climate problems. On the micro-level, we can help lift people out of poverty, while on the macro-level, we could make great strides towards reversing the proliferation of carbon in the atmosphere.
As part of our Evergreen commitment (Life’s Abundance has been certified as an Evergreen company by the Tugboat Institute), we make decisions based not just on profit, but on long-term sustainability and on being a good steward of the environment. When we launched our line of premium skin-care products, we wanted to do something above and beyond our typical commitment to creating a better world. A reflection of our natural philosophy, we entered into a partnership with Trees for the Future. Every time a customer purchases one of our skin-care products, we make a corresponding commitment to further fund this green initiative by planting a tree.
Trees for the Future (TREES) is an international development non-profit that meets a triple bottom line through their tree-planting mission: poverty alleviation, hunger eradication and healing the environment. In addition to planting trees, they train farmers to manage "forest gardens" in order to sustainably feed their families and raise their incomes by as much as four times! And because they utilize sophisticated algorithms and tracking software, our trees are planted are used in areas where they can have the greatest impact. At present, they have trained at-risk peoples in six countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda. Since they were founded in 1989, TREES has planted over 150 million trees!
According to John Leary, executive director of TREES, "Our planet loses 50 soccer fields worth of trees every minute, and much of this deforestation is occurring in the developing tropics where hundreds of millions of families depend on trees for their survival. Once the trees are cleared, most subsistence farmers in the developing world use destructive farming techniques – including both slash-and-burn and modern agriculture – that inhibit the growth of anything but one or a few temporary crops." Leary's belief is that restoring agricultural lands with a diverse combination of trees and crops is the answer to a whole host of pressing global problems, including: desertification; diminishing access to potable water; hunger and poverty; forced migrations; and, of course, climate change itself.
As a corporate sponsor, you can visit our very own TREES web page to view our current count of tree seedlings planted to date. So far, we've planted an amazing 46,000 trees! To put our participation in perspective, if every registered business in the US were to plant the same number of trees, the trillion number goal would be met with an extra 288 billion on top of it!
The thing that stands out for most people is the idea of planting trees is appealing. Pretty much everyone who has ever planted a tree thinks of it as a positive experience. Anyone can do it. They improve urban environments. They absorb carbon dioxide and generate oxygen. As far as ecosystems go, planting more trees is always a good thing.
Best of all, it would appear people are enthusiastic about Crowther's bold proposal. The UN has already changed the name of their tree-planting initiative to the Trillion Tree Campaign!
So, if you've ever felt like you can't make a difference, now you know you can! We encourage all our readers to visit trees.org and trilliontreecampaign.org and find out more about these initiatives. And, if you're looking for something a little more local, make planting tree seedlings into a regular fun family outing.
For more on the science and the solution, check out these informative links!