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Some are much older than all of us. Some prefer cooler temperatures; others only grow under exotic sunlight. But overall, trees have conquered the planet and constitute a silent but essential population.
📉 What people think
In a survey we performed, we asked participants to evaluate the effect of trees on climate. Interestingly, one group of respondents (53.5 percent) considers trees highly (and positively) influential.
However, the other half underestimates the impact of forests and tree planting on the planet. Some even believe that there is no effect associated with tree planting.
📈 Here are the facts
How can trees and forests affect the global climate?
- Trees release oxygen. The ability that interests humanity primarily is that of carbon dioxide (CO2) absorption, conservation, and oxygen release. Indeed, when we humans need oxygen to breathe and expel CO2, trees perform the opposite actions: absorb CO2 and release oxygen during the daytime.
- Tackle emissions. Trees help tackle the most common greenhouse gas emissions massively.
- There is no quick fix. In 2019, scientists had estimated around 1 billion hectares of forest would increase by 25 percent of the total forest area and improve the absorption capacity of 205.6 gigatonnes of CO2. This "trillion trees ambition" was later revised by ecopreneur Thomas Crowther who still claims that even if reforestation is still a potent tool for combating the climate crisis, it cannot be a replacement for decarbonization.
- Or one unique solution. Trees cannot be the only or primary political decision to tackle climate change.
- Many actions are needed. Planting must be complemented with other choices and changes in habits. Additionally, it would not be helpful to plant any kind of trees anywhere. There is a necessity to respect the ecosystem and plant species that belong to a landscape to avoid disturbing the balance and creating more trouble than good.
💡 Optimist's Edge
More trees mean more life. As simple as this is, you need to know what you are planting, when, where, and why. When you know this, you will be able to make a huge difference both on the local and global levels.
💡 If planted correctly, billions of new trees will significantly impact decarbonizing the atmosphere.
- Regulating effect. Planting trees will provide shadow and shelter when heat and the sun burn intensively. Trees also stand as blockades when the wind blows wild, diminishing the intensity and destruction potential.
- Trees are micro-worlds. From the tiniest insects to other species of plants, birds, or more giant animals, a forest always hosts a lot more than there is to see.
- Prevent disasters. In 2021, West Germany and East Belgium were hit by deadly and spectacular floods. One of the causes of the disaster was climate change. One reason was the extended macadamization of grounds prevented water from percolating and instead created temporary rivers on the roads. Forests and trees can significantly help absorb more water, prevent erosion, and avoid potential catastrophes.
- Cleanses water. The absorption of droplets through the leaves also helps purify water for all living creatures under trees' protection.
- How you plant matters. According to some recent research, it matters a lot where you plant the trees; for instance, growing on carbon-rich soil is inefficientgrowing on carbon-rich soil is inefficient, according to some recent research.
👇 How to get the Optimist's Edge
There are two obvious solutions to make this come true - plant more trees. And avoid deforestation.
❓ So, how do you get the most out of this knowledge?
- Plant with a plan. As we stated before, planting, despite being simple, requires a bit of care. If you have botanical knowledge, you can try to grow by yourself. But if you feel unsure, you can delegate this work via different methods. For instance, the program Plant A Tree Project proposes several ways you can finance the planting of a tree or submit a reforestation project. You can also offer a friend, for their birthday, the possibility to plant trees.
- Pick the best organization. As reminded by Thomas Crowther to the Guardian, solutions can be implemented by mere citizens outside of political decisions. For example, choosing another browser may, like Ecosia, which plants a tree every 45 searches. You can choose to work for one NGO or invest in owning a part of forest land and preserving forest land and keeping it. This will help solve the problem in two ways. It will increase the forest area and oppose deforestation. But fighting deforestation can be done more thoroughly. Greenpeace has listed many methods that can easily be localized to your regional situation.
- More trees mean a better future. The more trees grow, the better your future will be, with potentially purer air and cleaner water, more shade, and protection from natural disasters. And if truth be told, with trees, landscapes tend to be even more beautiful.
You now have an advantage because you have gained this knowledge before most others –