Two years ago, Alchemy got involved in a reforestation project in Madagascar. Since then, we have managed to plant 4724 trees and reforested 1.58 hectares that captured 109.5 tonnes of CO2. This is why.
Around 30% of our planet is covered in trees. Trees are majestic, help biodiversity, and can reduce climate change. But we’re cutting them down at an alarming rate. Since the start of human civilization, it’s estimated that we’ve cut down almost half the trees on Earth. So, what would happen if all of us - and that’s all 7.7 billion of us - planted a tree? Well, there might be 7.7 billion of us, but it’s estimated there are currently over 3 trillion trees on the planet. But we’d need to go further to make a really substantial difference to the environment. But we could. In fact, according to one estimate, if we planted 1.2 trillion trees, we’d cancel out a decade’s worth of CO2 emissions by the time the forests mature. So that’s more like 160 trees per person.
Trees take carbon dioxide out of the air and release oxygen - making them a natural source of carbon capture. Planting 1.2 trillion more trees could capture up to 100 gigatonnes of CO2, on top of the 400 gigatonnes captured by all our existing trees. Trees planted near the Equator can be especially beneficial, as they grow much faster in the warm, wet, and humid environment. Let’s imagine that happened. In as little as 20 or 30 years, entire woodlands and forests would be established. And in 100 years, these trees would grow and mature, safeguarding habitats that otherwise get cut down. We’d also see a rise in biodiversity as trees get older and start to decompose, because they, along with dead trees, offer a habitat to all kinds of fungi and insects. On top of this, we could see a positive impact on our mental health, as studies have shown trees can lower stress and make people happier. In Japan, they have a term for it - “forest bathing”.
But despite how much trees offer us, we’re getting rid of them at an alarming rate. Currently, it’s estimated that 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation - because when we cut down trees they emit carbon instead of absorbing it. And we're cutting down 15 billion trees a year - that's almost 500 a second, 29,000 a minute, So, although tree planting is a valuable part of tackling climate change, it won’t be effective unless we reduce the number we cut down in the first place and make big changes to the way we live. So, if everyone on the planet planted a single tree, it would be a powerful symbolic act. And if we kept on planting them and stopped cutting them down, it could go a long way to protecting and safeguarding our world.