I’d like to talk about trees today.
Tomorrow is World Environment Day and one of its aims for 2009 is to see seven billion planted around the world by the end of the year.
Some 3.1 billion have been planted – in 166 countries – already.
You can support the Billion Tree Campaign very easily, as the United Nations Environment Programme will plant a tree for everyone on Twitter who follows @UNEPandYou by 5 June, so please do merrily tweet and re-tweet about that.
Everyone knows that trees absorb carbon dioxide; over its lifetime of 100 years, each tree will inhale roughly one tonne. The average tree, in one year, exhales enough oxygen for a family of four for a year. So why are we cutting them down?
Tragically, some 20,000 hectares of forest are lost per day – that’s an area twice the size of Paris. Greenpeace this week published their ‘Slaughtering the Amazon’ report, which makes interesting reading for anyone looking to boycott the companies responsible for Brazil’s disappearing greenery. (When you consider that the Amazon is estimated to store between 80 and 120 billion tonnes of carbon, you can imagine how crucial it is to protect it from destruction.)
The worldwide loss of natural forest actually contributes more to global carbon emissions than the transport sector each year, so planting more trees and curbing deforestation is certainly a positive and cost-effective way of reducing emissions.
Furthermore, trees enhance the natural landscape, provide a habitat for local wildlife, help conserve both soil and water, protect coastal areas, stabilise sand dunes and control avalanches. They provide sources of fuel, food and medicine.
Writing as an unashamed tree-hugger, if you’re able to plant just one tree this year, please do; you won’t regret it. They’ll attract insects, which will in turn attract birds. They’ll shade you from the sun and shelter you from the wind and rain. They’ll beautify your garden and nourish you with their fruits. You can strip dead branches of their bark and combine with fallen leaves to further enhance the quality of your soil. You don’t even need much more than a container to plant one.
To coincide with World Environment Day, tomorrow marks the historic release of ‘HOME’. Have a look at the trailer and make a date to watch the film in its glorious entirety, free of charge, here. I’d love to know what you think of it.