A Prince and a Nobel Laureate Advocate Tree Planting
In addition to the UNEP, the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign is backed by Kenyan environmentalist and politicianWangari Maathai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004; Prince Albert II of Monaco; and the World Agroforestry Centre-ICRAF.
According to the UNEP, rehabilitating tens of millions of hectares of degraded land and reforesting the Earth is necessary to restore the productivity of soil and water resources, and more trees will restore lost habitat, preserve biodiversity, and help to mitigate the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thereby helping to slow or reduce global warming.
Billions of Trees Must Be Planted to Restore Lost Forests
To make up for the loss of trees over the past decade, 130 million hectares (or 1.3 million square kilometres), an area as large as Peru, would have to be reforested. Accomplishing that would mean planting about 14 billion trees every year for 10 years in a row, the equivalent of every person on Earth planting and caring for at least two seedlings annually.
“The Billion Tree Campaign is but an acorn, but it can also be practically and symbolically a significant expression of our common determination to make a difference in developing and developed countries alike,” Steiner said. “We have but a short time to avert serious climate change. We need action.
“We need to plant trees alongside other concrete community-minded actions and in doing so send a signal to the corridors of political power across the globe that the watching and waiting is over – that countering climate change can take root via one billion small but significant acts in our gardens, parks, countryside and rural areas,” he said.
Other actions people can take to help mitigate or reduce climate change include driving less, switching off lights in empty rooms, and turning off electrical appliances rather than leaving them on standby. For example, it is estimated that if everyone in the United Kingdom switched off TV sets and other appliances instead of leaving them on standby, it would save enough electricity to power close to 3 million homes for a year.
The idea for the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign was inspired by Wangari Maathai. When representatives of a corporate group in the United States told her they were planning to plant a million trees, she said: “That’s great, but what we really need is to plant a billion trees.”
Take the Pledge and Plant a Tree
The campaign encourages people and organizations around the world to enter pledges on aweb sitehosted by the UNEP. The campaign is open to everyone—concerned citizens, schools, community groups, nonprofit organizations, farmers, businesses, and local and national governments. A pledge can be anything from a single tree to 10 million trees. By buying a TreeTwist and dedicating a tree in the Caledonian Forest, you join the campaign
The campaign identifies four key areas for planting: degraded natural forests and wilderness areas; farms and rural landscapes; sustainably managed plantations; and urban environments, but it can also begin with a single tree in a back yard. Advice onchoosing and planting treesis available through the web site.