Planting 1.2 trillion trees could reverse a decade of climate change. Here’s how to do it.

Ecologist Thomas Crowther and his colleagues at ETH Zurich, a Swiss university, have determined that planting 1.2 trillion trees would cancel out a decade of carbon emissions.

The researchers have also estimated that the planet has over 3 trillion trees, about seven times more than previously thought.

“There’s 400 gigatons [of CO2 stored] now in the 3 trillion trees,” Crowther said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, D.C. last February.


“If you were to scale that up by another trillion trees, that’s in the order of hundreds of giga-tons captured from the atmosphere – at least 10 years of anthropogenic emissions completely wiped out,” he continued.

The effects of climate change we’re currently experiencing have been caused by a sharp rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Trees are a natural weapon against climate change because they remove carbon dioxide from the air and convert it to oxygen.  

Crowther believes that trees are “our most powerful weapon in the fight against climate change”.

An analysis by Crowther and his team says there is enough room on the planet’s parks, forests, and abandoned land to plant the trees necessary for a climate recovery.

“We are not targeting urban or agricultural area, just degraded or abandoned lands, and it has the potential to tackle the two greatest challenges of our time – climate change and biodiversity loss,” said Crowther.

How the U.S. can (and should) help.

As the planet’s second worst carbon polluter, the U.S. bears a lot of responsibility for our current crisis. Plus, after President Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, we have some serious apologizing to do.

So why not get back in the good graces of the planet by planting a trillion trees on U.S. soil?

To provide some perspective on the scope of this project, here’s how 1.2 trillion trees could be planted.

via John Murphy / Flickr

Trump should pay his fair share after pulling out of the Paris Agreement. So, we can start by taking over his 17 golf courses (5 of which are overseas) and replacing the fairways with trees.

According to Tree Plantations tree-spacing calculator, 10,890 trees can be planted on an acre. The average golf course is around 200 acres, so that means Trump golf courses could provide enough land for 2,178,000 trees!

Next, the U.S. could take Wyoming and South Dakota, combine them into one state with a really awesome eco-friendly name like, “EcoTopia” or “Treesylvania,” and turn the entire new state into a tree plantation.

This new state would be over a hundred million acres and could fit around 1.2 trillion trees.

Boom! We push climate change back another ten years and the U.S. gets to be the country that solved the greatest crisis ever faced by humanity.

Heroes
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular