It is estimated that since the advent of the agricultural revolution Earth lost approximately half of its trees, and according to a recent survey as reported by Nature (the magazine), earth currently has only about three trillion trees.
There are several organizations that are hard at work to plant back the three trillion trees that were lost due to deforestation, and together with the United Nations, billionaire philanthropists, and many environmental activists hopefully we can restore the forests and bring that back to something like the pre-agricultural revolution period. If that happens, together with a rapid shift to renewables, we could perhaps stop global warming and revert CO2 levels back to where they were a few thousand years ago.
Although efforts to restore lost forest are currently in place, we are also losing approximately 10 billion trees a year due to deforestation in different parts of the world. Major losses were noted in the Amazon and Indonesia, where forests are cut for either pasture lands or plantation of palm trees.
Want to help with planting three trillion trees?
Here are some organizations you can get involved with:
- Switch your search engine to www.ecosia.org – as of this writing, it has helped plant over 14 million trees. Ecosia is a social business which uses its profits generated from searches to plant trees around the world. It aims to plant 1 billion trees by 2020. Let’s hope it exceeds at that goal!
- Another of my favorites is Felix Finkbeiner and his Plant for the Planet Foundation, with a stated goal of planting one trillion trees, a true moonshot that (by conventional thinking and current methodologies) sounds like an audaciously impossible goal. Nevertheless, we’re living in the age of exponentials, so hopefully technology will help us achieve that goal.
- BioCarbon Engineering is another enterprise, this time founded by an ex-NASA engineer. It uses drones to plant trees and aims to plant 1 billion trees a year!
- Earthday.org’s Reforestation Project aims to plant 7.8 billion trees, one tree for every person on earth.
- Plantabillion.org hopes to plant a billion trees by 2025 in Brazil, China, and the US.
- Edenprojects.org is simple but effective. You donate, they plant trees. They claim to have planted over 140 million trees to date.
- The Million Tree Initiative wants to transform cities into forests.
- IKEA also has a “plant a tree” program, and has to date planted 1.9 million trees.
- Perhaps the most ambitious project to date is China’s Great Green Wall. To date, 66 billion trees were planted, since 1978 when the project started. The project’s end date is 2050. Looking forward to know what the final figure will be!
- India’s tree planting initiative, with the help of 1.5 million people this year*, planted 66 million trees in 12 hours. Last year, they managed to plant 50 million trees. Impressive! (*1.5 million is the population of a moderately sized city — can you imagine all the citizens of a city that size working towards the same goal?)
To aid with tree planting initiatives, the Land Life Company has patented the “Cocoon” method of tree planting and claims to be cheaper than traditional tree planting methods with a very high survival rate of 80–95%.
Seeing such initiatives gives me hope in the future of humanity. Great things can be achieved if we collectively work towards the same goal!
I am hopeful that by the time these trees reach maturity, approximately 20–30 years, we would have exceeded Mother Nature in extracting carbon from the atmosphere and using advanced technologies to turn carbon into useful products, perhaps even building large structures or even cities out of carbon.
If you know any other great organizations that are planting trees, leave a comment below.