Like millions across the world, I’ve felt powerless in the face of our climate and ecological crisis. However, I now have a faith in humanity in the face of this vast and complex issue, reinforced last night at an event held in Bath. It was a ‘TED Initiative’ launch hosted by Creative Bath, with speakers Chris Anderson (Curator of TED Conferences) and Tom Rivett-Carnac (of Global Optimism). They spoke with optimism about the opportunities ahead and their new initiative called ‘Countdown’. Its purpose is to ‘turn the tide’ on climate change, which using their combined resources is bound to do great things.
Tom shared a very important fact that particularly connected with me. He said that the world needs to plant ONE TRILLION trees* by 2050, in order to sequester (or withdraw, to you and I) our global emissions. That’s right, the trees can save us. After all we have done to Mother Nature, she still gives us the most powerful tool to clean up our mess. Planting trees, combined with a vast reduction in our emissions, can and will save us from the impending doom caused by warming the Earth 2 degrees centigrade and even reverse the untold damage we’ve caused to our mothership.
So, how do we do achieve this? That’s one million x million trees… it’s a lot! But rather than let that feeling of powerlessness creep in again, there’s a simple way to get started and set an example for the rest of the world to follow suit. It is certainly one of the most impactful ways of making a difference, now.
Capitalism has been getting a lot of the blame for this mess, but business could also help us clear things up. So, to do our bit, we’ve applied to join a tree-planting scheme through Tree Sisters, pledging to offer a ‘buy one, get one tree’ for all bookings at our off-grid camps. At a cost to us of just 40p per tree – less than a bar of chocolate. Tree Sisters, in their own words ‘exists to elicit collective responsibility for planetary restoration’ alongside a social purpose of empowering women in the reforestation process. It is an incredible charity recommended to me by a business partner Canopy & Stars, who ambitiously aim to plant a million trees by 2025 through the same scheme. They even took an awesome leap of faith on the dreaded ‘Black Friday’ this year and redirected all their internet traffic to the Tree Sister’s website instead of encouraging mass overconsumption – what good eggs! But my point here is that we can all use our businesses and creativity to do the same. Each business is of course, very different, so you can create your own schemes e.g. donate a % of profit, calculate and offset your carbon emissions or even a cake sale to raise some tree-planting funds. If it’s not your business, ask the management or go straight to the top (and ask all your colleagues to do the same!)
There are also other great UK-based schemes including the Woodland Trust who are very active. However you want to do it, get involved any way you can. Then, shout about it from the treetops! Before we know it and, if this spreads around the world, that incomprehensible ‘trillion trees’ is entirely achievable. You never know – we might even see our politicians enforcing a ‘Tree Tax’ on businesses to offset their carbon emissions. But for now at least, we can get growing and make a real difference.
* this brings us back to the global tree numbers that existed in the 1970s. Its also approximately only half of the tree population that existed since the advent of agriculture.