Tree planting and its amazing legacy

Our guest contributor this month is Amelia Womack, the Deputy Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales since September 2014, with a short thought piece.

Sometimes it feels like there is nothing more humble that a tree, when it’s a natural playground as you climbed trees as a child, that friendly protector as they shield us from the sun or even as a thing of beauty in our parks and gardens.

Their existence is something we take for granted as we whirl through our busy lives. In reality we know deep down there is nothing humble about trees but while their existence supports life as we know it, we have already destroyed 80% of the earth’s forests.

For too long we allowed the destruction of our rainforests and countryside through deforestation, but many countries, businesses and individuals are working to reverse humanity’s impacts by introducing ambitious tree planting schemes.

Although we also need to put pressure on ensuring that we protect habitats around the world, tree planting is a powerful step in addressing an ecological deficit that humanity has created.

Not only do our trees produce the very air we breathe with mature trees produce enough oxygen each year for 18 people, but they are vital to combat the climate and ecological emergency that we currently face.

Every tree planted works to absorb 48lbs of CO2 each year meaning that in one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the same amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles. Their complex root structures are preventing soil erosion while supporting diverse habitats attracting species from fungus and algae to birds and insects. They also work to help protect us from the unpredictable effects of a changing climate as they capture rainwater reducing the risk of natural disasters like floods and landslides.

Amelia about to plant a tree

I often reflect on those time travel films that we have all seen where the main character goes back in time and changes a tiny details about their timeline and it changes the world as they know it. Since we can’t travel back in time, I think it’s incredible to think of the small actions that we can take that will help change the future. Tree planting that will stand for generation after generation working to keep this planet going is just one small step to achieving that.

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