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  • Peter James

It's About So Much More Than Just Planting Trees

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Here is the transcript for this video blog if you prefer to read:

So, I ran into a good friend of mine the other day, and we were having a conversation and the Trillion Trees Campaign came up and it became obvious to me talking to them that despite how many times we've talked about the campaign, they actually didn't understand what the campaign really is all about. Their perception was that it's an environmental campaign and that it's about planting trees and helping the Earth. And that is the very surface level of what we're talking about with the Trillion Trees Campaign. It is so much deeper than that.

So, I wanted to just make this quick video to explain the big picture of what the Trillion Trees Campaign really is about to share with them and to share with you. Because I can see how it is easy to perceive a campaign with a goal of planting a trillion trees as being about, you know, the Earth only. But it actually has just as much to do with humanity and economy and the big picture of the future for all of life on the planet.

So, it's not just about having pretty trees and hugging them, and you know, just, well, we want more trees. It's really about caring about the quality of life for all of humanity and all of the animal kingdom for the foreseeable future on the planet. And it's complex. It's a big conversation because there's all these different topics that interweave and overlap.

So, one of the big conversations is around soil. We've lost an amazing amount of topsoil over the last 10,000 years since humans started doing agriculture. When trees are cut for agriculture, there's a rich topsoil there at first, and so you can get a few good seasons of really great crops with that soil, but without the trees there to protect the soil, that soil erodes and washes away and is no longer there and the soil loses it's fertility. So, this is land degradation - where it goes from being a functioning ecosystem to degraded land, and eventually that leads to desertification. And we now have 5 billion acres of degraded land on the planet.

One of the very best ways to reboot that soil and rebuild that soil is to plant fast growing multi-purpose trees using an agro-forestry model - where you can grow food inter-cropped with fast growing multi-purpose trees that rebuild the soil and add minerals and add nitrogen to the soil. So, the conversation around soil and food production, which of course ties together with poverty and starvation, is directly related to tree planting.

Another huge issue is that people who have been living on land that is now degraded, they can no longer live on their land and have to migrate. So, if you have any concern at all about refugees or people coming and crossing borders, which a lot of people do these days, let's look at the root cause of that, which is that their homelands have become so degraded that they can't make a good living there or in a lot of cases, they can't even survive. Think of it as a stress induced migration, and strategically planting trees in those places reduces that stress. So, planting trees is part of the antidote to the refugee crisis. And in fact, those same people who are struggling, they are the ones that can help plant the trees – and this grows them out of poverty. The Trillion Trees Campaign is about supporting tree planters around the world so they can restore land and also restore their livelihoods and their environments and be able to stay in their homes. That is huge. And that is far beyond just an environmental campaign.

Another topic that's so pivotal to our future is water. Forest ecosystems regulate the hydrological cycle. The way that water becomes freshwater is a process of rainfall being captured by forest ecosystems and soaked into the ground. If rain falls on exposed land, it rushes off very quickly, goes into rivers and is back out in the ocean and becomes saltwater again. Whereas if it falls in a forest ecosystem, it's going to absorb into the soil and go down into the aquifers. Forests also have the ability to create clouds through their respiration and thereby also attract more clouds that are passing at higher elevations and through a process called induction, draw other moisture in from either over the ocean or other areas of land that don't have as many trees.

Trees are literally water magnets. There are rivers of moisture that flow through the atmosphere, and trees draw that moisture to them and create rainfall that then goes into the soil. So, around the world, we're seeing more and more water shortages or irregular rainfall patterns, where you're having heavy rain and flooding in certain seasons and then severe drought, which can lead to fires and other destruction in the dry seasons.

The freshwater cycle, the way it's regulated by trees, is super important to the health and safety of humanity and the animal kingdom in the future, too. Planting trees also, of course, creates the habitat for wildlife. And for me, hey, I imagined, "Oh, wildlife, it's good because animals are cool, and you know they need a place to live." The reality is that we need wildlife on our planet to continue to function. Nature has set forth forest ecosystems. Forests need wildlife as much as the wildlife needs forests.

It's an amazing and integrated system. The whole cycle of the food chain is a chain and everything's linked. So, the plants are producing energy from the sun. That energy becomes the plant. The plant is eaten by the animal. The animal excretes their waste and that goes back into the soil, which fertilizers the plants and the cycle continues. So, it's all necessary, and this is maybe the most important point when it comes down to it. Without functioning ecosystems, there's no animals that can live on this planet.

And that includes us. The ecosystems, these systems that have been in place on this planet for millions of years and have had millions of years of research and development to perfect them, those are what support life. So, quite literally, the Trillion Trees campaign is a campaign about supporting life on the planet.

And we have people on our planet right now that are convinced we need to establish colonies on other planets because they're afraid that this planet might not support life in the future. Well, the planets they're looking at don't have water on them. There's no life on them as it is, it makes so much more sense to do what we need to do to make sure this planet always supports life. And it's a beautiful process.

This is one thing that just can't be denied is that Nature is beautiful. It's the most elegant and efficient system for supporting life. Everything that ends up in our grocery stores is a byproduct of Nature. Everything that we depend on in our homes. These are byproducts of Nature. We haven't outsmarted Nature with our technology. Our technology has taken resources from Nature and rearranged them in and condensed them into these really efficient methods for having our needs and desires met. And it's beautiful, it's amazing what humans have accomplished with technology, but the way it's been done has had a cost.

There has been more taken than given back to the system and there is a debt to pay. If we don't restore Nature to the level that it needs to continue to support life, the shelves in the grocery stores will not remain filled. We actually aren't as disconnected from Nature as we might like to think. California can only produce so much produce as it's becoming a desert. We can only operate outside the laws of Nature for a short period of time, and then it will catch up with us and we actually are starting to see it catch up with us now. I think you know what I mean when I say that. When you have blizzards in Texas. And floods and droughts in the same year in the Pacific Northwest. And out-of-control wildfires in California and Oregon. Massive desertification around the world.

It's catching up to us, and that makes this the perfect time to do something about it. And the great news is that doing something about it is incredibly simple. It's incredibly simple. It's as simple as supporting tree planters, and you can support planting one tree every day for as little as $5 a month. And if you don't have $5 a month, you can also support tree planting just by switching your search engine. The search engine donates 80% of their profits to strategic tree planting projects around the world. Could it possibly be simpler?

Visit the home page of this website to see the current planting options and switch your search engine over to Ecosia today. And start to get excited about our future!

So many people I talk to feel very hopeless about the future because they don't see a positive path forward. All they see is leadership that is going in circles and pointing fingers. We need to be the leaders, the people of the world need to be the ones to do this. It's our job to restore the planet and for $5 or more a month, it's very accessible to get involved with tree planting. Or you can make one-time donations of any amount. And of course, you can plant more if you want. And there's different planting models that are 15¢ a tree or 25¢ a tree, depending on how you want your trees planted.

There'll be other planting options available with the Trillion Trees Campaign as time goes on. But the programs we found are most effective and most affordable are the ones that are currently on the campaign site and are available for as little as 15¢ a tree and 25¢ a tree.

So visit the home page right now and check out the options and go ahead and sign up because there's no time to waste. This isn't about making the Earth pretty and green. This is about making sure the Earth can support our life for decades to come. And that's not a heavy thing to say. That's a really positive thing to say. We all know that if we don't do something, we're going to witness some really intense catastrophes on this planet. So, I'm not being negative here to say we need to do something today or else we're not going to have a very bright future. I'm saying we're actually super blessed because the answer is all around us. Every seed that's lying dormant right now that can be grown into a seedling and planted into the ground.

All the resources we need are here, and the vast majority of the people that can watch this video can afford $5 a month to create the future that we want to see. Join the Trillion Trees Campaign today. Share this video with your friends so they can understand this campaign so they can see the big picture too. I am so grateful that you took the time to watch this video and that we get to be friends now and we're going to stay engaged because this is the most interesting and exciting conversation happening on the planet right now. And you're part of it. Thank you. We'll see you in the next video!

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