Why Unifying Behind Trees Gets to the Root of Many Global Challenges & Can Restore Our World
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Here is the transcript for this video blog if you prefer to read:
Restoring our world is something that we can all do together. We can't just wait and hope that our governments are going to do it or that industry is going to do it. Or technology will do it. Or that billionaires are going to do it for us. We are empowered to do this. We, as global citizens, can restore our planet by all working together to support tree planters.
Everybody loves trees. Everybody is unified by the fact that Nature is our life support system. It's what inspires us. It's what brings us joy. We ARE nature. There are so many different benefits that come from restoring forest ecosystems. So, when we take this one action, it's like we're taking 20, 30, 40 actions, all at the same time.
And another thing about it that's so exciting is that this is something that almost everyone in the world can contribute to because there is a free way to get involved. Which is just switching your search engine from whatever search engine you use right now to Ecosia.org. This is the search engine that plants trees. So that's a free way to start planting trees. You can also help for as little as 10¢ a tree or 25¢ a tree with our two planting partners. So, when we all unify around this, it uplifts everyone, and it can really help us with some of our largest challenges that we're facing right now as a human family. And it makes you feel good because you know you're supporting something real.
So, 10,000 years of clearing forests for agriculture and also for the wood resources has left us with about 5 billion acres of degraded land, and that actually poses a huge opportunity. So, reforesting that land is something that, because it will benefit everyone on the planet, it's something that can unite us all. And what we need more on this planet right now than anything is for us all to come together and work together in a positive way. From every different side of the table, for everyone to recognize that Earth is our home. This planet, this gorgeous, miraculously beautiful planet is our home, and we should all come together around taking care of it.
Currently on the planet, there are many, many really amazing reforestation and ecological restoration programs that provide us models for what's possible. So, we're seeing over and over that it IS possible to do large scale land restoration. And at this point, what we need is more of those and for those programs to expand and be scaled to a very large scale. That is what this Trillion Trees Campaign is all about.
We can go on all day about all the different examples, actually, of how restoration projects have been successful in places you wouldn't think that were possible, like in Jordan and other areas of the Middle East, in very dry regions of Africa, in South America, and in China. In the historical context, if you look way back, you can see even more places where the power of forest ecosystems has taken cultures from the brink of disaster and brought them back to a supported healthy life.
Ultimately, it's simple. It all comes down to the way we manage land, and there's so much information out there now from all of these different parts of the world where people are doing restoration, we have the information, we know what it is that we need to do. So, all of us coming together and just helping enable that by supporting tree planters all around the world - the people who are already doing this work - helps us create a wave, a scale, where we scale up and catch up with the amount of destruction that we've had and overtake it. So that we hit a new tipping point of regeneration, rather than the tipping point that we're hitting right now, which is self-destruction. We don't have to have this experience of collapse. We can have the experience of rising up together over this experience of collapse by unifying around restoring our ecosystems.
Every time we go into Nature, we feel happier, we feel more connected, and we have this intuitive sense of how Nature is a life support system. Just by how we feel when we are there in Nature is healing and has an intelligence. We've moved away from Nature - or out of Nature - and have started to see Nature as a raw resource rather than a living system. But, the reality is that the way the Earth functions is an incredibly intricate and interwoven balance of all of the life that exists on this planet.
Functioning ecosystems are hard to understand. They are even hard for science to understand because they are so complex and you can't separate out each little function into a test tube. It's a marvelous orchestra of millions and billions of interactions that all happen at once, and it all comes down to converting the Sun's energy into life. And that's where trees are absolutely brilliant. Trees take the energy of the sun and convert it by combining water and carbon dioxide into sugar, and these sugars get turned into the trees and the plant material themselves.
They also get pumped into the soil and feed the soil life underground. There's a whole other world going on of fungi and bacteria and other microorganisms. It's such a complex system. There are over a billion life forms in a single teaspoon of healthy soil. Learning more about this, it just blows our minds how sophisticated and how advanced the technology of the Earth is.
And the more we understand how complex it is, the more awe we have for it, and we realize that there is nothing that we can create or invent that's going to surpass Nature's ability to support life on this planet. And so, when we look to the future and how we're creating a better future, supporting planting trees is a simple act, but it creates a very complex system that has millions of years of research and development behind it. It's a very elegant solution to supporting life, to taking the sun's heat, which could be burning us and actually converting it into the building blocks of life. While creating a home for us and all of the animals on the planet.
The first planting partner that we fell in love with was Trees for the Future, and what they do is they restore extremely degraded land with farmers who are growing Forest Gardens. The farmers volunteer for a four-year Master Forest Gardener training program. And within those four years, they are turning dust into a super diverse ecosystem that is abundant with all kinds of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables and nuts, as well as medicine. Their water table gets restored. They're able to send their kids to school again. Their communities come together. They no longer have to leave their land and migrate to cities to look for work.
So, the seedlings are grown in nurseries and then they plant them at the beginning of the rainy seasons so that they can reduce the watering that they'll have to do. These trees are fast growing multi-purpose trees so they can grow up to 15 feet in one season, and they send down deep tap roots. These can pull up nutrients from deep in the soil and also reach water that's not available on the surface.
These trees reboot the ecosystem in the soil. Within a year or two, the soil has improved so much they're able to grow rows of vegetables around the trees as well. So, with 1.25 billion farmers worldwide (and 250 million in Africa) that are already trying to farm on degraded land, that's a lot of people that can be engaged in tree planting. And planting in a way that restores their farmland and helps their crops become more productive, while also recreating functioning ecosystems that have all the benefits of ecosystems. So, it is enabling people to grow themselves out of poverty while assisting everyone on the whole planet to live on a healthier planet. So, if we can support those farmers in planting trees, that alone makes it possible to plant a trillion trees in the next ten years.
Another organization that we're currently supporting is Eden Reforestation Projects, and they are absolutely amazing as well. The projects that we are supporting are in Madagascar, and they are with coastal ecosystem restoration by planting mangrove trees, and they are also community driven. Eden Reforestation pays the people a living wage to do the tree planting. They can propagate mangrove trees for just 10¢ per tree, and they grow very quickly.
Not only do they support aboveground wildlife like lemurs and loads of birds and bats and sloths and all kinds of creatures aboveground, but their root systems are very similar to coral reef systems. So, they're getting fish stocks back, they're getting octopus back, they're getting shellfish back. All kinds of aquatic creatures thrive within these mangrove root ecosystems.
So, paying these people to restore their ecosystems is a perfect example of how the people that live there actually get their lives back. They get their livelihoods back. At the same time, these restored ecosystems are creating a huge carbon sink. The way mangrove trees grow partially underwater means that the carbon that they store in the soil below them doesn't come in contact with the air and therefore doesn't oxidize and become carbon dioxide again. It's estimated that mangroves can store up to six times more carbon long term than terrestrial trees.
So, this is a win-win situation. And that's the story of tree planting across the board. It's actually not a win-win. It's a win-win-win-win-win-win! There are ALL these different ways that trees and restoring forest ecosystems benefit everyone and everything on the planet. It's the biggest win on the planet for all of us.
There's more information about the details of these different tree planting models in the other videos on the our website and on our YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/c/TreesAreAwesome
Just like many of the problems we have in our world are growing exponentially, we believe that with your help, this campaign has the same potential to go viral and spread very far, very fast and have an amazing, powerfully positive effect in just a short time.
The strategy that we're proposing for planting a trillion trees over the next ten years is for all of us that can to plant a tree every day. So, to plant 30 trees a month and combine that with or simple growth strategy, ‘The Power of You, Plus Two’. There are two simple steps.
Step 1 is planting ‘A Tree a Day’ for a small monthly donation of a minimum of $3 to $8 a month. And if you have more, please go ahead and showery nature with cash. Open your heart and your wallet and make a massive donation if you have the means. You can also make one-time donations for any amount. But for most people, something accessible is between $3 and $8 a month.
We invite you to frame it for yourself as something that you do just to take care of yourself and your planet. Just like you would brush your teeth. You eat food. You drink water. You take a shower. So, fold into that planting trees as a part of your life. As a part of planetary care.
Step 2 is inspiring to other people to plant within 30 days. This is what we call ’The Power of You, Plus Two’. That's what creates the exponential growth. So, if you start with one person who's planting a tree a day and they tell their friends and within 30 days, inspire two other people to start planting a tree a day, and those people inspire two other people and so on - within three years, we'll have 300 million people all planting a tree a day. And then after ten years, that will have funded planting 1 trillion trees.
When enough of us get involved, it actually becomes really simple and really easy and exciting. The goal of a trillion trees is doable, and the power to do that is most definitely in our hands. Just ordinary people, all contributing a little bit or as much as you can. And if you can't contribute financially, then use the search engine https://www.Ecosia.org - they are the search engine that plants trees. If just 10% of the population that currently uses the internet used Ecosia instead, we could reforest the planet just by that internet search engine. That's pretty miraculous!
So, there are pathways available for all of us to get involved in restoring our planet. We propose these pathways because they're simple, accessible and effective. And we know that the trees are being monitored and nurtured beyond just their planting. So, it isn't just the planting of the trees, it's also the nurturing of the trees.
We have found that learning more about the tree planting projects around the world is uplifting and inspiring, and it's kind of an antidote to all of the negativity, to the negative news stories you see out there a lot. And it's giving us more hope. It's given us more hope for the future. We feel happier just knowing that we are part of planting trees and the broad scope of benefits that creates. It's helping people. It’s helping animals. It's helping our future. It's building the better world we want. And we can all be part of that with this simple little monthly gift or just by the search engine we use. It's made us feel more significant and like, we are having the impact in the world we want to have. And it can do this for you too.
We definitely recommend following Trees Are Awesome on social media (links below) and subscribing to this YouTube channel. We love to load it up with great stories and information on the miracle of how Nature really works and the miracles of people restoring land all around the world. Whether it's individuals or couples or communities or countries, all of the above. It's really joyful and inspiring to actually feed your soul and your mind with stories around the world of the positive ways in which people are restoring the Earth.
We're so grateful that you're here with us and that you have an interest in learning more about tree planting and how it can make a better future for all of us. And as you make this campaign your own and you share it with your friends and your family, that creates the ripple effect that will change the future of humanity.
Thank you so much for joining Trees Are Awesome and supporting tree planting around the world!
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