Before you read this blog any further, take a minute to think about the last time you were wandering around a forest.
It’s an amazing feeling, right? Being outdoors and surrounded by hundreds of old trees. Listening to the relaxing sound of chirping birds and the wind whistle through the treetops. Perhaps even spotting a shy, but curious deer in the distance. And then there’s that typical, lovely fresh forest smell of wet leaves and moss. Forests are the place we escape to when we need time to relax, to reflect, to think. Forests keep us sane from the ongoing rat-race in the big urban jungles. I dare to say that we are all tree-huggers - in some way.
But unfortunately, we are losing green on our planet. According to the Worldbank, we have lost about 800 soccer fields worth of forest per hour for 25 years (1990 to 2016). Because of the high demand for certain products and land for agriculture. Those numbers are seriously hard to wrap your head around.
Luckily, there are many green initiatives out there, fighting the war on deforestation. They are making great efforts bringing back the forests that we all love so dearly, but there is still a lot of work to do.
You may be wondering why planting trees is such a good idea. Well, there are actually more reasons to it than you might think.
Trees benefit us, human beings, in many ways. Apart from the fact that we need trees to be happy, we actually can’t live without them. For example, trees have the amazing ability to absorb harmful greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and transform them into healthy oxygen. This not only provides us with clean and fresh air to breathe, but it also helps to drastically slow down and potentially even reverse global warming. That’s why our forests are called the Earth’s Lungs.
Especially in urban areas, trees play a vital role in filtering polluted air. With our worlds population increasingly living in cities, city planners are rightfully concerned about bringing green into our towns. Concrete, asphalt and steel absorb a lot of warmth which makes it hard for urban areas to cool down. Having plenty of parks and trees around helps with that. On average, trees can reduce the overall temperature by several degrees Celsius.
Furthermore, trees keep us safe from landslides and flooding. Big, mature trees can absorb A LOT of water and their roots keep the ground in place. And don’t forget their importance in the biodiversity of our ecosystems. Over 80% of the world’s animals (and Bear Grylls, possibly) permanently live in our forests.
I could go on and write a complete detailed blog about the why, but you get the point. Basically, we need our Ents to save us from eternal doom!
Well, that’s an easy one. Buy a shovel, some seeds and a bag of fertilizer. Then dig a hole, plant the seeds and water it regularly. In just a few years, you’ll have grown yourself your very own tree. Congratulations! What name will you give your newborn tree-child?
But there are other, more easy and effective ways to help with reforestation. Now, planting a tree can be done with a simple click of a mouse button. With the combined efforts of eco-minded communities, we can plant much more. Let me introduce you to 5 wonderful green initiatives that have already planted millions of trees.
Tree Tribe is a community of nature lovers that created an eco-friendly webshop which plants a tree for every product sold. Up till now, they have already planted 431.040 trees in 12 different countries across the planet!
Their products are all carefully selected eco-conscious items, such as reusable water bottles and leaf leather wallets, that greatly limit the impact on our environment. We think they have a great selection of travel goodies that come in super handy for responsible travellers.
There are so many reasons to plant a tree. Be it for mammals, our environment or social economical reason. Click-A-Tree lets you choose for which cause you would like to contribute to by planting a tree in return for a small fee. The founder, Chris, personally started this project to save the elephants in Kenya, India and Thailand.
For example, if you care a lot about our oceans, you can plant a tree for the seas. By doing so, your donated money will go directly to the local communities of Madagascar and Indonesia to help with planting mangroves, creating job opportunities for them as well. Click A Tree has already planted 104.414 trees this way and created 1.090 workdays for the local communities over 12 countries.
This wonderful Kiwi community helps with the reforesting of native trees in New Zealand by getting as many people and projects involved. And they are keeping a count of the total of all trees planted by the combined efforts. You can get involved with Trees That Count by planting trees in New Zealand communities or by funding to contribute to the planting of native trees.
According to their website, they have counted a whopping 31 million native trees planted in New Zealand since 2016 by the various projects combined!
The US-based non-profit organization One Tree Planted is dedicated to making it easier for anyone across the world, both businesses and individuals to plant trees and create a healthier world. We think this is a brilliant idea. The founder, Matt Hill, wanted people to better understand the positive impact of trees on our environment. For one dollar donated, they will plant a tree.
In 2018, their combined efforts have already put 1.3 million trees in the ground all over North America, Latin America, Africa and Asia.
Perhaps the easiest way to help is to use Ecosia as your default search engine. Ecosia plants trees for every search you do by using the money they generate through advertisements. This way they have already invested over 12 million euros for reforestation and have planted over 77 million trees over 10 years!