-Image Team Trees, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
In October 2019, popular YouTubers -engineer, inventor, science advocate Mark Rober and entrepreneur/philanthropist MrBeast launched a global YouTube community project called #teamtrees which set out to raise $20 million for the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 20 million trees by Arbor Day 2020. With Elon Musk and Shopify founder Tobias Lütke donating over one million dollars each the project was off to great start and the financial goal was reached ahead of schedule on December 19, 2019.
MrBeast at work
Where the trees are going
With donors from 200 countries represented, the Arbor Day Foundation which has been entrusted to plant the trees will do so in every continent except Antarctica. They include Australia, Canada, France, China, Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal and the UK. So far they have planted 8 million trees. In Kenya the Arbor Day Foundation is restoring degraded forests and stabilising livelihoods and in India, it is restoring the Canaury River Basin which has lost 40% of its flow with a resulting decline in drinking water.
Trees and more trees
Other countries and other organisations are also stepping up their tree planting efforts. Pakistan has already replanted one billion trees and is working towards 10 billion. India is restoring almost 10 million hectares, Latin America has added an area the size of Syria and China accounted for around 25% of global greening.
Treesisters is a UK organisation which encourages women to donate to restore tropical rainforests in some of the world’s poorest countries by employing local people to plant trees. So far it has funded the planting of 18,713,733 trees across 12 countries. It does its planting mainly through the Eden Reforestation Project (see below) which has so far planted 583, 540,320 trees across eight countries.
Both TreeSisters and the Arbor Day Foundation work through local organisations such as this to get trees planted in specific locations. This has the dual benefit of creating local employment as well as planting the food, timber and fibre trees which local populations need. This is far superior to some distant organisation deciding what should be grown or how it should be grown, as we shall see in the next post. It also means that there are local people to care for the trees once they are planted.
Another is the International Tree Foundation which began in 1922 as the Men of the Trees. The name change became necessary in recognition of the fact that it is mainly women who are running the tree nurseries and doing the planting. To date they have planted 805,873 trees.
One Tree Planted only began in 2014 and it also plants across a wide range of locations – North and South America, Asia and Africa and the Pacific including Australia. By 2020 it had also clocked up 15 million trees.
The Nature Conservancy has also committed to planting a billion trees across a wide range of habitats from the USA to Columbia, China to Tanzania. It employs a number of scientists, particularly ecologists who do a great deal of research into which areas need replanting, what is the best way to do it and which species will do the best job. These have become important issues as not all tree plantings are equal or equally beneficial.
These are but a few of the many organisations involved in
planting trees. I have only chosen these because of their international reach
and reputation, though that doesn’t make others less worthy. Just check them
out via Charity Navigator or similar organisations before donating. Read also the excerpt by plantit2020.org about other potential pitfalls.They also
vary in where they replant, in case this is important to you.
So do we have enough trees yet? Will they save the planet and stop global warming? We’ll look at these questions and more next time.