Mission Accepted: Plant a Tree
Initially, when I set my quest to plant a tree I imagined it would begin with actually physically planting a tree. Probably through volunteering or planting a new tree at the family home.
But why put off what I can do today.
Recently, a blog post by Mr. Money Mustache has highlighted a bunch of different ways to plant trees. This has opened up a world of possibilities and the ability to act now, achieve my quest and maybe even level up..
Carbonfund.org is a organization that works to help individuals and businesses work towards mitigating climate change through climate change education, carbon offsets and reductions, and public outreach. It’s the carbon offsets that are relevant here but we’ll get to that later.
Carbonfund supports many reforestation and avoided deforestation projects throughout the world. It’s through contributing to these projects through a donation that you can plant trees. $10 for 10 trees seems a bit optimistic but I do like the tax-deduction part.
Next up is Terrapass, a very similar company that is a little more polished. The organization has a more diverse portfolio of projects which, while interesting, means there’s less of what I want to do here. A quick look (the first page) resulted in 1 reforestation project, The City of Arkata Community Forest. The company offers purchases or subscriptions to products that help offset your carbon footprint but it doesn’t appear that planting a tree is one of them.
Now this sounds promising. With forests in the name of the organization it’s going to be hard to go wrong and sure enough they have a tree planting program. American Forests has the Global ReLeaf program (clever name) that looks just about perfect.
Since 1990, American Forests has completed restoration work in all 50 U.S. states and 45 countries around the world, helping to plant nearly 50 million trees in areas of crucial need. These projects have restored forest ecosystems for a variety of critical issues, including wildlife habitat improvement, responses to wildfire and other threats, water resource protection and carbon offset benefits. Through local partnerships, American Forests is able to involve individuals, organizations, agencies and corporations in tree planting projects that restore local and global ecosystems.
American Forests also allows you to donate in order to “give the gift of trees.” It also only seems to cost $1 per tree. I’m still skeptical as to if this is really the case but OK, for now I’ll take there word for it.
Life on Land
Why do I want to plant a tree you ask? Well, it’s in line with Sustainable Development Goal 15, Life on Land. Planting a tree, while a small gesture, helps work towards combating desertification and the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
Importantly, trees are also a helpful carbon sink. In fact, it’s got a fancy name, carbon sequestration.
…we don’t have to wait for high tech sequestration. We can increase carbon sequestration now by working with some experts. They’re called trees, and they have almost 350 million years’ experience in sequestering carbon. Trees, like other green plants, use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugar, cellulose and other carbon-containing carbohydrates that they use for food and growth. Trees are unique in their ability to lock up large amounts of carbon in their wood, and continue to add carbon as they grow. Although forests do release some CO2 from natural processes such as decay and respiration, a healthy forest typically stores carbon at a greater rate than it releases carbon.
– NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation
That’s a pretty easy way to get some some bang for your buck.
Alright, I am going to go plant 10 trees and will report back with how it went.
In the meantime just remember…
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