Will tree planting solve the climate crisis?
July 8, 2022

Trees and climate change

Year on year, the climate crisis is getting worse. But, if you’re here with us, you probably already know that.

Gladly, here at Climate Pets, we’re not pessimists. We know that there are tons of ways to tackle the biggest challenge of the 21st century, and planting trees just happens to be one of them.

You’ll probably have noticed just how massive the tree-planting effort is (unless you’ve been living under a tree, that is 🌳). Governments, businesses, NGOs and individuals like you and me are accelerating our efforts to plant trees on a massive scale, resulting in billions of beautiful new baby trees being planted year after year. Even the world-famous band Coldplay has launched a campaign promoting sustainability and tree planting.

Not quite a magic solution: the pitfalls of tree planting

So, should we go all in with trees to save the planet?

We don’t think so.

Let’s take a step back. Trees, we know, have a critical role to play in regulating our planet’s atmosphere and ecosystems. With their natural ability to sequester carbon – to remove it from the atmosphere and store it in their wood – trees are a simple and easy-to-understand way to combat the climate crisis. That’s why forests are often called carbon sinks.

Will tree planting solve the climate crisis?

But it’s not just as easy as sticking more trees in the ground. With tree planting, there also come risks and challenges: increased wildfires can threaten forests, young trees often die if not properly cultivated, land rights must be respected, and baby trees are not mature to sequester carbon in large quantities, to name just a few.

Our approach to tree planting at Climate Pets

Recognising that tree planting is a complex topic, we at Climate Pets have decided that our tree planting programme is something we do in addition to offsetting your cat or dog’s pawprint. We currently don’t believe tree planting is the best way to ensure carbon is effectively captured.

Having said that, there are some other pretty cool benefits to tree planting that we can’t wait to share with you. We hope you’re as excited as we are!

The wonderful impact of Forest Gardens

Thanks to our collaboration with trees.org, who have been in the field for over 30 years, when you sign up to Climate Pets at the Hero or Superhero level, you help contribute to growing ‘Forest Gardens’.

Will tree planting solve the climate crisis? (2)

A Forest Garden is a combination of trees, shrubs, veggies, fruits and other crops specifically planted to support each other, the land, and farmers. The technical term is ‘agroforestry’. Agroforestry is a system that makes use of trees to protect the land, improve the soil and increase harvests. These Forest Gardens are a diverse mixture of plants that improve nutrition for local communities and generate income. In fact, planting trees in such a way can help end hunger and poverty by improving the quality and productivity of the soil so that farmers have a sustainable source of food and income.

And here come the numbers: between 2020 and 2021, trees.org planted over 35 million trees, converting over 45,000 acres into more than 25,000 Forest Gardens! Local families engaged in the agroforestry efforts reported an average 706% increase in access to nutrition. Pretty cool, right?

So what else have we got to do?

There are thousands of small things we all can do to have a positive impact on the climate. Most importantly, we must all reduce emissions in the first place. Many of us know what we have to do and are taking brilliant steps in this direction by living greener lifestyles, consuming less, eating plant-based, not flying, cycling rather than driving, buying second-hand, swapping over to green energy providers and much more.

But it’s not only down to us. Big corporations and big governments must take action, especially in sectors such as the oil industry who remain massive polluters. As individuals, we must use our influence as consumers and citizens to put pressure on the companies we use and the politicians we elect.

At the end, we’re all in this together, some of us might just not realise it yet. Let’s make them understand!

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