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Around 30 percent of our planet is covered in trees.
Trees are majestic, help biodiversity and can reduce climate change.
But we're cutting them down at an alarming rate.
Since the start of human civilisation, its estimated that we've cut down almost half the trees on Earth.
So, what would happen if all of us—and that's all 7.7 billion of us—planted a tree?
Well, there might be 7.7 billion of us, but it's estimated there are currently over three trillion trees on the planet.
7.7 billion more trees would be a valuable step forward.
But we'd need to go further to make a really substantial difference to the environment.
But we could.
In fact, according to one estimate, if we planted 1.2 trillion trees, we'd cancel out a decade's worth of CO2 emissions by the time the forests mature.
So that's more like 160 trees per person.
Trees take carbon dioxide out of the air and release oxygen, making them a natural source of carbon capture.
Planting 1.2 trillion more trees could capture up to 100 gigatons of CO2, on top of the 400 gigatons captured by all our existing trees.
Trees planted near the equator can be especially beneficial, as they grow much faster in the warm, wet, and humid environment.
Let's imagine that happened.
In as little as 20 or 30 years, entire woodlands and forests would be established.
And in 100 years, these trees would grow and mature, safeguarding habitats that otherwise get cut down.
We'd also see a rise in biodiversity as trees get older and start to decompose, because they, along with dead trees, offer a habitat to all kinds of fungi and insects.
On top of this, we could see a positive impact to our mental health, as studies have shown trees can lower stress and make people happier.
In Japan, they have a term for it, "forest bathing."
But despite how much trees offer us, we're getting rid of them at an alarming rate.
Currently, it's estimated that 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation, because when we cut down trees they emit carbon instead of absorbing it.
And we're cutting down 15 billion trees a year, that's almost 500 trees a second, 29,000 a minute, 1.7 million an hour, 41 million a day.
So, although tree planting is a valuable part of tackling climate change, it won't be effective unless we reduce the number we cut down in the first place and make big changes to the way we live.
So, if everyone on the planet planted a single tree, it would be a powerful symbolic act.
And if we kept on planting them and stopped cutting them down, it could go a long way to protecting and safeguarding our world.
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What if everyone planted a tree? | BBC Ideas

1551 Folder Collection
Seraya published on April 13, 2020    Seraya translated    adam reviewed
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