by Ashley Sullivan: Forests are vital. They provide water, food, and livelihoods for billions of people around the world…
They contain a staggering diversity of life. They create the oxygen we breathe and regulate our climate. Tragically, they are being destroyed at an alarming rate. This is largely due to powerful economic and political interests, and consumer demands for beef, mined materials, palm oil, paper and other products. This process is wiping out countless species, increasing inequality, threatening the survival of indigenous communities, and all life on Earth. But what if forest protection, replanting and restoration are the best solution for climate change we have? At the 2020 World Economic Forum, Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace and Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has announced her commitment of contributing 5 million trees ( via replanting or restoration) through her organization and partnerships in the next year to the 1 Trillion Trees campaign of UNEP. With this effort, Jane hopes to give global forests, and our planet as we know it, a fighting chance.
In the last several years, we’ve witnessed the horrific, escalating cycle of harm that occurs when forests disappear and climate change ravages landscapes through fires and other natural disasters. Dr. Goodall, motivated by the power of hope, feels that this is an opportunity to grow good. Through this campaign, Dr. Goodall is taking a stand, supporting efforts to reach the goal of 1 Trillion Trees through the work of JGI, its Roots & Shoots youth program, and other partnerships.
1T.ORG offers innovative technologies which will serve to connect tens of thousands of small and large groups around the world that are engaged in tree planting and forest restoration. Creating this “greening global community”, will allow for sharing critically needed funding and best practices — just what is needed to achieve the trillion trees goal in ten years. Toward this 1T.ORG goal, I am proud to announce that our Roots & Shoots program, which empowers young people in 60 countries, has committed to planting over 5 million new trees over the coming year. Now is the time for everyone on the planet to do their part.
– Dr. Jane Goodall
The Jane Goodall Institute has long worked collaboratively with local communities across the chimpanzee range in Africa by supporting local ownership of the process of holistic conservation. This allows the creation of efficient land-use plans and forest reserves, and support of sustainable livelihoods. In addition, JGI uses cutting-edge science, including GIS, to best understand and collect ecosystem data, effectively assessing habitat change and progress over time. These programs help protect these precious environments, and in so have contributed millions of trees planted or restored over nearly 30 years of community-centered conservation. Likewise, its Roots & Shoots program supports young people in becoming environmental stewards and activists through service-learning projects, many of which directly restore or replant forests. In 2020, Roots & Shoots youth and partners from nearly 60 countries around the world will help plant and/or restore 5 million trees, helping move that much closer to the campaign’s goals.
Why is this important? According to the campaign, global reforestation binds at least a quarter of the annual man-made CO2 emissions. Preventing the continued loss and degradation of forests and supporting sustainable and appropriate restoration could contribute to one-third of total climate change mitigation required by 2030. Restoring just 350 million hectares of forest could potentially sequester (offset) 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually (IUCN). This is a big deal, and there’s space to grow – by the campaign’s estimations, in total, an area the size of the United States could be reforested.
Jane has long been a proponent of restoring, protecting and replanting forests as both essential for biodiversity and as a direct answer to mitigating climate change. As an advocate for people, other animals and the environment for over 40 years, Dr. Goodall is passionate about supporting initiatives that not only bring attention to this issue, but directly encourage individual action as a part of the solution. We each have a responsibility to make decisions every single day that reduce harm and protect life. Protecting forests cannot continue to be the forgotten solution.