Trees restore degraded lands, relieve poverty, and foster biodiversity. They bring back life to struggling rural villages, and, by absorbing CO2, they help the global village, too.
Restoring Ecology and Economy
We use a variety of methods to plant trees, including reforesting swaths of degraded land in ways that maximize biodiversity. Another technique is village-level agroforestry, aka, "forest gardens," which combines tree planting with crop production, a technique harking back to the ancient Maya. Our partners are peasant-farmers who plant and care for trees because they well know the practical benefits:
- Restoring healthy soil
- Higher crop yields
- Natural fertilizer and animal forage
- Sustainably harvested firewood to prevent deforestation by people desperate for fuel
- Sustainably harvested building materials
- Income generation (organic honey, coffee, organic cash crops)
- Greater biodiversity, a moister climate, even recharged aquifers
The trees we use are ecological marvels. Here are just two examples:
- The moringa tree not only helps the soil, but has edible leaves that contain an astounding 40 percent protein.
- The calliandra, not only increases land fertility and prevents erosion, but produces lovely pink blossoms that honeybees favor. This supports village honey cooperatives while pollinating coffee, wild plants, and organic food crops.
We plant trees through the Green World Campaign not just to "offset our carbon," but to help people work toward self-sufficiency. Creating ecologically and economically sustainable communities also lessens conflict over arable land and slows the pace of urban migration.
Trees Absorb CO2
Most of our present climate crisis comes from greenhouse gases spewed out by households, cars, and industry. Clearly, we must "shrink our carbon footprint" through less consumption, increasing renewable energy, and reducing use of fossil fuels.
The other rest of the problem comes from the loss of CO2-absorbing forests and soil degradation, and here's where we think we can help.
How? Plant trees. Lots of trees. Millions. Billions. Especially in the tropics.
Why the tropics?
- Tropical areas receive more sunlight, so trees planted there have more energy to convert CO2.
- Trees there give off more oxygen, and store more carbon in their biomass, than their counterparts in northern latitudes.
- Each fast-growing, beneficial, permanent tree planted in the humid tropics will absorb over 50 pounds of CO2 per year. Those 50 pounds, multiplied over a tropical tree's useful lifespan of 40-plus years, add up to one ton.