February 1, 2024 at 12:57 am

The Guy Who Said We Should Plant A Trillion Trees Wants Everyone To Stop And Focus On Our Existing Ecosystem

by Trisha Leigh

If you grew up in the 80s and 90s, you heard a lot about planting trees. We were just starting to hear about the crisis regarding the ozone, and it was the first years when people were really starting to worry about the environment.

That said, it seems like we might have pinned a little too much hope on just trees.

In 2019, Thomas Crowther was a chief scientific adviser for the United Nations Trillion Trees Campaign. He was urging us all to plant a trillion trees in an attempt to offset carbon emissions.

Source: Pexels

Now, he can see the error of his ways – stifling biodiversity, for one, but also letting people think that planting a tree was all they needed to do as far as carbon emissions.

“If no one had ever said, ‘Plant a trillion trees,’ I think we’d have been in a lot better space. But maybe there wouldn’t have been so much noise and attention on nature, so that all the very responsible scientists who are here could correct it and turn it into something that is good.”

When Crowther and his team first urged the tree-planting mania, other scientists tried to argue. They criticized the idea as overestimating the amount of carbon that would be offset as well as the amount of land we had to be forested.

Source: Pexels

But at the time, trees seemed like the easiest solution – the one that didn’t force big oil companies like Shell to actually take a look at their practices and the damage they were doing to the environment.

So, carbon emissions continued to climb, regardless of how many trees went into the ground.

Eventually even Crowther saw the error of his ways.

He recently published another study that takes aim at these deceitful business practices, which do nothing but point attention toward the “good” they’re doing to make us look away from the bad.

“Killing greenwasher doesn’t mean stop investing in nature. It means doing it right. It means distributing wealth to the Indigenous populations and farmers and communities who are living with biodiversity.”

He also thinks our time would be better spent preserving existing forests instead of focusing on planting new ones.

His research shows this will offset around 50% more carbon than his old idea.

pexels jeswin thomas 2874751 The Guy Who Said We Should Plant A Trillion Trees Wants Everyone To Stop And Focus On Our Existing Ecosystem

Image Credit: Pexels

All of that said, carbon offsetting only plays a small role in our fight against climate change.

There is a lot more that needs to be done, and we’re running out of time to do it.

Thought that was fascinating? Here’s another story you might like: Why You’ll Never See A Great White Shark In An Aquarium