Climate change is real and the future may look bleak, but if one looks closely and is willing to follow the example of the Elzeard Bouffier, the fictional hero in Jean Gioro’s inspirational book, The Man Who Planted Trees, the future can be a beautiful hue of green, red, gold, yellow, and crimson.
In ways small and large, people and organizations are planting trees. On May 6, the Canadian city of Kitchener announced an initiative to allow individuals and neighborhood groups to plant up to 15 trees on public property. On May 29, 2019, the House of Representatives in the Philippines passed a bill–dubbed the Graduation Legacy for the Environment Act–mandating every graduate of elementary, high school, and university in the country plant ten trees. (If successful–the Senate has not yet passed the bill–the initiative will result in 525 billion trees being planted in a generations time).
The Kitchener initiative is a drop in the proverbial bucket, while the latter Filipino plan will not replace all of the forest cover the country has lost since 1990 (an estimated 33 percent), but both offer hope for a way forward.
It is estimated that the planting of 1.2 trillion trees could cancel out a decade’s worth of CO2 emissions. Moreover, because of additional efforts such as Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Initiative and Felix Finkbeiner’s bold Plant a Trillion Trees campaign, the goal of planting a trillion-plus trees is possible.
To achieve this greener, healthier tomorrow people must in Maathai’s words “be a hummingbird”–we must take action!
If you don’t know where to start, here are a few excellent resources:
There is a beautiful Greek proverb that reads: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” The world’s climate is growing warmer, and we could use more shade–as could future generations. Therefore, whether you are old or young or a part of a small community or a large organization, everyone must do what they can, where they are, with what they have. It is time to stop talking about a better future and, instead, start planting our way toward one!
Jack Uldrich is a leading global futurist committed to assisting leaders, companies and organizations transcend traditional boundaries to create a more humane and sustainable future. His forthcoming book, A More Beautiful Future will be released in early 2020.