9 Ways You Can Plant More Trees This Year
Tree planting and tree maintenance is one of the few straightforwardly brilliant ways that we can help the environment. You don’t need a physical spade, or even a seed, to plant trees these days. Here are some of our favourite ways you can help our forests to flourish.
Thu 20 Feb 2020
Tree planting is no longer an activity exclusively for farmers, gardeners or green-fingered folk. Whoever you are, wherever you live and however limited or abundant your resources, you can plant trees this year.
All kinds of companies have climbed into the canopy of using their profits to plant trees. They range from Gin Distilleries to festival trends. This means that you can be as hands on or as hands off as you like when planting your first pine or palm. Why not branch out and try one of these new methods?
Why Are Trees So Important For The Planet?
Emi Murphy, trees campaigner at Friends of the Earth, explains that:
“With Spring on its way we’ll soon see trees starting to blossom. This is when a lot us notice how beautiful trees are, but they work hard all year-round removing planet-wrecking emissions from the atmosphere and giving us oxygen to breathe.”
Forests are our earth’s leafy lungs but they breathe in the opposite way to us. Through photosynthesis, trees drink in CO2, convert it into wood and emit oxygen. This is why reforestation is deemed one of the most important and effective ways to protect humans and the environment.
Here Are 9 Ways You Can Plant Trees This Year
1. Support Businesses That Plant Trees: Chapter Planet
There are so many ethically minded businesses out there now, many of which are combining the sales of their products with tree planting. Some do this through partnering with reforestation charities and others do it more directly. Chapter Planet is an exciting and exemplary initiative in this neck of the woods.
Launched by Alexine Capiau with the simple but mighty ambition to do her part in the fight against climate change, the goal of Chapter Planet is to plant one million trees.
It is doing this by selling ethical and sustainable products in partnership with the Eden Reforestation Project. This organisation works across several countries, helping communities that suffer from extreme poverty as a result of deforestation. They pay local villagers with fair wages to plant, grow, and protect millions of trees until they reach maturity each year.
On Alexine’s end of things, she sells a line of ‘not-so-basic basics’. For each item sold, a significant number of trees are planted. A single t-shirt, for example, means 20, 50 or even 100 trees! If you’re thinking ‘great idea, but we don’t need any more polluting products on the planet’ this system is, literally, not so basic. White tees, totes and socks are made from GOTS organic cotton, and come in 100% biodegradable packaging. Their delivery is offset with, surprise surprise, even more tree planting.
Chapter Planet are also transparent about when, where and who by the trees are planted. So far, they have planted over 27,000 trees.
2. Donate To A Tree Planting Charity: Tree Sisters
There are quite a few organisations you can donate to who will plant trees on your behalf.
Tree Sisters are an especially great one. Their ‘Grow Your Own Forest’ campaign really does what is carved on the trunk. You can join as an individual, a company, a family or a community and choose how much and how often you donate, in order to grow a forest over the course of your life.
This organisation’s tree planting projects have a social as well as a sustainable bent. They are a refreshingly feminine response to climate change. Being less interested in the latest tech solutions to sequestering carbon and more enthusiastic about forests, they see trees as the ultimate, natural mechanism for solving the issue. They are also run by women and are rooted in regenerating woodlands as well as the women who plant them.
By getting involved with this organisation, you can watch your forest grow as you donate and map the scale of your impact. The sisterhood element comes into play in your personal life as well. By sharing your forest on social media your friends can add to it and join the global network of women as well as woodland!
This amazing charity has planted 6.5 million trees so far, and has the ambitious goal of planting a million trees a month by the end of 2020.
3. Lobby The Government To Plant Trees: Friends Of The Earth
However many trees we plant as individuals, the urgency of increasing tree cover needs to take root in the heads of the powers that be.
Emi Murphy explains that:
"In the hot summer months, [trees] give us shade and help to bring down temperatures in our towns and cities, and when it's colder some trees give homes for hibernating animals."
Friends of the Earth see trees as our natural allies in the fight against climate change. They also consider systematic, governmental power to be pivotal in the protection of the planet alongside individual tree planting efforts.
The charity believe that if the British government is serious about the climate emergency, they need to double tree cover in UK by 2045. You can sign their petition, demanding that they commit to doing this.
That is not to say that you can’t play a part in this type of tree planting too. Systematic change can be achieved on a local as well as a national one. So, to increase tree cover, try putting pressure on your local council. They are likely to own or control large stretches of land, that could be home to far more trees. Friends of The Earth have a straightforward set of steps you can take to make this impactful move. They even have a template email you can send to your council, demanding that they plant more trees in your region.
Trees are a key part in stopping climate breakdown, so we’re calling on the government to double tree cover in the UK.
4. Protect Existing Trees
This is a bit of an offshoot, but a great and indirect way you can ensure that there are more trees on the planet this year is by protecting the ones we already have. Trees, especially those in cities, are under all kinds of threats from Tree Preservation Order.
Have you ever heard of a TPO? This one is a lot nicer than The Property Ombudsman- it’s a Tree Preservation Order. This is a legal document that makes it a criminal offence to harm a tree, and makes it a legal requirement to replant a tree that is killed or removed non-consensually. Anyone can request a TPO, including you! It can be applied to any tree, group of trees or area of woodland. So, if there is a particular tree or patch of trees that you think is especially vulnerable, this is a great and empowering way to protect them.
5. Get Involved With The Tree Cities Of The World Programme
If you want to give your community an incentive to plant more trees this year, working towards getting your city to become a Tree City of the World is a wonderful way to go about it. The programme recognises cities, throughout the world, who make a concerted effort to protect and care for their urban forests.
You can take the steps as an individual, or as a community to get your city working towards the 5 core standards that will make it eligible to receive this prestigious status. Unsurprisingly, they involve protecting and caring for trees!
The benefits your city will receive if it achieves the accolade are excellent motivation for fellow citizens who might not be as concerned about reforestation as you are. By becoming recognised as a Tree City of the World, your region will enjoy lower energy bills, boosted property value and international publicity.
6. Plant Trees With Your Smartphone: Treedom
Is getting outside and physically planting a tree not an option for you? Do you still want to do something a little less abstract than donating to a charity? The answer lies in your back pocket.
Treedom is an app that enables you to plant trees, using your phone, and then track their progress. This initiative works with farmers from all over the world who depend on tree planting for their businesses. You will make their livelihoods more secure when you commission them through the app because Treedom provides them with support in the early stages, when their trees are not yet yielding fruit. The company also support agro-forestry initiatives in the areas where they plant.
As far away as your tree is, this method of tree planting really allows you to have a personal connection with it. You can pick the type of tree you want, from a cacao to a baobab.
The farmer who plants it will photograph it and ‘geolocalize’ it for you, i.e. tell you where it is. Treedom will then create a web page for your tree so that you can keep track of its progress. If you are a believer in carbon offsetting, you can even use Treedom’s CO2 Capture feature to track how much carbon you emit every day, and use your trees to balance it out.
7. Just Go Outside And Plant A Tree: The Natural World!
All these techno tree planting methods and schemes are super. Still, let’s not forget that there is another very straightforward way to plant trees this year. You could simply head outside, dig a hole and plant a tree.
The Woodland Trust have some great and easy to follow online resources about how to go about selecting a seed and a site and getting your sapling into the earth. There are, of course, matters to consider when it comes to sourcing your tree, storing it before planting and tending to it as it grows.
Have a look at their info about picking a species that will thrive in your area.
8. Join An Urban Tree Planting Session: Trees For Cities
Are you keen on the idea of physically planting a tree, but is a concrete jungle all you can see from your window? You can volunteer with charity Trees For Cities. With the help of the players of the Peoples Postcode Lottery, they run urban planting sessions that anyone can join.
As well as the positive environmental impact you’ll have by doing this, it will help the tree planting mission in many other ways. It is a brilliant and educative activity for children to get involved with. It gets them off their devices, out of the virtual world and into the real one.
Group tree planting is also a good way to connect with a community of others who are passionate about sustainability. Compared to the indirect means of planting trees, this will really get you (literally) more grounded in your local green area. It’s good for mind and soul too- did you know that there are all kinds of ways that trees can help us?
Peoples Postcode Lottery Speaking of kids and trees, Trees For Cities run a Trees For Schools project too. It is helping the next generation to plant and learn about trees by working with London-based schools, whose kids do not have much access to nature.
9. Plant Trees By Surfing The Web: Ecosia
You can connect your keyboard directly to a leafy canopy. Ecosia is a pretty genius set up. It is a search engine that uses 80% of profits from your online searches to plant trees!
This German social business focuses on planting trees where they are needed most. As such, they do a lot of work in Indonesia and South America and with their local partners worldwide. They work with the Jane Goodall Foundation in Uganda, for example, to plant forest corridors that enable chimpanzees to move safely from one forest to another.
Unlike their dense woodland, Ecosia is a transparent company. They publish their monthly financial reports and planting receipts so that you can see how much money they make from your searches and what percentage of that goes towards planting trees. Their goal is to plant 1 billion trees, and so far they are on 80 million. It’s exciting and mesmerising to watch the numbers on their ‘now’ tree calculator climbing so fast....