Vital People – Vital Planet
By Michael Stusser
We are deeply impressed with the stellar work of an international tree planting organization. WeForest, the source of the content below.
Our question is: How can the Osmosis community of staff and guests support this vitally important work?
“We are a global tribe of Climate-conscious citizens committed to Making Earth Cooler with trees. Why plant trees? Forests represent one of the largest, most cost effective climate solutions available today.”
With the Paris Agreement (COP21 in December 2015), world governments committed to limiting carbon emissions to keep global warming “well below” a 2°C rise above pre-industrial levels, and possibly below a 1.5°C rise. In order to achieve this we must achieve carbon neutrality by the second half of this century.
While reducing carbon emissions is critical, research suggests that even if carbon dioxide emissions came to a sudden halt, the carbon dioxide already in the Earth’s atmosphere could continue to warm our planet for hundreds of years. Therefore, the challenge is to not only reduce future carbon emissions, but to actively remove existing carbon from our atmosphere.
Trees are the best technology to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse global warming.
- Forests balance the Earth’s water-cycle essential for cooling our climate.
- In addition, forests play another vital role in stabilizing the climate by sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere and fixing it into soils and biomass.
- 50% of a tree’s biomass is carbon which remains stored, acting as a ‘carbon sink’, unless the tree decays or is burned.
- Global forests are estimated to hold more CO2 than the atmosphere.
More than 2 billion hectares of land (or the equivalent of 50% of the world’s forests) are degraded and have been identified as having potential for Forest Restoration. Restoring 350 million hectares of deforested and degraded soils by 2030 (the equivalent of 41% of the size of Brazil’s land surface), whilst at the same time reducing deforestation rates by half, may be enough to limit global warming to +2 °C The timing and extent of action is critical.
Women make up 70% of the world’s poor and earn only 10% of its income. Planting trees creates jobs. Restoration activities such as establishing tree nurseries, seed collection, tree planting and aftercare, create jobs that are inclusive of women and provide opportunities for them to become entrepreneurs.
Livelihood: often the problems of poverty and forest degradation are intertwined. Restoring forests, coupled with sustainable forest management, can help lift economies and provide business opportunities which depend on the protection and nurturing of natural resources.
Water: trees maintain a healthy soil filtration system which helps ensure water quality. They enhance water quantity by promoting cloud formation and precipitation, slowing surface ‘run-off’, stabilizing water course flow, and helping recharge groundwater reserves.
Soil: trees restore soils by enriching the organic content and protect them, preventing erosion and landslides. This benefits both climate and agriculture, yet 75% of world’s soils are considered degraded.
Biodiversity: forests are home to 80% of terrestrial biodiversity and house over two-thirds of known terrestrial species, including the largest share of threatened species. By restoring forests we help expand habitat ranges for both flora and fauna.
Oxygen: Forests are the lungs of the Earth, producing oxygen through the process of photosynthesis. They play a key role in generating air moisture content, generating air flow, and improving general air quality.
Clouds: Tropical forests are critical for regulating the climate because they not only absorb carbon, they increase cloud cover through transpiration and cloud nucleation, which helps cool the planet.
Carbon: 50% of a tree’s biomass is carbon which remains stored (unless the tree decays or is burned), acting as a ‘carbon sink’. In addition, trees are essential for preventing soil degradation and loss of carbon stored in soils.
This information is taken from the http://www.weforest.org/ website