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The most effective way to tackle climate change? Plant 1 trillion trees

The most effective way to tackle climate change? Plant 1 trillion trees


London (CNN)What’s low-tech, sustainable and possibly the most effective thing we can do to fight climate change? Planting trees. A trillion of them.


Tom Crowther is a climate change ecologist at Swiss university ETH Zurich. Four years ago he found there are about 3 trillion trees already on earth — much higher than NASA’s previous estimate of 400 billion. Now, his team of researchers has calculated there is enough room on the planet for an additional 1.2 trillion — and that planting them would have huge benefits in terms of absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the main driver of climate change.
“The amount of carbon that we can restore if we plant 1.2 trillion trees, or at least allow those trees to grow, would be way higher than the next best climate change solution,” Crowther told CNN.

Global tree density, calculated by Crowther's team. Existing forests are shown in green, potential forests are yellow.


Because his research is currently under review for publication in the journal Science, he says he can’t share exact figures of how much extra CO2 could be stored by those trees. But he points to numbers from Project Drawdown — a non-profit that ranks climate solutions by the amount of CO2 they could remove from the atmosphere. Its number one ranked solution — managing the release of HFC greenhouse gases from fridges and air conditioners — could reduce atmospheric CO2 by 90 billion tons. Crowther says planting 1.2 trillion trees would give a reduction “way above” that figure.
To put that in context, global CO2 emissions are around 37 billion tons per year.

Can it be done?

But while there may be space for a trillion new trees, is it actually practical to plant that number?
One organization that thinks so is youth-led Plant for the Planet (PFTP), which is running the “Trillion Tree” campaign to do just that.
Set up as the “Billion Tree” campaign by the UN in 2006, it was later handed over to PFTP, which has upped its planting ambitions in response to Crowther’s work.

Felix Finkbeiner founded Plant for the Planet in 2007, when he was just nine years old. He is now a PhD student at Tom Crowther's lab at ETH Zurich. He's pictured at an award ceremony in 2015.

It has already planted nearly 15 billion trees, with the help of various governments, including India’s, which has planted more than 2 billion trees as part of the initiative.
“I think a trillion trees is achievable,” says PFTP chairman Sagar Aryal. “It’s not that we don’t have enough money in the world — maybe governments alone can’t do enough but if we work together with the private sector we can do it.”

The right location

Crowther is a scientific adviser to Plant for the Planet, providing them with information on the best places to restore trees. He says all the locations identified by his team are on degraded land, rather than agricultural or urban areas.
“These are places where farms have been abandoned, or where there’s been deforestation and it’s been left,” he explains.
To successfully fight climate change, it’s vital that the right land is restored. For example, in parts of northern Europe, planting more trees could reduce the heat and light reflected from snowy ground, and actually increase global warming.

A chemically deforested area of the Amazon caused by illegal mining in southeast Peru,  February 2019.


Joseph Veldman, of the department of ecosystem science and management at Texas A&M University, told CNN that although reforestation can play a role in carbon sequestration, “There is no doubt that super-aggressive tree planting efforts that are not done with consideration of the historic ecosystem will be a bad investment.”
He says some previous reforestation projects have targeted grasslands and savannah ecosystems that already play an important role in storing carbon.
Such schemes often plant exotic trees, like pine and eucalyptus, which are very flammable and also valuable as timber and pulp, he says. As a result, the carbon they store above ground can be lost to wildfires or logging.
Crowther agrees wholeheartedly. “All the models that previously existed about where forest can be restored disregard whether they should,” he said. “We don’t just model the forest, we also model grasslands and shrublands and piece them all together to reveal what should be where.”

Growing in popularity

Tree planting is no quick climate fix. It can take 30 to 40 years of growth for the carbon storage to reach its full potential. A more immediate benefit can come from halting deforestation, says Crowther, which costs our planet around 15 billion trees each year.
But although tree planting on such a colossal scale faces significant challenges (not least identifying who owns the land in question, and securing the rights to plant and maintain trees there), widespread efforts are already underway.
The Australian government has announced it will plant 1 billion trees by 2030; work is underway on a “Great Green Wall” to stop the spread of the Sahara by restoring 100 million hectares of degraded land (and sequester 250 million tons of carbon), and China’s anti-desertification program, also known as the “Great Green Wall,” has planted more than 50 billion trees since the 1970s. The UN-endorsed Bonn Challenge aims to reforest 350 million hectares of degraded land globally by 2030.

Africa's Great Green Wall aims to slow down desertification.


Crowther says he was once skeptical about the benefits of tree planting, but has now changed his mind.
“Climate change is seen as such an immense and complicated issue — it feels like it’s seen as someone else’s problem, someone else is dealing with it or not dealing with it, and no one has a simple message for how to go about tackling it,” he says.
“I’d like to try and champion this as a solution that everyone can get involved in. If all the millions of people who went on climate marches in recent weeks got involved in tree planting the impact would be huge.”
Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment

Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment

The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment is a charity which exists to improve the quality of people’s lives by teaching and practicing timeless and ecological ways of planning, designing and building.


Respecting the past, building the future

The Prince’s Foundation supports people to create community. Whether through championing a sustainable approach to how we live our lives and build our homes, teaching traditional arts and skills and restoring historic sites, or by looking after places to visit for everyone to enjoy, The Prince’s Foundation is leading the way forward.


Realising HRH The Prince of Wales’ Vision of creating harmonious communities

The Prince’s Foundation supports people to create community. Whether through championing a sustainable approach to how we live our lives and build our homes, teaching traditional arts and skills and restoring historic sites, or by looking after places to visit for everyone to enjoy, The Prince’s Foundation is leading the way forward.

The Prince’s Foundation was created by the merging of The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust and The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in 2018. This combined force enables the charity to achieve His Royal Highness’s goal of creating harmonious communities, through three core tiers.

Realising HRH The Prince of Wales’s vision of creating harmonious communities. Respecting the Past, Building the Future.



Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment

Mission: Sustainability

There is overwhelming scientific consensus that our world is experiencing dangerous global climate change, and equally overwhelming evidence that environmental pollutants are harming our health.  It is urgent that we take immediate steps to minimize carbon emissions, reduce other pollutants, and remove unsustainable materials and harmful chemical inputs from all furnishings product platforms.  SFC supports members of the industry in taking those steps. 


The Sustainable Furnishings Council is a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry.


Our mission is to help companies reduce their environmental footprints as they grow, and to help consumers find healthy furnishings.  To accomplish these lofty goals, we provide the best education, promotion, and networking opportunities available.  We raise consumer interest in environmentally safe furnishings and promote the development of many more sustainable options.


SFC urges the use of Life Cycle Assessment as the best method for analyzing the environmental and health impact of products and a verifiable chain of custody as the only acceptable method for tracking wood flow. SFC members support the triple bottom line of PEOPLE – PLANET – PROFITS and lead the industry in best practices throughout their supply chains. Members are committed to continuous work toward a healthy future, inside and out.


Our goals are to:

  • Raise awareness of sustainability issues
  • Assist companies in adopting eco-friendly practices
  • Serve as an information clearinghouse
  • Provide a symbol of assurance for consumers



The Sustainable Furnishings Council was created and organized in the showroom of our founder, Gerry Cooklin, at High Point in October, 2006.


For years, Gerry had pursued sustainability as a personal passion. He had an awakening moment while camping in the Sierra Nevadas when he encountered a magnificent Juniper tree at an elevation of over 11,000 feet. He was humbled and, in an instant, recognized his duty to protect the rainforest, a prime source of wood for his furniture company, South Cone. He worked to “green up” his own manufacturing operations and to make a significant difference in his native Peru.  Further, he started to organize small meetings at the High Point Furniture Market, which eventually blossomed into the founding meeting of SFC with some 70 members present. The SFC has since grown to over 400 members, the largest organization of its kind in residential furnishings.


Our structure has been key to our success.  By reaching out to all constituencies in the industry, and including environmental heavyweights like Rainforest Alliance, World Wildlife Fund, a founder of the US Green Building Council as well as retailers, manufacturers, designers, and suppliers, we maintain a crucial balance in perspective. We welcome one and all to join us in doing our part for a healthy future!


Good Business That’s Good for Business

Importantly, we note that sustainability has become a mandate among the buying public. As consumers become more educated, they seek out acceptable choices that meet their needs for style, value, and eco-responsibility. Our organization is known for its rigorous compliance with established sustainability standards to ensure that all members are demonstrably committed to ongoing improvement.


In 2008, we launched a public advertising and in-store tagging program for consumers to identify retailers and products that exceed our threshold sustainability standards. Our Standards Committee reviews all legitimate, independent certification programs to establish eligibility requirements. All who joined in 2007, our debut year, are designated Founding Members and we appreciate what their commitment has made possible.


The time is now — the solution starts with you!

Read all about this inspiring foundation here…


Climate Change Leadership – Porto Summit 2019

Climate Change Leadership – Porto Summit 2019

WHEN:  7th March 2019, 13:00 – 19:00 hrs

WHERE:  Porto, Alfândega Conference Centre

About The Summit


On the last day, following the wine industry debate, the conference will culminate with the second edition of the Climate Change Leadership Porto summit attended by world-class climate change experts and activists. Nobel Laureate and former US Vice-President Al Gore will be the Keynote Speaker. Other speakers include UN Champion of the Earth for the world’s largest beach clean-up project, Afroz Shah; Director-General of WWF International Marco Lambertini; Kaj Török, Chief Sustainability Officer at MAX Burgers, the World’s First Climate-Positive Burgers.


The event follows the Climate Change Leadership Summit 2018 held in Porto last July at which the keynote address was given by President Barack Obama. The key outcome of this summit was the launch of the Porto Procotol, which commits its participants to adopt and promote concrete actions, however small, to help reduce the impact of a changing climate. While this important global initiative recognises that the wine industry is uniquely well placed to take a leadership role in climate change mitigation, the Protocol welcomes the participation of institutions, companies and individuals from all areas of activity.


The Climate Change Leadership Porto Summit will create a unique convergence of expertise, wisdom and inspiration, bringing together some of the world’s leading scientists and authorities on climate change and the environment.

photo source:

Al Gore

Nobel Prize Laureate and former Vice-President of the USA. Al Gore is the cofounder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, and the founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit devoted to solving the climate crisis.


He is the author of the #1 New York Times best-sellers An Inconvenient Truth and The Assault on Reason, and the best-sellers Earth in the Balance, Our Choice: A Plan To Solve the Climate Crisis, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, and most recently, The New York Times best-seller An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

He is the subject of the documentary movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won two Oscars in 2006 — and a second documentary in 2017, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.”

In 2007, Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”

Free Zero Emission Day in San Francisco — September 13th 2018!

Free Zero Emission Day in San Francisco — September 13th 2018!

WHEN :  SEPTEMBER 13th, 2018

Free Zero Emission Travel for Climate Summit Delegates and Public


GenZe and Their Partners Scoot and Ford GoBike Team Up for September Event

The Global Climate Action Summit is today announcing it is partnering with GenZe, a leading manufacturer of electric bikes and scooters, and their transportation collaborators, in order to include the community in the landmark event taking place in mid September.

To make this happen, the Summit is offering a ‘free ride day’ for the entire city of San Francisco on all Scoots and Ford GoBikes on Thursday, September 13. Attendees of the event will also have free access to both Scoots and Ford GoBikes for the entire week.

Ford GoBike recently expanded their fleet to include GenZe electric bikes, and Scoot has been using GenZe electric scooters as part of their zero emissions fleet for several years.

“This partnership is a way for us to demonstrate San Francisco is a global leader in personal sustainable transportation. Although they are independent programs, Ford GoBike and Scoot have managed to seamlessly integrate into the city’s existing systems and infrastructure and make the gateway to entry effortless for new riders.” Vish Palekar, CEO, GenZe.

“There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the 2 share systems. Some riders have a personal preference for one product over another. And certain trips and errands work best with a particular product,” Vish Palekar, CEO, GenZe.

By providing free rides on all Scoot and Ford GoBike vehicles, the community will be able to try out the different sustainable options within the two fleets and see how each vehicle works best for certain applications.


Scoot operates shared networks of electric vehicles, ranging from electric bikes and kick scooters to motor scooters. Scoot operates thousands of light electric vehicles in San Francisco and Barcelona serving tens of thousands of riders monthly.

Scoot’s mission is to reduce global carbon emissions and traffic congestion that consistently plagues cities. In San Francisco alone, our riders have to date prevented over five million pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Scoot’s app is available for download on iOS and Android phones. The company launched in Barcelona this summer and plans to enter additional cities across Western Europe and the Americas throughout the next year.

During the GCAS, all Summit attendees will receive a promo code for the Free Unlimited Plan, which offers unlimited 30 minute rides for free.

For Free Ride Day on September 13, Scoot will offer 30 minutes of free scooting to all new and existing riders in San Francisco. Existing Scoot riders will have credit added to their accounts. New riders can use the promo code GCAS18 to receive the credit. Rides beyond the 30 minutes start at just 10 cents/minute, depending on the plan. Check back here soon for more information.


Launched earlier this year, Ford GoBike is already an integral part of the Bay Area’s transportation network. With over 300 bike share stations and more than 3,000 bikes across San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville, the system has provided more than 1.5 million rides in just over a year.

Bike sharing is a fun, healthy and sustainable transportation option available during the Global Climate Action Summit and beyond. You can find Ford GoBikes at hundreds of stations across the Bay Area. In San Francisco, there are over 130 stations including these stations located near the Moscone Convention Center:
• Yerba Buena Center (Howard St at 3rd St.)
• Howard St. at Mary St.
• Folsom St. at 3rd St.
• Powell St. BART (4th St. at Market St.)

Summit attendees will receive a Free Access Pass, which allows for an unlimited number of 30 minute rides during a 24-hour period and can be activated at any point during the Summit.

In celebration of this inaugural Summit, Ford GoBike is also offering a Free Ride Day for the entire Bay Area on Thursday, September 13. Free passes will be available in the Ford GoBike app and will give locals access to free rides, up to 30 minutes at a time, throughout the day.

On Free Ride Day or using a Free Access Pass, all bike rides longer than 30 minutes are just $3 for each additional 15 minutes. Check back here soon for more detail on how to activate the attendee Free Access Pass and participate in the Free Ride Day.

Here’s the link to the Climate Global Action Summit website

What you can do to reduce microfiber pollution

What you can do to reduce microfiber pollution

It’s incredibly frustrating to think that the very clothes that allow us to enjoy the great outdoors are also contributing to polluting it.

We’re all dumping tiny plastic fragments into the water.


article by Starre Vartan

The issue of plastic pollution in our environment has become a huge problem, and quickly. In the past few decades, our use of all types of plastics has skyrocketed — especially single-use disposables, which 40 percent of plastics are. And in that short time, plastics feel like they’ve become entrenched in our culture. I know know even though I try pretty hard, I still end up using a lot more than I want to. Even worse? Many of us are polluting with plastics despite our best intentions, just by washing our clothes.

Maybe you’ve heard about microplastic pollution. Every time we wash synthetic fabrics like polyester, which is just a yarn made from plastic, very small pieces break off and flow down the drain into our local waterways. No, water-treatment plants can’t catch all the pieces. And the older the fabrics, the more fibers they shed in the wash, so those of us who keep our clothes for decades to save both money and resources, are actually the biggest offenders when it comes to microplastic shedding.

No, it doesn’t matter what kind of polyester, nylon, or combo-synthetic fabric you use, this microfiber shedding in the washing machine happens whether you buy a fleece or yoga pants made with virgin materials or made from recycled bottles.

Once these fibers get into the local river and beyond, “they act like sponges, sucking up other pollutants around them,” explains the Story of Stuff project, which is raising awareness and seeking solutions to this issue. They’re like little toxic bombs full of motor oil, pesticides, and industrial chemicals that end up in the bellies of fish and eventually in the bellies of us. It’s gross. It’s already estimated there are 1.4 million trillion in our oceans. That’s like 200 million microfibers for every person on the planet!”

So, what are the potential fixes to microplastic pollution?

For the most part, the key to addressing this issue is going to be up to textile manufacturers and the fashion companies that use their materials — which is discouraging, considering how long its taken companies to deal with the labor abuses and other environmental issues endemic to the fashion industry.

But that’s who has to make the change, figuring out a way to make fabrics in such a way that they don’t shed tiny fibers. We need to keep talking about this issue and get clothing companies to come up with solutions, with some caveats.

As the Story of Stuff explains, “There are some roads that we don’t want to go down; for example, the idea of a chemical coating to prevent microfiber release could cause more problems than it solves if those chemicals are also bad for the environment and human health.” So let the companies you buy stuff from know what you think about this issue; when you’re in the store trying on clothes, ask an associate what their plan is and how the company is tackling the issues — especially any outdoor company, since their business model should take into account keeping pollution out of the places we wear their clothes.

Another industry ally could be the companies that make washing machines. As Mary Jo Dilonardo reported here on MNN: “It would be really great if the washing machine companies would get on board and come up with a filter to trap these microfibers,” Caitlin Wessel, regional coordinator for NOAA’s Marine Debris Program, told the AP.

But there are issues with that idea: “The problem is that there are already 89 million washing machines in the United States, and we don’t think it’s realistic to retrofit all of those machines. What’s more, we don’t know how or if this type of filtering would even work. At the end of the day, this problem is the responsibility of the clothing industry, not washing machine manufacturers,” points out The Story of Stuff.

But you can also tackle this issue personally by making some simple changes in what you buy and your laundry routine:

Wash your clothes less frequently: Plenty of us throw our clothes into the laundry even when they’re not really dirty, to avoid putting them away. This is a waste of water resources (and energy, if they’re dried in the dryer). But it also contributes to microfiber pollution every time you wash. So if you wash less, fewer fibers get loose. So wear that fleece a few more times before tossing it into the wash, or wear a cotton undershirt beneath your polyester tops or dresses, so you can simply wash the undershirt and not the whole dress or blouse each time you wear them.

Wear only natural fibers: Choosing only 100 percent natural-fiber clothing like wool, alpaca, cashmere, cotton, linen and silk is one way to avoid sending microplastics into the environment, since when these materials are washed, the fibers they lose are biodegradable. I’ve actually gone this route over the last few years; I haven’t actively thrown away good clothing, but when it’s come time to replace a jacket, I have gotten a boiled-wool sweater instead. I find natural fibers to be much more comfortable against my skin and less stinky too, when it comes to workout wear, meaning I need to wash them less.

Use a fiber-collecting device in your washing machine: There are a few out there, like the Guppyfriend, which collects microfibers inside a bag. You can then scoop them out and toss them in the trash, where at least they won’t work their way into the water supply. There’s also the Cora Ball, which might be easier to use, since it collects whatever microfibers loosen in a whole load of wash. Besides, you might not know exactly what clothes are even made from if labels wear off over time.

There’s no simple solution to our plastics problem, whether we’re talking microfibers or single-use plastics or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Dealing with any of it will require time, money, ingenuity, individual behavior change and — toughest of all — getting large companies to change their business models. Because right now, the capitalist structure that we all live within requires constant growth for every company, and the faster the growth, the better. So, the more plastic we use, the more stuff we consume, the better for financial bottom lines — even if it’s worse for our health and the health of the planet.

Link to original article …