Taking advantage of the unusually high temperatures prevailing this year, Greg Peebles of Toronto launched a tree planting campaign on August 6, 2018. “Global leaders might deny the reality of global warming, and its disastrous impact on the environment; but we cannot afford to assume an ostrich attitude. Burying our heads in the sand won’t reverse the rising of sea levels, or the melting of polar caps and permafrost,” he said while kicking off the campaign.
Back in May, Peebles had announced launching a charity to work in diverse areas through which he would be able to give back to society in some measure what he had received over the years. Since sustainability was the bottom line of all the activities he had lined up, it makes sense to begin at the beginning.
"Mother earth must survive."
He says, “Mother earth must survive for all of us to do so. Therefore, it is vital to reduce our carbon footprints as well as we can.” Given that the average temperature of the earth has risen between 0.4 and 0.8°C over the past 100 years, the urgency to do something increases proportionately. Since human agency is the main culprit as the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report indicated; more and more ordinary citizens need to come forward to take measures to reverse this global warming.
Scientific Research Takes Time
Scientific research can’t be conducted within given timelines as outcomes can’t be predicted. Therefore, the switch to affordable non-conventional sources of energy is unlikely to occur any time soon. Even the search for affordable renewable sources of energy will take time. This makes concerted tree planting actions even more valuable. Most trees are conducive to fighting the greenhouses gases humans are generating daily.
Changed rainfall patterns:
Global warming has led to changed patterns of rainfall thereby flooding areas which would normally have received scanty rainfall, and increasing periods of drought in other areas. This is pushing the deserts further into the forest and agrarian areas. Much of the mischief is rooted in the practice of clearing forests to make way for farmlands.
“Be the Change You Desire to See in People”
Peebles has taken a leaf out of this famous Gandhi quote, and has decided to head a reforestation drive to counter the worst effects of climate change. After all, trees are the lungs of this planet. By absorbing carbon dioxide, and giving off oxygen, trees reduce carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. Planting trees would reverse global warming through their cooling effect on the atmosphere. One tree can effect the same cooling as twenty air conditioners.
Don’t Wait for Governments to Act
It might prove suicidal for humans around the globe to wait for their respective governments to institute measures to mitigate, and reverse climate change. Peebles is trying to demonstrate the power of one by initiating the reforestation drive. He has taken inspiration from an Amazonian forest which is wholly manmade, and can provide entire tribes with food.
“Protection is the keyword.”
Logically, if every adult in the world plants a tree, and nurtures it, then it would significantly replenish the earth’s green cover in a decade or so. By providing food, protection, and homes for many birds, reptiles, and mammals, trees do more to protect the environment than any other means. Trees like the azadirachta indica of the mahogany family remove bacteria from the air around them. Though few people realize it, trees contribute to soil and water conservation, as they prevent stormwater runoff, and prevent soil erosion on mountainsides.
Perennial Trees Are Better Options
Given the cruel winters in Canada where even -100 C in December or January would be considered warm weather, Peebles recommends planting perennial trees hereabouts — trees which would not need to be preserved in a hothouse, but which can survive winter.
“Regeneration and biodiversity encouraged.”
Of course, those who live in more temperate climates should choose trees which are more appropriate for the region, such as trees which can regenerate after being cut provided that six inches of the tree trunk are left above the ground. This will encourage biodiversity while reclaiming wastelands. Practicing agro-forestry would ensure that food is grown too. But that’s another story.