activism

Digital initiatives to plant real trees

I live in one of the biggest cities in Poland, and as with any other city on the planet, I don’t have all that many trees around. Sure, there are parks and sometimes trees between the road and the buildings, but all in all, there are very few trees. What’s worse: new areas are rarely being planned with trees in mind.

Despite the fact that trees and forests are crucial to saving the environment and stopping climate change.

UN’s Sustainable Development Goals make note of the fact that around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, including 70 million indigenous people. On top of that forests are home to more than 80 percent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants, and insects.

Losing our forests is an unspeakable tragedy. And if the Amazon fires don’t have you depressed, remember that between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. 

To put it in perspective: Reforesting 350 million hectares of forest would move the date of Overshoot Day by 8 days.

It will come as no surprise when I tell you, I’m very aware of how many trees surround me at every moment. But because I live in the city center and not in my very own house with a backyard, I can’t actually plant trees to contribute that way.

Thankfully, there are ways for me to contribute. I’ve never really got into carbon offsetting (a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere), which the Internet has made easier to achieve.

Planting trees, on the other hand, I definitely wanted to get behind.

The two initiatives that really appealed to me lately were #TeamTrees and the Forest App.

#TeamTrees started in May 2019 when the internet challenged MrBeast to plant 20 million trees to celebrate hitting the 20M subscriber milestone on YouTube. At his audience’s suggestion, MrBeast teamed up with fellow YouTuber Mark Rober, and for 5 months they developed the campaign and organized their influencer friends and colleagues in order to have a fighting chance at achieving their insane goal: 20 million trees by 2020. #TeamTrees launched publicly on October 25th, announcing itself with a wave of #TeamTrees videos. As of writing this post, they raised over 15 million dollars, which will translate to over 15 million trees planted next year.

Meanwhile, Forest App is a productivity app that’s designed to keep you from using your phone and focusing on the task at hand. You plant digital trees in your forest and for every time period you set, you get a tree and a bunch of points (represented by coins). And here’s where the part I really love comes in: for every 2500 coins, you can plant a real-life tree. So far the app users planted over 580000 trees.

How do you contribute to planting new trees all over the globe? Are there initiatives you’re a fan of? Let me know on Twitter on in the comments below!

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