On the global issue that is ‘Global Warming’ and the increasingly problematic issue of ‘Climate change’, how can we mitigate this and begin reversing the damage which has been done?
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
A famous quote by Martin Luther himself, so why is the consensus across most societies so contradictory of this? On the debate of climate change, let’s take this quote literally and ask why planting a tree is so difficult to justify? We all know the varied benefits that trees have been bringing to the ecosystem for millions of years so why the hesitation for some? Is it because we may not immediately feel the impacts of said tree? Or could it be that we simply do not believe in the idea that a single grain of rice might indeed, just tip that scale; but what if we didn’t think in this way, would you plant a tree? Could you do more? If you knew it would make a difference in years to come? Maybe, if we were all a little less dubious (which, let’s face it, is not entirely our fault!), we could begin to make that difference rather than talking ourselves out of it.
Tried and tested – bees! Without the global investment people have put into assisting our bee population to grow again by breeding and introducing new hives, protecting the species from extinction and the re-education of others – we would likely be looking at a very different future. The time invested in our Biodiversity and the bee population is aiding the survival of our race and other species whose life is reliant on the pollination process. Beehive management can be quite the science but there are a whole lot of training courses and professional support out there for the budding beekeeper; and the same goes for tree planting.
Every charity started somewhere and with supporters offering what they can, the numbers really make the difference. We need to change our outlook and begin to think of this as our charity, planet Earth’s charity, The Human Race Survival charity – dramatic it would seem, I know – but if we don’t where in the hell might we be in 50 years? Let’s go back to our stratospheric conundrum (and yes, I did mean that in its technical term rather than the informal synonymous meaning) … There are many contributions to it, of which I’m sure we can all name multiple but here’s mine, and it’s quite a shocker – Deforestation accounts for approximately 20% of the human generated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; rivalling cars, trucks and aeroplane emissions collectively?!
Fortunately, the world is responding to our Earth’s ‘cry for help’ (in the form of its fatal storms and record-breaking Summers), be it in different ways, we’re still working towards the same resolution. Since 2007, the UN led, ongoing initiative known as the Billion Tree Campaign is fighting in the battle against excess carbon in our atmosphere and a better world to live in. The method outcome has been consistent from the beginning: Some of the seedlings planted will restore springs long dry, prevent soil erosion and create fertilizer to boost harvests. Others will break the Sahara winds, halting the spread of desert sand dunes. Countless more will provide food for people, in rural areas and cities alike. Some will supply forage for livestock and for insects that pollinate crops. Many will produce wood and natural oils for building and for fuel. Yet others will be used to create medicines to heal the human body and essential oils to ease the soul. All will draw carbon dioxide from the air, leaving us a little less vulnerable to the threats posed by climate change.
Global, collaborative support is what has brought this campaign so much success since it began, along with a meaningful reason why. This is a combined effort, invested in by many individuals, groups, governments, organisations, and even the younger generations who understand that the world is changing by a rate at which mammals cannot evolve fast enough to keep up with; and so, we must change in other ways. Our thoughts on climate change, the way we treat our planet Earth, the way we operate daily, the way we run our buildings and which energy alternatives and solutions we can use to reduce emissions and operate smarter with environmental sustainability in mind; all of these suggestions are not so hard these days and some simple online research can really go a long way in getting us on the right path.
As an individual (or group of), here’s an idea – if each person in the UK (66.5m, 2018) planted one tree each, these would absorb approx. 266,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere annually. Scaling this up over a 10-year span, these trees would be absorbing approx. 2.6million tonnes (C02). That’s just a UK contribution. Combined with our collective awareness of greenhouse gases and a collaborative approach to running business, vehicles, homes etc., in a much more sustainable manner, we could be making a significant difference in our air quality and the health of our planet in the quest for a more ecologically stable future. Each and every person, group, organisation, country has the power to make a change do the right thing.
As for commercial building management and efficient, eco-friendlier running, property professionals have even more information available to them, but the first step should always be hiring a smart and specialist energy consultant with a commitment to helping you do the right thing. Alongside this should be a good, solid CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiative with world health being at the forefront, again because it’s the right thing to do. Use businesses who are supporting the same cause, because why not? You don’t have to be a big corporation, you could be a team of three operating in a multi-tenanted building, but you chose it because that building’s management team promotes and supports organisations committed to climate change mitigation, it’s ‘doing the right thing’. I believe this is what Martin Luther meant by the afore mentioned quote.
Plant the fruit tree not for a hedonistic search of momentary pleasure, but rather in the moral obligation of behaviour according to deep-rooted consequences, whatever the situation. Plant a tree because it gives fruit, even if you will never enjoy them personally. Plant a tree because it is the right thing to do.