From a small sapling, a strong and mighty tree can grow as a permanent reminder of a loved one or that our forests are the key to tackling the root cause of climate change. This is a belief firmly held by the not-for-profit international organisation The World Economic Forum.
They claim they are the secret weapon to fighting global warming.
A single mature tree absorbs 22kg of CO2 from the atmosphere every year while recent research states forests are capable of storing quantities of carbon dioxide emissions which are equivalent of entire countries such as Peru and Colombia.
Deforestation is also a major concern. According to leading independent conservation organisation World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Earth loses 18.7 million acres of forest every year which is equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute. Plus, deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for at least 15 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
For this reason, natural climate solutions such as planting trees need to be a priority. But how can we get involved and plant a tree?
The National Forest Company are encouraging people to ‘Plant a Tree. Plant a Memory.’
Whether you are planting to tackle climate change or as a tribute to someone, you can join one of their tree-planting events during autumn and winter. Not only would it help global warming and deforestation, but wildlife and habitats also.
‘Planting a tree is a therapeutic exercise. The very process of planting a tree yourself is very beneficial; it produces a feel-good factor for yourself,’ says woodland officer at the organisation, Simon Greenhouse.
‘You are contributing to nature, but if you are also celebrating the birth of a baby, the connection with that event which you are now connecting with the Earth by planting a tree, that you know will become part of a woodland and be there in perpetuity, is a nice thing to do. You can reflect on that event in the future and think ‘my tree is still out there growing and becoming a woodland’ and that’s a really nice feeling,’ he adds.
The sense of community is also a big part of the event.
‘It’s always a busy planting field when it’s in full swing, so there’s quite a nice buzz,’ explains Simon, ‘to have pools of energy from a number of different people, you feel like you have got a common goal. You might begin with quite sad thoughts if you are planting for a memory, but someone else might be celebrating a birthday. Although you are very much involved with your tree, your process, you can’t help but feel there is something overriding and that helps to pull people together.’
‘It’s a really wonderful thing to do because it’s nice to be part of something with other people; it’s really well organised, it’s outdoors, it’s within the heart of the country, and there’s a very diverse range of people, and you are part of that bigger community spirit.’
‘We plant in all-weather unless the ground is frozen solid in which case you can’t get the spade in,’ laughs Simon.
There are a variety of saplings, from a range of native broadleaf species, available to choose from. Simon hopes to plant 500 trees through the scheme over the next year.
They run two events every year which take place from November to March at their Brookvale Wood site in Leicestershire. The next event is 14 March 2020. Each participant receives a personalised certificate in recognition of planting a tree and attending the event.
Graham Morris, from Yorkshire, who planted a tree says: ‘It is a perfect way to commemorate a special day or the passing of a loved one while improving our present environment and having a legacy for future generations.’