PlantABillion.Org: Growing a Forest of Change

I’ll always remember the first tree I planted.

It was a Loblolly pine, one of many once given out annually by my old elementary school. As it was my first tree, I planted it in the front yard by the pine trees of two of my brothers. Through the years I watched my tree grow like a mother watches her child.

In Brazil there is a campaign by The Nature Conservancy [whose purpose was recently covered in an article by fellow TSCB writer Laura Istead] to Plant a Billion trees. Trees like the Ice-Cream Bean, the Golden Trumpet, the Capororoca and the Guapuruva  to begin the reforestation of the Atlantic forest. Currently, the forest is at 12% of its former glory and only 7% of that is conserved…

Factors threatening  the Atlantic forest are coastal development, urban expansion, agriculture, exotic plantations, ranching and illegal logging.

If you’re longing for visual motivation on the matter check out TNC’s video:

But why Brazil?

Well, you’ve been hearing it since you were little: The rain forests in South America provide us with the greatest carbon-fixing/oxygen-releasing kick-like-a-Bhut-Jolokia-chili-pepper action on earth. This lung of the earth, as described by the Nature Conservancy, needs enhancement surgery in order to help fight climate change. Procedures that seeks to maintain the intricate and diverse biological processes and balances that are in place in Brazil and around the globe. Since it’s inception in 2008, over 9 million trees have been planted with the Nature Conservancy as the lead surgeon. The nurses in this delicate process  who will direct plantings to areas of interest such as severely deforested areas or to increase biological diversity of trees are non-governmental organizations, private stakeholders, municipal, state and federal government/agencies and….you.

Your surgical tool? A spade.

A spade in the hands of a Brazilian plunging into the earth not to cause harm but to begin the process of mending and healing that will initiate the restoration of our planet. A spade that will impact how future generations live and breath. For just a dollar, planting even one tree in the Atlantic forest can help reduce your carbon footprint. A tree is recorded to fix between 700-7000lbs of carbon over it’s lifetime [which for most trees is over 60 years]. By calculating your carbon footprint you can determine how many trees to plant (or you can be quite generous).

Here’s what we can do together

With this year designated as the International Year of Forests let’s give a dollar to plant a tree, or make a monthly donation to plant enough trees eventually to cover acres thus creating a forest. You may want to consider passing the buck by planting a tree but sending a gift over to someone you know telling them about the campaign.

Go further and create your own fundraising page (make it personal!) and/or take to social media outlets to tell the world of your donations. Some of these only require a few moments of your time; others require more dedication yet in the end the goal is to restore.

There is a sense of pride in planting a tree and watching it grow. I only have one picture of my tree taken shortly before the tree succumbed to a common ailment that affects pine trees.

I know I have some more work to do to offset my carbon footprint. Though those trees no longer reside in my parent’s yard, the memories linger strongly. How much more would those memories linger if I’d planted a forest? An Atlantic forest, at that.

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