There’s no denying that climate change is altering the world. Some of these changes we can anticipate, but others we are learning about in real time. And even though everyone who’s examined the evidence knows that climate change is occurring and that it is bad, some nations are sitting idly by and acting like their hands are tied.
Others are fighting for the future.
That is exactly what the country of Ireland is trying to do. Over the next 22 years, Ireland has committed to planting 22 million trees each year, totaling to 440 million trees by the year 2040.
Many believe that “revegetating” the natural environment can help to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. The tree-planting initiative is part of the Irish government’s overall plan to combat climate change, which involves getting to carbon neutral by 2050.
The plan calls for farmers to plant trees, and they will be incentivized for doing so. It’s a bit tricky: some argue that farmers should not be required to plant trees on their own land because it will take away property from their economic crops and cattle. Others have suggested that farmers let land revegetate on its own, so forests can develop naturally.
While there would be greater species diversity if a forest naturally revegetated, it would also take longer for trees to mature that way.
It’s estimated that there are about 3 trillion trees on Earth and that roughly 15 billion are cut down every year by humans.
The action plan from the Irish government says:
“Taking decisive action to confront climate disruption will be a major challenge to every dimension of our society, but the benefits are huge – warmer homes, cleaner air, a sustainable use of the world’s scarce resources, more connected communities, authentic values, and quality jobs in enterprises which can compete in a decarbonised world. This is everyone’s journey. From Government to businesses, communities to householders, climate action is collective action. The Climate Action Plan sets out the Government agenda; see what you can do to play your part.”
If Ireland can do it, it seems like the United States could manage the same, don’t you think?