Monday Program – Week in Review #3

From the recent stories of starving polar bears to the scorching hot temperatures recently recorded across continental Europe, minds all over the world have been thinking about climate change and the affects it seems to be having on the world around us. Although most are aware of climate change, few know how they can help play a role in combatting the issue. According to a journal published in Science Magazine, “planting billions of trees around the world would be the cheapest and most effective way to tackle the climate crisis. Since trees absorb carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming, a worldwide planting initiative could remove a substantial portion of heat-trapping emissions from the atmosphere.” The authors of this scientific study believe that planting trees at this scale would likely remove nearly 25% of the carbon dioxide emissions that have been put into the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution. The study also references Google Earth, stating that the usage of the technological mapping program can determine where there would be room to plant these trees without causing any interference with the urban or agricultural environments people live in. One of the study’s co-authors, Thomas Crowther of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology based in Zurich, stated that “This is by far — by thousands of times — the cheapest climate change solution.” Although planting the trees will be a major feat, the negative affects of climate change are happening at a rapid rate, and the health of the Earth and its ecosystem will continue to deteriorate if action isn’t taken soon. Jean-Francois Bastin, the lead author of the study, has come to the conclusion that China, Russia, the United States, Brazil, and Canada are amongst the countries with the most available space to start the process of reforestation. Earth is currently home to three billon trees, but Bastin believes there is room for at least another billion to be planted.

Climate change isn’t the only reason for a weakening ecosystem, human deforestation in the Amazon has become a major problem as acres of forests are being cut down every day to make room for agriculture. Professor Patricia Miloslavich who teaches in the Department of Environmental Studies at Universidad Simón Bolívar in Venezuela recently stated that “We have seen in the past that history has taught us there have been mass animal extinctions. This, however cannot be considered a mass extinction. This is a loss of species at an unprecedented rate due to human intervention.” The lack of understanding of the negative affects of deforestation for the Earth and the species that call forests their home mean that it’s unlikely that we will see a change in heart soon, but scientists believe that planting trees is a solution that any person can become involved in, as every new tree planted will be a step towards  making the Earth as healthy as it once was. 

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