In maintaining the environment’s critical balance, trees perform a unique function. As the longest-living plant species in the world, they are not only crucial for survival but also act as a bridge between the past, present, and future.
Tree planting was once upon a time something that only farmers, gardeners, and people with green thumbs would do. We relied heavily on these people (and nature) to keep our planet green. Today, however, tree planting is something everyone can partake in, regardless of age, geography, or gender. It’s a good thing, too, considering that deforestation and land abuse have made us need green cover more than ever before.
That said, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Can one plant a tree right in our garden? How do we choose the right tree for the right climate? How many trees can one person plant on their own? There are plenty of questions once you dive into the process of tree planting. We want to help you add the most value!
Ways to plant more trees this year
To help you get started, we’re recommending some excellent ways to embark on your tree planting journey!
1. Join an urban tree planting session
If you look outside your window and all you see is a concrete jungle, chances are you would love some trees to invite nature back into the city and make the air a little less polluted. It’s a fact that the city of the future (and the future of the city) is one that co-exists with forests. That involves trees planted in predominantly urban areas and thick forest cover surrounding them.
However, you can’t just go outside and plant any old tree, so we recommend joining an urban tree planting session. The NGOs and groups that organize these sessions usually evaluate when and where to plant the trees — and what trees to plant — so all you have to do to make a difference is show up.
2. Support businesses that plant and conserve trees
It’s common knowledge now that today’s consumers are eco-conscious and can make or break a brand. Although it may seem like a small action, supporting brands that actively conserve forests and populate deforested areas with more trees is a great way to get involved in the activity yourself. Many drops make an ocean, and so many actions send a signal to other companies who prioritize profit over the environment. A word to the wise: we recommend doing your due diligence, so you aren’t greenwashed. If you’re looking at supporting a company purely because they plant trees, it is worth doing your research and asking them questions, including where do they plant trees? Are they native species? Is the company supporting local communities through this? After all, “more trees” isn’t always the correct answer — but when done correctly, tree planting can make a massive difference.
3. Use your political rights to lobby for tree planting
No matter how many trees we plant on our own, people who have the power to change laws and policies also need to understand how urgent it is to increase the amount of forest cover. In addition to individual tree planting activities, systematic governmental power is essential for conserving the environment. You can start at the grassroots level by speaking to your local council and attending Town Hall meetings. You might find others of a like mind who are willing to add their voice to yours and make much louder noise. We’d also recommend looking at party manifestos and historical records to see which political parties have promised assistance for the environment and acted on it. Many NGOs put out petitions that you can sign to express your support. In a world where climate change is highly politicized, your voice, vote, and money count!
4. Adopt trees from a tree-planting organization
One way to bypass the confusion of where to plant and what trees to plant is to partner up with an existing tree-planting organization. These global organizations have spent years researching what areas of the world are in desperate need of forest cover and how their support can uplift local communities. You can start by reading their documentation which should ideally answer all the questions we addressed in point #2. Start small by adopting one or two trees.
EcoMatcher allows you to do so for a minimal price and gives you complete access to information about the tree, including species, where it’s planted, who the farmer is, and how well it’s growing year on year. You can even visit the tree at its location if you want to see it yourself!
This is a great way to do many good deeds at once: green the earth, reforest an area that needs it, uplift a local community, and signal to the world that you’re using your purchasing power on companies that benefit the planet. All without actually needing to plant the tree yourself!
5. Plant trees with every internet search
8.5 billion — that’s the number of searches Google processes in a single day. And each of these searches emits about 7 grams of carbon dioxide into the environment. If you do the math, you’ll see an alarming amount of CO2 being sent into the atmosphere from something we do almost without thinking. But today, you can offset your carbon emissions with each search by simply switching your search engine from Google to one like Ecosia. According to the company, every 45 searches on Ecosia generates enough profit to plant one tree. They focus on tree planting initiatives in areas with high biodiversity to preserve the greatest number of plant and animal species.
6. Donate to a tree-planting charity
Many local communities already have decades of expertise in planting trees, but often don’t have the funds for upkeep and maintenance. As a result, their well-meaning interest is of little value — but you can help. Donating to a local community that plants trees, or a tree-planting charity if you’re in the city, is a great way to give funds to those who need them and indirectly plant trees. If you want to double your contributions, consider asking your employer to match your donation as a CSR initiative. If entire teams do this, you can generate a lot of money to give to vetted charities that increase forest cover on your behalf.
Bonus: Give as much importance to conservation as to reforestation. We have thick forest cover in many parts of the world today, but they’re in immense danger already. Using your political and financial power to protect and preserve existing forests will make your tree planting work all the more potent!
The final word
While “go out and plant a tree in your backyard!” is straightforward advice, it’s not valuable because it doesn’t consider the nuances of tree planting, one’s financial abilities, and where we live. Instead, by following one (or a few) of these steps, you’ll be able to plant trees directly or indirectly and help green the planet much more! If done consciously and in the right places with suitable species, tree planting can help us bring a little more balance back into the world.