For my birthday in October, both of my sisters asked me what I wanted as a present. Partially as a joke, but partially in a bid to be less consumerism-centric, I asked them to buy me some trees. Whilst I think they were a bit bemused by my request, they respected my wishes and purchased 2 trees for me to go and plant in ‘The National Forest‘. Thus, a couple of weeks ago, I found myself awake at the ridiculous time of 6.30am (on a Saturday!) so that I could catch a train and 2 buses up to bonny Leicestershire – to a spot on the eastern edge of the forest.
The National Forest describes itself ‘one of the country’s boldest environmental projects’ and is aiming to transform 200square miles of land in central England into a flourishing forest. Since 1992 they’ve planted over 10 million trees, but there’s still a fair way to go in order to finish it.
For anyone who wasn’t aware, trees are a pretty vital part of our ecosystem. Not only are they the ‘lungs of the earth’, releasing the oxygen that we require to breathe, but they also act as ‘carbon sinks‘, locking up some of the carbon dioxide that would otherwise be milling around in the atmosphere. In this respect, trees can be seen as a real solution to climate change, and we should try to restore as much of the world’s forested areas as possible.
So, I planted 2 trees on that day. A mighty oak and a pretty little cherry. I tried to calculate how much CO2 they would likely sequester during their lifetime, but it’s not that easy to do. So whilst I can’t be sure of exactly how much of my own footprint will be mitigated by these 2 little beauties: what I can be certain of, is that once they’re fully grown, those 2 trees will provide vital habitats for other plants, insects and wildlife too – maybe they’ll even help in the effort to save the bees.
It’s week 13 of the Sustainable Revolution, and I’m asking people to plant some trees. Whether it’s physically doing it yourself in your back garden, getting involved in a tree planting project (such as The National Forest or Trees for Cities), or asking for your next birthday present to be a sapling – all are equally helpful in the fight against climate change and the move towards a sustainable society.
If anyone wants to know more about how planting trees could be really great for our ecosystem, I’d highly recommend reading Feral by George Monbiot. If you do/have read it, let me know your thoughts on rewilding!