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Petition calls on world leaders to protect and restore forests worldwide

January 29th, 2020
topic:Deforestation
by:Yair Oded
tags:climate crisis, conservation, forests, NGO, petition, rain forests, United Nations

Back in 2018, the The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released a comprehensive report in which it deems that in order to avoid the most catastrophic implications of climate change, governments will have to take drastic actions to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

One of the factors exacerbating the pollution of the atmosphere and increasing the concentration of carbon dioxide in it is the mass deforestation taking place across the globe. Trees, by nature, constitute one of the most effective sources of CO2 sequestering, and the global annihilation of forests deprives the planet of its most valuable mechanism designed to maintain ecological homeostasis. 

A Change.org petition launched by the Growing Air Foundation calls on the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to mobilise an effort by world leaders to protect and restore forests around the world. 

Globally, 19 percent of all carbon is stored in plants, and trees specifically play a crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide (the principal greenhouse gas leading to global warming) emitted both naturally and due to human activities. They do so through a process called photosynthesis, during which they sequester, or absorb, CO2 from the atmosphere and use it as food. While the carbon dioxide absorbed by plants ultimately finds its way back to the atmosphere, trees consume significantly more CO2 than they ultimately release. 

As mentioned by the Growing Air Foundation, “One acre of trees removes up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide each year.” Furthermore, in the U.S. alone, forests absorb 14 percent of all CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere by the national economy. 

Deforestation does not only weaken the Earth’s greatest natural source of carbon absorption but also exacerbates the release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, by causing the burned or ravaged trees and plants to emit the CO2 they stored. 

Sequestering CO2 is not the only way in which trees preserve the planet and maintain ecological balance. They also stabilise the soil and prevent erosion through their roots, improve water quality by slowing and filtering rainwater, and generate sources of nutrition for countless species. 

Initiatives of various scales to resuscitate and expand forestry take place across the world.  China has made the headlines when in 2018 it sent 60,000 soldiers to plant trees and create new forests as a way to tackle air-pollution. According to a report by China’s National Afforestation Committee, the government was successful in  planting 7.1 million hectares of trees and treating 6.7 million hectares of degraded grassland in 2018. Its next goal is to increase the country’s forest coverage by 26 percent by 2035. China ranks as the world’s greatest emitter of CO2, releasing 9,838.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2017 alone. Drastic steps must still be taken by China to decrease the carbon footprint of its society and economy, yet its commitment to the expansion of forests in its territory certainly constitutes a step in the right direction. 

In Africa, 11 nations combined efforts and resources to launch The Great Green Wall, An initiative aiming to plant an 8,000 km wall of trees planted across the entire width of Africa, stretching from Senegal in West Africa all the way to Djibouti in East Africa. The Great Green Wall, 15 percent of which is currently built, aims to stop the expansion of the Sahara desert, restore tens of millions of hectares of degraded land and employment sources, as well as absorb 250 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.

Such initiatives must be expanded and implemented across the globe in order to immediately decrease the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and begin to restore an ecological balance to our planet. Efforts to revive and expand forests, however, must be executed in tandem with the development of eco-friendly sources of energy production and the mitigating of a trove of polluting industries, such as the meat and fashion industries. 

“Time is critical but there is still a window of opportunity to turn this mess around and keep global temperatures below the 1.5°C rise that so threatens life on our planet,” the authors of the petition state.  “Fighting climate change must include the restoration and protection of rain forests around the world for now and future generations. All life, including the lives of our children and grandchildren deserve a living, breathing and healthy planet!”

Once it reaches its goal of 10,000 signatures, the petition will be submitted to Secretary Guterres. With over 8,000 signatures currently, the petition is extremely close to hitting its target. 

Please consider signing the petition and signal to world leaders that an immediate and coordinated action must be taken by them to protect and restore the world’s forests. 

Article written by:
yair oded profile
Yair Oded
Author, Project Editor, Contributing Editor
To avoid the most catastrophic implications of climate change, governments will have to take drastic actions to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
A Change.org petition calls on the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to mobilise an effort by world leaders to protect and restore forests around the world.
Globally, 19 percent of all carbon is stored in plants, and trees specifically play a crucial role in absorbing carbon dioxide.
36685656630_aa609cea72_c Follow the link to sign the petition.
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