Trees Can Help "Get it Done"

Climate Week 2022 touts nature-based solutions like trees to help fight climate change
Sep 19, 2022 5:00 PM ET
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With Climate Week 2022 kicking off this week, the Arbor Day Foundation is excited to jump into conversations focused on meaningful action and lean into this year’s theme: “Get it Done,” which is especially appropriate as we continue to see the devastating effects of climate change wreak havoc on our planet. The urgency is clear, and the best path forward, now, is by planting trees.

Trees are the most scalable and cost-efficient carbon-capture technology currently available

The research is clear: Emissions reduction should be our priority in the fight against climate change. As we collectively work towards this goal, we can employ a mix of nature-based and engineered solutions to amplify our efforts and sequester existing emissions. When properly managed, forests have a tremendous ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and help mitigate climate change, all while supporting the critical ecosystems we depend on. The Arbor Day Foundation is a leader in this space, working to protect existing forest and wetlands through improved management practices and facilitating strategic reforestation initiatives to help properly regrow those we have lost.

Trees help improve water quality and mitigate flooding

Thanks to urban and industrial pollution, agricultural contamination, climate change, and habitat destruction, the quality of key global water sources is degrading. This decline is putting the well-being of plants, animals, and humans at risk, with our most vulnerable populations being hit the hardest.

Fortunately, strategic tree planting can help alleviate some of these water quality issues. Trees work to improve water quality by reducing flooding, erosion, and damage from natural disasters. Their canopies act as a protective shield, intercepting rainfall and allowing it to evaporate back into the atmosphere directly from the canopy without ever reaching the ground. Trees can even help clean contaminates from polluted soils through a process called phytoremediation, preventing wind, rain, and groundwater flow from carrying contaminants into watersheds or deeper underground.

Trees are key to protecting and enhancing biodiversity

Animal species of all kinds rely on trees for food, shelter, and water. Whether in natural or urban forests, they are key to the health of some of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Because of this deeply rooted connection, an alarming loss of biodiversity has been linked to the destruction and degradation of forest habitats. It’s crucial that we dedicate resources to reestablishing these ecosystems and plant the right trees, in the right place, at the right time, to ensure forest-dependent species are given an opportunity to thrive.

It isn’t just wildlife that depend on these delicate ecosystems either. People around the world, knowingly or unknowingly, reap the economic and environmental benefits of forest ecosystems in their day-to-day lives. From food and medicines to consumer goods and building materials, we are just as reliant on the proliferation of healthy forests as the rest of life on earth.

The world needs trees, now more than ever

Never has there been a more critical time to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees, and the Arbor Day Foundation is uniquely positioned to do so on a global scale. As we head into Climate Week, we’ll look to glean new insight and perspective from those who share our desire to create a greener, more sustainable future for all. Together, we’re confident that we can “Get it Done.”