By Hannah Cross
A WA environmental organisation says we need to plant one trillion trees if we want to see any effects on climate change.
Trillion Trees is a not-for-profit based in Hazelmere. It runs regular community and corporate tree plantings to try to boost the number of trees in the world.
“At its core, Trillion Trees is about getting trees planted in the ground,” says Andrea Hammond, Trillion Trees’ Education Hub Officer.
“In order to have any effect on climate change we need to plant and nurture one trillion trees,” she says.
Their main focus is the Trillion Trees Challenge which stems from the idea that if every person in the world plants 140 trees, then the world will have one trillion more trees.
Hammond says research from the past few years has found that the world used to have six trillion trees, but now there are only three trillion left.
“Clearly, we need to be preventing deforestation,” says Hammond.
“We need to be creating more awareness of the importance of leaving trees in the ground.”
The organisation speaks widely to community groups, the business sector, and state and local government to get them on board with reforestation efforts.
“We build relationships and find champions who support our mission and goals by either working with us or working on their own projects,” she says.
Hammond says Trillion Trees has been operating in WA for 30 years and during that time they’ve seen about 15 million trees planted.
Dirty air and water, disappearing species
Dr Deborah Kennedy teaches in Murdoch University’s sustainability program and says deforestation has many negative effects on the environment.
“[It] reduces the ability of forests to provide climate protection and regulation, as well as important ecological services such as clean air and water,” she says.
“Another casualty is the disappearance of species and biodiversity, which all play a role in sustaining healthy, balanced ecosystems.”
She says these are among the many reasons why fighting deforestation is so important.
Dr Kennedy says she’s impressed by Trillion Trees’ efforts and feels reassured that there are organisations dedicated to addressing deforestation.
She says deforestation is destroying the ecosystems that are vital for human life.
“The rate of destruction cannot be kept up with by the natural systems in place,” she says.
Scott has volunteered with Trillion Trees and says it’s great to see this sort of action being taken.
“I have personally experienced the support and encouragement from Trillion Trees in getting this next generation to be empowered to take their own actions in helping the environment,” she says.
Scott encourages people to contact government to show they care about the existing environment.
“Getting involved politically is important because re-vegetation is a great thing to be doing but cutting down very old trees and planting back seedlings isn’t enough,” she says.
Murdoch University student, Rachel Jones, is also deeply concerned about deforestation and its effects on climate change.
“Having taken sustainability units in the past, I was alarmed to learn just how extreme and near-irreversible levels of climate change currently are,” says Jones.
Jones believes education is one of the keys to beating deforestation.
“We need to help people remember that we all have a role to play in environmental sustainability, even if it’s only small,” she says.
For more information about Trillion Trees and how you can get involved, visit their website.