Tree Planting in the Millions

Two inspiring tree stories came across our desks and we wanted to share them with you here. One is set in India and one is set in Brazil. As well we will detail Canada’s Fall Economic Statement that has just been released as it pertains to a ‘green recovery’ and a ‘green economy’.

INDIA

SUSTAINABLE AGROFORESTRY COMBATS HUNGER IN INDIA THROUGH THE PLANTING OVER A MILLION FRUIT TREES

Image from One Tree Planted

“One Tree Planted is thrilled to share that despite the challenges of COVID-19, over 1 million fruit trees were planted in India this year!  As one of the world’s largest food producers, it is an unfortunate irony that the sub-continent of India is also home to the largest population of hungry people in the world. As people have lost their jobs and incomes due to the pandemic, food insecurity has skyrocketed among those already vulnerable.”

“Especially impacted are small farmers across India, who face droughts, floods, fluctuating markets, and now a pandemic. Meanwhile, many water sources are drying up as rivers are diverted, and climate change brings more extreme and less predictable weather patterns.”

“Trees once shaded the landscape and kept soil and moisture in place, but in many parts of rural India, trees have historically been cleared for the expansion of farmland. Today, people are realizing the many benefits of planting trees to help green India and combat hunger.”

A SUSTAINABLE GREEN INITIATIVE

“One Tree Planted has partnered with Sustainable Green Initiative (SGI), a local organization of India, with one simple but powerful objective: to plant (mostly) fruit trees to fight hunger, poverty and climate change. Under this model, fruit tree saplings are distributed for 1-3 years in community lands, homesteads of marginal farmers, government school campuses, orphanages, old age homes, and other places of need.”

“To date, over 6,500 farmers — mostly in regions reeling under severe drought — have benefitted. With the help of dedicated local “tree ambassadors”, farmers are given fruit trees and encouraged to practice organic and sustainable farming practices. In this way, planting trees helps foster environmental consciousness and sustainability in rural communities.”

“Planting fruit trees also helps fight hunger and poverty — but it goes much further than that, aligning with several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by contributing to clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, and climate action and biodiversity conservation. Furthermore, these efforts generate local employment at nurseries, specifically benefitting woman and other marginalized groups.” 

Photo credit Lucy

FIGHTING HUNGER BY PLANTING FRUIT TREES

“Several Indian States, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, are prone to severe drought. This leads to hunger as crops fail regionally. But where seasonal crops will wither under drought, mature trees can endure by using their long root networks to tap into the water table.”

“Trees planted include lemon, guava, custard apple, gooseberry, pomegranate, jack fruit, wood apple, and tamarind. All are native trees that produce a high yield of fruit seasonally or year round. As these trees mature and yield fruit, they ensure food for local people during difficult times, acting as an insurance policy during times of drought or pandemic-induced insecurity.”

Image from One Tree Planted


PLANTING MANGROVES TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

“While parts of India suffer from drought, other low-lying areas like West Bengal and Odisha are threatened with coastal erosion and rising sea levels. The watery labyrinth of deltas and estuaries where the the Ganges River spills into the Bay of Bengal is prone to a continuous process of erosion and siltation. In this region, extensive mangrove ecosystems help stabilize the land where it meets the sea in the largest mangrove forest in the world, the Sunderbans.”

“Earlier this year, One Tree Planted and SGI planted over 51,000 mangrove seedlings in the Sunderbans, with help from 20 staff and 40 volunteers. Previously, mud and concrete embankments have protected villages from coastal erosion. But these are prone to collapse, resulting in catastrophic flooding of farmlands, schools and homes. Seeding mangroves has helped to rekindle hope among local people for the future of their villages and livelihoods.”

“The growing mangrove forests will help protect the coastline from erosion and prevent salt water from infiltrating the delta islands and turning freshwater wells saline. Additionally, mangroves provide many vital ecosystem services. They help reduce the impact of waves on the shore, and trap sediment between their roots to create their own soil, and help keep low-lying coastal areas above water as sea levels rise.” 

“Mangrove forests also punch above their weight in carbon sequestration. In fact, research indicates that, pound for pound, mangroves can sequester more carbon than rainforests. In land-based forests, organic matter like leaves and branches are quickly broken down by bacteria and fungi in the soil, releasing carbon. But since mangroves are waterlogged and have a different microbial community, organic matter isn’t broken down and the carbon stays locked up in the soils.”

Stock image Mangroves


GROWING A GREEN MOVEMENT

“Despite the many challenges of planting in the midst of a global pandemic, One Tree Planted is proud to have planted a staggering 1,130,530 fruit trees and mangrove seedlings across 1,500 hectares. It is estimated that approximately 25,000 farming families will be impacted positively by creating food sources for themselves and their families from this project, and that these trees will sequester 5,000 tonnes of carbon in the next two years!”

“Focusing on small farmers and woman’s groups that are food insecure, this ongoing project maximizes its impact. By working with village leaders and community organizations, fast-growing and high yielding fruit tree saplings are provided to those in need, expertise is shared, and a green movement continues to grow.”

“One Tree Planted is  already gearing up to plant even more fruit trees across India in 2021.” Be a part of the movement with a donation if you like!

Jesse Lewis | November 19, 2020/One Tree Planted Newsletter

https://onetreeplanted.org

BRAZIL

Famed Photographer Sebastião Salgado Plants Two Million Trees With His Wife And 20 Years Later, Creates New Forest

Thank you to Leslie for bringing the inspiring work of Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia to our awareness.

By Natasha Ishak Published April 26, 2019 Updated January 8, 2020 at: https://bit.ly/3okZlsF

“Growing deforestation is a big issue for the sustainability of our environment. But individuals like famed photographer Sebastião Ribeiro Salgado and his wife Lélia are trying to save it. The Brazilian couple started a project to plant two million trees and now, 20 years later, the seeds have grown into a lush forest in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil.”

Photo credit Lucy

It all started in 1994 when Salgado had just returned home from a traumatic project covering the devastations of the genocide in Rwanda. Looking to heal himself, Salgado decided to take a break by taking up the family farm which was located in the Minas Gerais area. But what he saw there devastated him even more: what was once a rich forest had morphed into a severely damaged landscape due to rampant deforestation and disappearing wildlife. However, the damaged environment sparked inspiration in Salgado’s wife Lélia, who came up with the idea to replant the forest. What sounded like an impossible feat was realized in the founding of Instituto Terra, an environmental organization dedicated to the sustainable development of the area of the Valley of the River Roce just four years later. The 1,754-acre forest, once a barren land, has transformed back into its original state as a tropical paradise since the Instituto Terra planted those two million trees. The healthy ecosystem of the new forest has facilitated the regrowth of hundreds of species of plants and has seen the return of wildlife. The area, which now holds official status as a Private Natural Heritage Reserve, is home to an estimated 293 species of trees, 172 species of birds, 33 types of mammals, and 15 species of amphibians and reptiles, many of which are endangered. On top of the rejuvenated flora and fauna, the area has also gotten back its naturally-flowing springs.”

“In a meeting with religious leaders discussing the effects of climate change, Salgado reinforced the concept of tying together spirituality with the environment around us, one of the important lessons he has learned from his family’s reforestation efforts. Now many modern religious communities are adopting these principles too such as Bishop Shoo in Tanzania and Bishop Kyamanywa in Uganda.” (https://bit.ly/3okZlsF)

Forest trees decorated by hikers. Photo credit Lucy

Canada’s Fall Economic Statement, 2020

The federal government’s November 30, 2020 Fall Economic Statement understandably continues to give priority to fighting COVID-19 and “protecting Canadians’ health and safety,” as it states in this press release for its Supporting Canadians and Fighting COVID-19: Fall Economic Statement 2020. https://bit.ly/2JvPLV1

Even as such, we find positive signs in the Fall Economic Statement 2020 that the government’s longer-term approach to Canada’s recovery beyond the pandemic will emphasize investments in a green recovery and green economy. In fact, Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland expressly makes the commitment:

“Our government’s plan is focused on fighting this pandemic, supporting Canadians and ensuring that once the virus is defeated we can invest in growth and jobs for everyone. We will do whatever it takes to help Canadians through this crisis. We will invest in every necessary public health measure. We will support Canadians and Canadian businesses in a way that is targeted and effective. And we will ensure the Canadian economy that emerges from this pandemic is greener, more inclusive, more innovative, and more competitive than the one that preceded it, with a stronger, more resilient middle class.”

– The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance 

Photo credit Lucy

Noteably, the government reaffirms that “Canada remains strongly committed to meeting and exceeding its Paris targets and achieving net-zero by 2050.”

In the section called “Build Back Better,” these are the government’s statements and proposed plans for a “Competitive, Green Economy”:

“The government has committed to putting climate action at the heart of its plan to create a million jobs. These will be good middle class jobs for today and for the decades to come. The investments made in Fall Economic Statement 2020 will lay the foundation for a green recovery that will create opportunities for all Canadians.”

Helping Canadians Take Climate Action

“By supporting efforts to make homes greener and more energy efficient, Canadians can reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy bills. Investments in building ZEV charging stations in the places Canadians live, work and travel will help accelerate Canadians’ use of zero-emission vehicles.”

Proposed Investments

  • $2.6 billion over 7 years to provide up to 700,000 grants of up to $5,000 to help homeowners make energy-efficient improvements to their homes, up to 1 million free EnerGuide energy assessments, and support to recruit and train EnerGuide energy auditors to meet increased demand.
  • Build on current investments in zero-emission vehicles infrastructure by providing an additional $150 million over 3 years to help ensure that charging and refuelling stations are available and conveniently located where and when they are needed.
  • $25 million to help bring clean power to more communities by investing in predevelopment work for large-scale transmission projects. Building strategic interties will support Canada’s coal phase-out.

Nature-based Climate Solutions – 2 Billion Trees

Investing in nature, and its protection, is among the most affordable climate action governments can take. Forests, wetlands and oceans, absorb and store enormous amounts of carbon, which can mitigate the impacts of climate change, and keep our air and water clean.”

Proposed Investments

  • $3.19 billion over 10 years, starting in 2021-22, to Natural Resources Canada to work with the provinces, territories, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous communities, federal landowners, municipalities, and others to plant 2 billion trees to fight climate change, protect forests and create good jobs.
  • $631 million over 10 years, starting in 2021-22, to Environment and Climate Change Canada to restore degraded ecosystems, protect wildlife, and improve land and resource management practices.
  • $98.4 million over 10 years, starting in 2021-22, to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to establish a new Natural Climate Solutions for Agriculture Fund.

Building the Foundation of a Net-zero Carbon Future

“Canada remains strongly committed to meeting and exceeding its Paris targets and achieving net-zero by 2050. The Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act was recently introduced in Parliament and is an important part of Canada’s work to address the threat of climate change and bring together innovations from across the financial sector, businesses, communities and Canadians themselves. This legislation would legally bind the government to a process to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and require the government to report annually on key measures that the federal government, including Crown Corporations, has taken to manage climate-related financial risks and opportunities.”

To read the full Budget statement text: https://bit.ly/37rq0gy.

We recognize that fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is of necessity everyone’s top priority, with the focus on the environment having taken back seat temporarily. We are pleased to see the funding earmarked to begin implementing the government’s commitment to plant 2 billion trees. Friends4Trees4Life will be keeping this pledge on our radar! In the meantime, keep safe!

Book Suggestion: Harry’s Trees

If you are looking for a light, uplifting fantasy set in a forest, we can recommend Harry’s Trees. A sweet escape written by Jon Cohen

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