Study finds that planting trees would be the most effective method to combat climate change

A study led by researchers at ETH Zurich found that forest restoration is our best bet for combating climate change. The study used earth system models to predict how much trees we could plant globally, and how much carbon those trees could store. It turns out that we have enough space for at least 0.9 billion hectares of more trees! If those new forests reached maturity, they would store 205 gigatonnes of carbon – that’s two thirds of the carbon generated by humans since the industrial revolution.

What’s great about this restoration approach is that there are so many benefits. Planting trees requires no new technology or industry, and we get to surround ourselves with more nature. Afforestation also creates more habitat for our furry friends. Habitat loss is one of the leading causes of species loss.

Our results highlight the opportunity of climate change mitigation through tree restoration but also the urgent need for action.

“The global tree restoration potential” Bastin et al

The study also found that more than 50% of the tree restoration potential can be found in only six countries: Russia, United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil, and China. This stresses the important responsibility of some of the world’s leading economies, including the US.

So where do we go from here? The report suggests that “we need better country-level forest accounting, which is critical for effective management and restoration strategies.”

This places ecosystem restoration as the most effective solution at our disposal to mitigate climate change.

“The global tree restoration potential” Bastin et al
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“Climate Action and Today’s Youth”

This very interesting forum at West Chester University was organized and moderated by West Chester Green Team summer interns (and West Chester University students) Kara Thorpe and Paige Vermeulen. Panelists were Isaac Harte (Delaware Valley Friends School), Will Bradley (Westtown School), and Sam Silverman (also a WCU student, and coordinator of the WCU Sunrise Hub).

The audience of about 20 first viewed the 11-minute video of a 2018 TED talk by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish student then age 15 who started the worldwide school strike for climate movement. Her intensity and clearheadedness were most impressive. “The climate crisis has already been solved,” she said: we know the facts, but don’t act on them. “The one thing we need more than hope is action.”

The moderators asked a series of questions for the panel, then turned to the audience for discussion.

Why do Americans just carry on as before? In a word, money: many politicians receive financial incentive to deny climate change. Also: many Americans do not yet feel much impact, have more existential issues in their lives, and are often confused by lies. From the audience: we are trapped by convenience, also by discouragement that the problem is too vast to deal with.

What are the barriers between leaders and action? From the panel: it should not be a political question; some politicians are talking about it but many are scared to speak. The “sponsors” rule as usual. From the audience: the youth strike did empower the young; the young have a credibility that seems more reliable than past alarms. The 2018 IPCC report sounded a real and urgent alarm. The non-binding Green New Deal sets out holistic working goals for 100% green energy by 2050 along with the jobs, sustainable industry, and economic equity that can support it.

Is the Green New Deal too ambitious? From the panel: parts of it, maybe; but this is an existential crisis and we do need to do everything at once. From the audience: the GND should include stopping pesticide use, which threatens the environment and our food supply.

Should dealing with the wage gap really be part of the GND? The panel thought yes: wage justice is part of building a better America.

More comments: there is also a water crisis. Lack of education is also a crisis. Earth Uprising, of pre-college students, launches June 14. The Green Schools Alliance encourages schools to commit to 100%. We need to make clear how people can support our efforts. Greta Thunberg effectively dismisses non-science and uses guilt as a motivator. Harrisburg is “black with coal, oil and gas.” The Green New Deal, given the broad crisis, is “ridiculously moderate.”

Displays in the lobby attracted discussion afterwards. Our community needs more events like this, stressing the role of the young in their own future!

Climate action and today’s youth, May 23

Thursday, May 23, 6:30 p.m. displays, 7:00 program: Video of Greta Thunberg, Swedish high schooler who became a world phenomenon by launching a students’ strike for solving the climate crisis, plus a panel of students discussing the video and the Green New Deal movement.

Room 101, Business and Public Management Center, 50 Sharpless St., West Chester 19382. Park across the street in Sharpless Parking Garage. All welcome.

Doors open at 6:30 so come then for environmental and community group exhibits. No refreshments this time but you can fill up your refillable water bottles.

Program presented by the West Chester Green Team, which includes Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection, Ready for 100, Plastic-Free Please, and Don’t Spray Me!

This is the second in the Green Team’s hot button environmental series, addressing issues at the forefront of people’s thinking at this time in our history.

More info about the program: karamarie3@icloud.com

About the Green Team: https://wcgreenteam.wordpress.com/

Climate Change Makes Me Sick!

Physicians for Social Responsibility, 4/13/16

How does climate change increase Insect-borne diseases?

mosquitoes-postcard Mosquitoes carry infectious pathogens and transmit them to humans via biting. As the Earth warms due to climate change, more regions can potentially support disease-bearing mosquitoes.

The increase in heat and humidity boosts mosquitoes’ reproduction rates, lengthens their breeding season, makes mosquitoes bite more, and speeds the development of the disease-causing agents they carry (bacteria and viruses) to an infectious state….

read more at Physicians for Social Responsibility