While millions strike all over the world amid urgent warnings of future ecological catastrophe, environmental warriors across the UK have been urged to add trowels and spades to their repertoire of protest signs — as the country prepares for its largest ever mass tree-planting campaign on Nov. 30.
The Big Climate Fightback is being organised by the Woodland Trust, aiming to mobilise a million people during National Tree Week to plant trees up and down the country to help stop the climate crisis burning down the house.
The Woodland Trust wants to plant a tree for every person in the UK by 2025 — that’s 66 million in total.
It’s urging people to ask councils, businesses, and schools to give permission to plant on their property, and will send 700,000 free trees to schools and communities, specifically native broadleaf varieties, such as oak, birch, and hawthorn, according to the Guardian.
The efforts will help suck up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to reverse the damage done by greenhouse gases warming the planet.
But in order for Britain to meet its legally binding target of net-zero emissions by 2050, the Committee on Climate Change has suggested that 1.5 billion new trees must be planted across the UK in that timeframe.
“As individuals, we all need to do much more to reduce our impact on the planet by cutting emissions and reducing pressure on resources,” said Darren Moorcroft, the Woodland Trust’s chief executive.
And speaking of breaths of fresh air, the campaign has been backed by activist, comic, and Great British Bake Off legend Sandi Toksvig.
“Climate change is a real threat and affects us all, but there is the simplest of all solutions: the humble tree,” Toksvig said. “I urge people to get off their sofas and plant a tree. It’s very simple and you could be one in a million.”
It’s not unusual: the plan follows immensely popular recent campaigns in Scotland, Ireland, and abroad.
Such examples suggest that the best way to get trees in the ground is through robust government planning, rather than volunteers from the public. However, it’s more likely that the best success is with a bit of both.
In July, a massive mobilisation campaign in Ethiopia saw 353 million trees reportedly planted in just 24 hours. While there was some controversy over where those numbers came from, it’s been said that approximately a quarter of Ethiopia’s 105 million population volunteered as part of a £1.1 billion government project.
The country hopes to have a total of 4.7 billion trees planted with the project by October this year.