Can Reforestation Really Help Reduce Carbon Emissions?

Right now, the world is in the midst of a climate emergency. Rising global temperatures and changes in weather patterns are threatening the future of our planet. And the biggest contributing factor to this climate emergency is carbon emissions. Over the last few years there seems to have been an influx of tree-planting organisations all over the world. But are these just organisations jumping on a climate change bandwagon? Or can responsible reforestation really help reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere?

Where does carbon come from and what does it do?

Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere constantly. Some of these emissions come from natural sources like human and animal breath and plant decay. But the majority of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere come from non-natural activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas to generate energy.

The amount of carbon emissions trapped inside the world’s atmosphere is causing the temperature of the globe to rise (global warming). And the increase in temperature over time is causing weather patterns across the world to change (climate change).

Ice caps are melting and the sea level is rising, threatening the future of largely populated cities and countries in the world. Natural disasters such as forest fires, hurricanes, and tsunamis are occurring more frequently than ever, destroying life in their path. And more varied and extreme weather conditions will become normal, which could lead to cycles of drought and flooding.

Reducing our carbon dioxide emissions by using sustainable energy and less energy as a whole will go a long way to future-proofing our planet. But in the near future it would be impossible to think we could rely without fossil fuels, so we need another way of dealing with this excess CO2.

How can we remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere?

We essentially need more substances that absorb carbon dioxide. The most effective absorber of carbon dioxide from the air is actually trees!

Yes, the humble tree absorbs carbon dioxide, mixes it with some water, and energy from the sun, and hey presto, it produces food for it to thrive and oxygen that is released into the air. (Remember your photosynthesis classes from high school – that’s what we’re talking about!)

But forests have been disappearing from our planet through a mixture of natural disasters such as forest fires, and through felling – where humans chop the trees in the forests down to use the land for other means, such as mining, oil extraction, food and animal farming, human inhabitation, and using the wood for materials.

Why is it so important to perform responsible reforestation?

As stated, trees are currently the most effective way of removing carbon from the atmosphere. And reforestation is the process of planting trees, where tree numbers have been decreasing (through either natural or human causes).

There are many reforestation programmes out there right now, which is absolutely an amazing thing. But for it to have the most positive impact on the planet and the community, there should be an emphasis on “responsible” reforestation.

What makes a responsible reforestation programme:

- Planting the appropriate tree species for the climate and location

- Ensuring the trees are able to grow in a safe environment, protected from human destruction

- Having ethical labour practices

- Ensuring that the programme benefits the community – can they use or sell the produce?

- Strict reporting of how money is being spent and how many trees are being planted

Our partnership with Ecologi

Organic Youth has recently partnered with Ecologi, a UK based business who fund reforestation programmes worldwide. For every purchase you make, Organic Youth will pay for two trees to be planted. And to kick off our “forest”, we have already donated to plant 25 trees. Since 2018, Ecologi has planted nearly 40 million trees, and they also support other carbon reduction projects.

You can even see our “virtual forest” (which is a representation of how many real life trees we have planted) here:

To help us plant more trees, shop Organic Youth’s range of youth-boosting skincare now.

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