Skip to main content
Move the World.

It's been said that planting a trillion trees could be just what we need to turn the tide of climate change. Scientists estimate that natural solutions, such as reforestation projects, can contribute at least 30% of the fight against global warming.

"Trees are basically designed to suck carbon out of the air."

Susan Cook-PattonForest Restoration Scientist at The Nature Conservancy

Forests currently take up about one-third of earth's land, but it used to be much more. As civilization expanded, we began to encroach on forests to use the land for agriculture, mining, drilling, and more. In fact, some sources say humans have eliminated nearly half of the world's trees thus far.

The Convincing Case for Forestation 

The removal of forests, also known as "deforestation," affects not only the animals who live in them but the people who live around them as well. Much of the world's rural poor rely on forests and the forestry industry for income and basic necessities.

The World Wildlife Fund reported that 80% of land animals and plants call forests "home," from orangutans to tree frogs. Deforestation has already contributed to the endangerment of many animals, such as the Hawaiian crow that is now extinct in the wild.

Trees prevent soil erosion and provide the essential cover that many species need to thrive. Humans benefit from their ability to capture water as well, as they reduce the risk of landslides and flooding.

Not convinced about the importance of forests just yet? Consider the impact that trees have on the air we breathe. Through photosynthesis, trees release oxygen into the air that we need to survive. One report estimates that a single tree can release 260 pounds of oxygen every year.

In a sense, trees are Mother Nature's vacuum - they suck up harmful carbon dioxide and pollutants. Human activities have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the air, driving climate change, but trees help keep the air clean. It's perhaps one of their most important contributions to the planet. 

Growing Forests to Fight Climate Change

This is where Plant for the Planet comes in, one of the world's leading tree planting organizations.

Plant for the Planet is an international forestation movement with the goal of planting a trillion trees all around the world. What started in Germany with one nine-year-old's vision evolved into over 100,000 participants in 193 countries.

reforestation projects

Plant for the Planet aims to plant a million more trees than the year before, each and every year. And Campeche, Mexico is just one of their strategically chosen planting locations, where trees grow four times faster than they do in Central Europe.

Campeche is on the Yucatan Peninsula, in southeast Mexico. In a small town called Constitución, over 100 plantation workers are currently planting six native, mahogany tree species where there once was a forest.

It’s been said that planting a trillion trees could turn the tide of climate change.

Plant for the Planet first came to the state of Campeche in 2016 and since then, the team has planted half a million trees.

What is Reforestation? 

Reforestation is essentially the practice of growing forests where they previously existed naturally, but restocking a forest isn't a quick undertaking.

Tree planting organizations like Plant for the Planet put a lot of care and attention into their methods to ensure the trees' survival. At Plant for the Planet, reforestation efforts begin in the nursery, where workers grow more than four million seedlings with the highest quality standards.

Forestation

Once the trees reach a certain height in the nursery, they're extracted and sent out to be planted. Forestry workers also care for the newly planted trees by pruning them and clearing out weeds. These reforestation projects have created jobs for locals that aren't just a source of income. Local workers feel a sense of purpose, knowing their efforts play a big role in fighting the climate crisis.

Plant for the Planet plants a new tree every 15 seconds.

This project is a working example of what forest restoration efforts everywhere could look like and it demonstrates just how easy it is to efficiently plant trees on a large scale. Plant for the Planet urges others to join their efforts and presents a variety of ways to get involved, including attending a Youth Summit to learn more and becoming a "Climate Justice Ambassador."

The Trail Blazers of Global Reforestation Projects

In 2011, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) handed over the reins for their Billion Tree Campaign to Plant for the Planet. The organization transformed the Billion Tree Campaign into the Trillion Tree Campaign and developed an animated, global tree counter that motivates other individuals and tree planting organizations to get involved.

About 14 billion trees have been planted since 2006.

The tool currently shows that just under 14 billion trees have been planted since 2006. Users can also see where trees have been planted, find potential locations for new reforestation projects, and register their own planted trees.

Today, Plant for the Planet plants a new tree every 15 seconds. The efforts of tree planting organizations are a source of hope for the future of our climate, with the bonus of providing ecological benefits far beyond carbon sequestration.

For more interesting news about the people and ideas that are changing our world, subscribe to Freethink.

Subscribe

Up Next

Memory
Reminiscence Therapy Is Helping Seniors at “Dementia Villages”
Reminiscence Therapy
Memory
Reminiscence Therapy Is Helping Seniors at “Dementia Villages”
At a growing number of “dementia villages,” staff members use reminiscence therapy to help seniors return to a time when they felt happy and safe.

At a growing number of “dementia villages,” staff members use reminiscence therapy to help seniors return to a time when they felt happy and safe.

Public Heath
China Is Responding to the Coronavirus in a Way Only China Could
China Is Responding to the Coronavirus in a Way Only China Could
Public Heath
China Is Responding to the Coronavirus in a Way Only China Could
China is using its vast surveillance network and near-total control over citizens to respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in a way perhaps no other nation could.

China is using its vast surveillance network and near-total control over citizens to respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in a way perhaps no other nation could.

Tech & The Arts
The Algorithm Playwright
The Algorithm Playwright
Tech & The Arts
The Algorithm Playwright
Annie Dorsen allows algorithms to write her plays, and it challenges our fundamental understanding of art.

Annie Dorsen allows algorithms to write her plays, and it challenges our fundamental understanding of art.

Dispatch
NY’s Bail Reform Challenges a Biased System
new york eliminates bail
Dispatch
NY’s Bail Reform Challenges a Biased System
Seeking justice in a broken system, the state of New York eliminates cash bail for most misdemeanors.

Seeking justice in a broken system, the state of New York eliminates cash bail for most misdemeanors.

#FIXINGJUSTICE - re-entry
Hope After Prison
Hope After Prison
Watch Now
#FIXINGJUSTICE - re-entry
Hope After Prison
This former inmate is cleaning up his city and helping other ex-cons turn their lives around.
Watch Now

When Will Aliva got out of prison, he’d paid his debt to society - but that didn’t help him pay his bills. Like many ex-cons, he struggled to find companies that would take a chance on hiring him. Too often, this roadblock results in ex-cons winding up back behind bars as they turn to old illegal activities to make ends meet. He decided to tackle the problem head on and founded a landscaping company, Clean Decisions, that...

#FIXINGJUSTICE - harm reduction
24 Years For a Crime He Didn’t Commit
24 Years For a Crime He Didn’t Commit
Watch Now
#FIXINGJUSTICE - harm reduction
24 Years For a Crime He Didn’t Commit
When a prisoner serving a life sentence is suddenly found to be innocent, it often makes national news. But what happens after the cameras go away?
Watch Now

There are around 2,500 exonerees in the U.S.—people who were convicted of a crime and then later proven innocent by their own doggedness or new evidence in a case. When they are freed from prison, their lives are often saddled by the same issues that hold back people who actually committed a crime—lack of education, no job skills or employment history, and the stigma of having spent years in prison. While their release is...

#fixingjustice - policing
The Dad Changing How Police Shootings Are Investigated
The Dad Changing How Police Shootings Are Investigated
Watch Now
#fixingjustice - policing
The Dad Changing How Police Shootings Are Investigated
After his son was killed by police, Michael Bell fought for over a decade to change how we investigate police shootings.
Watch Now

For over a decade, ever since police killed his son, Michael Bell has been trying to get an independent investigation into the shooting — and he's fighting to make sure that every family is entitled to one, whenever police use lethal force. In November 2004, his son, Michael Bell, Jr., was pulled over in front of his home in Kenosha, Wisconsin, for an alleged traffic violation. Although a dashcam video captures the initial...

Crossing The Divide
Having Your Views Challenged is a Good Thing
Having Your Views Challenged is a Good Thing
Watch Now
Crossing The Divide
Having Your Views Challenged is a Good Thing
When we encounter ideas we don’t like, we often shut them down. Professor John Inazu explains why that’s a bad thing and what we can do to fix it.
Watch Now

When we encounter ideas we don’t like, we often shut them down. John Inazu, the author of Confident Pluralism and the Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion at Washington University School of Law, explains why that’s a bad thing and what we can do to fix it.

Culture
This Week in Ideas: Reasons to Feel Good About Humanity
This Week in Ideas: Reasons to Feel Good About Humanity
Culture
This Week in Ideas: Reasons to Feel Good About Humanity
A paralyzed woman runs a half marathon in an exoskeleton, Sri Lanka defeats malaria, incomes are rising. Here's...
By Mike Riggs

A paralyzed woman runs a half marathon in an exoskeleton, Sri Lanka defeats malaria, incomes are rising. Here's some good news since most of what we hear is just the bad.