‘If we work together to plant a trillion trees we could avoid mass extinction’: Bianca Jagger explains why we’ve got to rebuild the lungs of the earth.
Today three generations of our family will join a growing group of children, parents and teachers to undertake an incredibly important task.
It’s such a simple thing and one we can all do – plant a tree. And when we do this together – grandmother, granddaughter and five-year-old great-granddaughter Ezra – it brings us back to what really matters.
It’s a peaceful task and for today’s children, growing up at a time when climate change is the greatest threat we face, it’s empowering.
Assisi Jackson and Ezra are pictured above planting a tree. In September, they planted 104 native trees. Today, we will plant a further 420
It helps to open a conversation with them about climate change in a way that they can understand and it teaches them that they can be part of the solution.
To put a tree in the ground, to put its roots in the soil, cover it and watch it grow is a small but significant act. When they see the young trees shooting up from the ground where once there was degradation it brings a sense of achievement, a sense of hope.
Because as the tree grows it will absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global warming. And if we work together on a global scale to plant a trillion trees, we have a chance at avoiding mass extinction.
The latest United Nations report warned us that global greenhouse gas emissions have reached all-time highs in recent years. Since 2010 carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 11 per cent [File photo]
Planting a tree is something we can do with children and young people today. It can be done in under ten minutes.
For £3 you can buy a British-grown sapling and put it in the ground. My mother Maria Dora Macias taught me to treasure and respect the rainforest – to value trees.
Some of my happiest memories are of the holidays I spent with her in a beautiful area in the northern mountainous region of Nicaragua.
Now I will join my granddaughter Assisi where she lives in Cornwall to plant 420 native trees given to her project by the Woodland Trust.
Assisi and I are both aware that her children, Ezra and Romy, my great granddaughters, will grow up with a clear understanding of what climate change is.
Not because the curriculum at school has changed but because they will experience the effects.
They will know suffering in a different way to generations before us. That is why we need to act now. The latest United Nations report warned us that global greenhouse gas emissions have reached all-time highs in recent years.
Since 2010 carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 11 per cent. Through my work for the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Bonn Challenge Ambassador, Assisi has been inspired to do what she can here with children.
In September, they planted 104 native trees. Today, we will plant a further 420.
Each child will receive a hand-drawn leaflet, teaching them about climate change, environmental issues and what we can all do to help.
It will explain about the magic of trees and how they can help lower the carbon in our atmosphere as well as how we can help to protect and nurture them.
Assisi and I are excited to work together again, digging holes in the ground for the children to put the trees in.
Seeing younger people taking action and noticing what is going on, older siblings turning up with shovels and younger children delighted to be outside is a beautiful experience.
This will be an ongoing project. The aim is to secure larger areas of land and grants so the community can continue to grow woodland.
It is going to take radical change to plant one billion trees worldwide. But there is a simple solution we can do here today – plant a tree.
Humanity is capable of incredible achievements. We have built cities, roads, cars – now it’s the time to rebuild the lungs of the Earth.