Challenges Corporations, Citizens To Plant Trees
Land use is one of the most vital issues of our time. It will impact the health of people and planet in many ways for centuries. Unfortunately, virgin forests are still being converted into farms and ranches for beef, palm oil and soybeans. Corporations are dumping tons of toxic, infectious sewage sludge on the land around the world under the guise of fertilizer. Tons of other carcinogens and neurotoxins are sprayed on crops and the land to kill insects. Industrial agriculture is killing the planet and the people in many ways.
According to the United Nations (UN), the world lost 10 million hectares of forest every year since 2015. It goes on to say that about 1.9 billion hectares of land in the world are in a state of abandonment today. If these lands can be reused and restored, people and planet will benefit in many ways.
In cooperation with Fo Guang Shan, one of the world’s most influential Buddhist organizations, the Pure Green Foundation announced a forest-restoration campaign called T-Earth.
The T-Earth project encourages people to participate in global forest restoration by planting a tree and adopting a piece of land. The campaign aims to recruit 1,000 companies to plant 1,000 trees in 1,000 cities by 2050.
“We need incentives to bring more people and businesses together,” said George Hu, the World Climate Foundation Asia Representative. “Our campaign must meet the needs of all stakeholders.”
With the help of Fo Guang Shan and BLIA’s 1000-plus worldwide branches and subsidiaries, the Pure Green Foundation has secured land for tree planting and forest restoration on five continents. The first site was established in Taiwan with over 100 hectares of land for more than 200,000 trees.
“Forest restoration isn’t just about planting and saving trees,” commented Dr. Wender Yang, founder of the HIMA Foundation. “It’s also about balancing ecology, increasing the functionality of a forest’s ecological services, and benefitting the people and animals that rely on functional forested systems to flourish. Many forests may look green, but they really are degraded lands in need of restoration. Reforestation addresses many problems and should be encouraged everywhere.”
Yang is leading the forest-restoration efforts. Each team is assembled locally to promote community ownership.
“Forests help us in many ways, and T-Earth hopes to set an example with the best forest-restoration practices” said Venerable Jue-Pei, BLIA’s secretary general. “In the face of this climate crisis, every day is Earth Day, and every person can be ‘Captain Earth.'”
On Earth Day 2021, the T-Earth team held a forest press conference and an international forum entitled “Be ‘Captain Earth!'” Speakers shared their experience in different climate campaigns and projects. The event encouraged people to work together to cut CO2 emissions in pursuit of achieving net-zero emissions. It also launched an education campaign that explains how our food choices impact the world, especially the animal world.
Industrial farming is one of the most serious existential risks in the world. In addition to reckless land use, an estimated 235 million pounds of toxic herbicides and insecticides are dumped on crops just in the U.S. Glyphosate, the king of toxic chemicals, is the most widely used herbicide worldwide. More than 13,000 lawsuits claim that it causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. WHO claims that it is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” To learn more, read Stephanie Seneff, PhD: Toxic Legacy: How the Weedkiller Glyphosate Is Destroying Our Health and the Environment, Chelsea Green Publishing, London, UK, 2021).
Atrazine is one of the most widely used pesticides, especially in the US. So far, 35 countries have banned its use because of persistent groundwater contamination and dangerous levels of toxicity.
There are no silver bullets in the battle against global warming and climate change. We must deploy every weapon available, including technological developments and nature-based solutions. Nature-based solutions are essential to defending ecosystems, the planet, and life. Consumers must be part of the solution.