Healthy and resilient forests are a key part of efforts to combat the negative impacts of climate change. Studies have shown trees can reduce temperatures by 9 degrees and energy costs by $7.8 billion a year.
Today, 26 companies, cities and organizations across the United States have come together to launch the US chapter of 1t.org, the global trillion trees movement — which has pledged the conservation, restoration and growth of over 855 million trees across the country, to help combat extreme heat and wildfires and other adverse effects of climate change.
The World Economic Forum launched 1t.org at the Annual Meeting 2020 in Davos, Switzerland; American Forests is co-leading the initiative. It is designed to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030 — goals of which are to accelerate global restoration of degraded ecosystems, to fight the climate crisis, enhance food security, provide clean water and protect biodiversity on the planet. The WEF and American Forests will provide individuals and organizations in the US with the tools and technical assistance they need to create and bring their pledges to life.
Amazon, American Forest Foundation, Arbor Day Foundation, Bank of America, Clif Bar, HP Inc, Mastercard, Microsoft, National Association of State Foresters, National Forest Foundation, PepsiCo, Salesforce, Timberland; and the cities of Boise, Detroit, Dallas and Tucson are among those that have committed to invest in the movement to protect and enhance the country’s forests.
Healthy forests are a critical, nature-based solution to the climate crisis — which continues to exacerbate regional wildfires, such as the ones that are once again ravaging large swaths of California and other Western states. Businesses and non-profits have jumped in in recent years to help reforest areas hardest hit by these worsening fires — 1t.org represents a more holistic, longer-term effort to restore and maintain the health of our country’s forests; the US chapter is 1t.org’s first regional chapter.
Investing in forests will also help improve the economy and public health — at a time when both have been suffering greatly, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent WEF report revealed that sustainable management of forests globally would create $230 billion in business opportunities and 16 million jobs worldwide by 2030. From a health perspective, trees absorb 17.4 million tons of air pollutants a year, helping to prevent 670,000 cases of asthma and other acute respiratory symptoms annually.
“We have seen enormous energy and enthusiasm to conserve and restore our forests,” said Justin Adams, Director of Nature Based Solutions at World Economic Forum. “A nature-positive recovery is crucial to a great reset of our society and economy. Putting trees at the heart of this reset will help ensure it is sustainable for us and future generations.”
1t.org uses UpLink, a digital platform to crowdsource innovations and accelerate the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The UpLink Trillion Trees Challenge was launched on the platform on July 1, 2020; and calls for solutions, initiatives, fresh perspectives and ideas. Winning submissions will be invited to present at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2020 in September.
Read more about the US chapter of 1t.org; and the many social, economic and environmental benefits of robust forests here.