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Billion Tree Campaign becomes 7 billion

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 2 months ago

Here's some good news:


I think this venture has proven so successful partly because it is

difficult to attack, and has lots of other benefits besides helping

restore the earth's CO2 balance. Perhaps most of the initiatives

which have the best chances of success also posess similar properties:

they are multi-purpose, providing a variety of benefits besides their

primary ones.




Billion Tree Campaign Flowers Into Seven Billion Tree Campaign


NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14, 2008 (ENS) - The UN's campaign to plant one

billion trees has been so successful that it was expanded Tuesday to

become a Seven Billion Tree Campaign. In just 18 months, the original

Billion Tree Campaign has inspired the planting of two billion trees,

double its original target.


The effort is intended to avert rapid global warming by planting trees

to absorb the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Deforestation

accounts for over 20 percent of the carbon dioxide humans generate.

Trees also keep precious rainwater from running off the land and

shelter wildlife to combat the ongoin loss of biodiversity.


"When the Billion Tree Campaign was launched at the Climate Convention

meeting in Nairobi in 2006, no one could have imagined it could have

flowered so fast and so far. But it has given expression to the

frustrations but also the hopes of millions of people around the

world," said Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Programme,

which spearheaded the Billion Tree Campaign with the World

Agroforestry Centre.


"In 2006 we wondered if a billion tree target was too ambitious; it

was not," Steiner said. "The goal of two billion trees has also proven

to be an underestimate. The goal of planting seven billion trees -

equivalent to just over a tree per person alive on the planet - must

therefore also be do-able given the campaign's extraordinary track

record and the self-evident worldwide support."


To date the initiative, which is under the patronage of Nobel Peace

Prize Laureate and Kenyan Green Belt Movement founder Professor

Wangari Maathai and Prince Albert II of Monaco, has broken every

target set and has catalyzed tree planting in 155 countries.


Heads of state including the presidents of Indonesia, the Maldives,

Mexico, Turkey and Turkmenistan as well as businesses; cities; faith,

youth and community groups have planted trees as part of the campaign.

Individuals have accounted for over half of all participants.

The Ethiopian Millennium and the International Day of the African

Child, Bole High School students celebrated the day by planting 150

trees. The Ethiopian Minister for Agriculture, representatives from

UNICEF, UNEP and the European Union attended the event. (Photo

courtesy UNEP)

Geographically, Africa is the leading region with over half of all the

two billion trees planted. Regional and national governments organized

the most massive plantings, with Ethiopia leading the count at 700

million, followed by Turkey at 400 million, Mexico at 250 million, and

Kenya at 100 million trees planted.


To protect vulnerable shorelines, mangrove plantings were organized by

Plan├Ęte Urgence in Banda Aceh and other Indonesian provinces

recovering from the December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.


In the United States, the Replant New Orleans initiative sponsored a

planting of fruit trees to rejuvenate the community struggling with

the effects of the 2005 Hurricane Katrina.


In a single day in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, 10.5 million

trees were planted.


The two billionth tree was put into the ground as part of an

agroforestry project carried out by the UN's World Food Programme,

WFP. As part of this campaign, the world's largest food aid

distribution agency has now planted 60 million trees in 35 countries

to improve food security in the midst of a global food crisis.


In announcing the agency's contribution to the Billion Tree Campaign,

WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said, "WFP is concerned about

rising costs of food and fuel which inevitably hit the bottom billion

hardest. More people will require WFP assistance at a time when WFP's

current programmes are reaching fewer due to the critical funding gap

created by rising costs."


WFP has planted half the trees in Syria, Sheeran told the European

Parliament Development Committee in December. "The eucalyptus trees

are actually putting back water into the ground now after six years,"

she said. "This kind of practical effect to protect food supply

systems is very important. In fact, WFP has planted over five billion

trees in the world in the past 30 years to protect delicate food

ecosystems after a disaster or after a war."


The tree-planting campaign has attracted the support of multilateral

organizations including the Convention on Biological Diversity whose

new Green Wave initiative was launched in advance of its conference

being held in Bonn, Germany later this month.


"The Billion Tree Campaign has not only helped to mobilize millions of

people to respond to the challenges of climate change, it has also

opened the door, especially for the rural poor, to benefit from the

valuable products and services the trees provide," said Dennis

Garrity, director general of the World Agroforestry Centre.


"Smallholder farmers could also benefit from the rapidly growing

global carbon market by planting and nurturing trees," Garrity suggested.

Schoolgirls in Bahrain plant trees as part of the Billion Tree

Campaign. (Photo courtesy UNEP)


Tree planting remains one of the most cost-effective ways to address

climate change. Trees and forests play a vital role in regulating the

climate since they absorb carbon dioxide - containing an estimated 50%

more carbon than the atmosphere. rivaling the emissions from other



Trees also play a crucial role in providing a range of products and

services to rural and urban populations, including food, timber,

fiber, medicines and energy as well as soil fertility, water and

biodiversity conservation.


The campaign has also generated significant appeal in post-conflict

and post-disaster environments. In acting upon the words of the

campaign's patron Wangari Maathai "when we plant trees, we plant the

seeds of peace and seeds of hope," communities in Afghanistan,

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, Liberia and Somalia contributed to the

global effort with over two million trees.


The private sector pitched in as well, accounting for almost six

percent of all trees planted. Multinational corporations including

Bayer, Toyota, Yves Rocher, Accor Group of Hotels and Tesco Lotus

supported the campaign, as did hundreds of medium and small-sized

enterprises the world over.


"The Billion Tree Campaign is UNEP's call to the nearly seven billion

people sharing our planet today to take simple, positive steps to

protect our climate," said Steiner. "It is a defining issue of our era

that can only be tackled through individual and collective action. I

am convinced that the new target will be met - one tree at a time."


The Billion Tree Campaign website is at:

www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign and at:




posted to ClimateConcern by Ross Mayhew

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