Toward seven billion trees planted by the UNEP ?

You perhaps remember the enthusiastic article I wrote last December on the UNEP programme that enabled to plant over a billion trees.

It was such a tremendous success – two billion trees were planted in 18 months – that this institution wants to plant one tree per person on this planet : seven billions !

This represents to me a huge project that might actually save us from climate change, or at least seriously slow down the process.

The UNEP proposes in its press release a very nice map on the trees planted. Too bad the countries that planted half a million and 700 million ones are in the same group.

Indeed, with this it is impossible to know exactly which country planted what. But it is anyhow a good idea to stimulate people !

The press release also states interesting things :

Grassroots Initiative Hits Two Billion Mark -Target Raised to Over One Tree Per Person by Crucial 2009 Climate Convention Meeting

A unique worldwide tree planting initiative, aimed at empowering citizens to corporations and people up to presidents to embrace the climate change challenge, has now set its sights on planting seven billion trees.

It follows the news, also announced today, that the Billion Tree Campaign has in just 18 months catalyzed the planting of two billion trees, double its original target.

The campaign, spearheaded by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), was unveiled in 2006 as one response to the threat but also the opportunities of global warming, as well as to the wider sustainability challenges from water supplies to biodiversity loss.

(…) Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said today: “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”.

“Having exceeded every target that has been set for the campaign, we are now calling on individuals, communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments to evolve this initiative onto a new and even higher level by the crucial climate change conference in Copenhagen in late 2009,” he said.

(…) 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 enthusiastically taken part. Individuals have accounted for over half of all participants.

(…) 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. Deforestation, in turn, accounts for over 20% of the carbon dioxide humans generate, rivaling the emissions from other sources.

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.

(…) In terms of geographic distribution, Africa is the leading region with over half of all tree plantings. Regional and national governments organized the most massive plantings, with Ethiopia leading the count at 700 million, followed by Turkey (400 million), Mexico (250 million), and Kenya (100 million).

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 2 million trees.

(…) “The Billion Tree Campaign is UNEP’s call to the nearly 7 billion people sharing our planet today to take simple, positive steps to protect our climate. 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,” concluded Executive Director Steiner.

This is just fantastic to me. It might also undo what deforestation did until now…

Be sure that I will keep you updated on the advances of this great programme brought to us by the people of the United Nations.

So for this, and much more, stay tuned !

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