Climate Crisis

Earth Day 2022: 3 amazing projects that are tackling climate change with trees

Earth Day 2022: Someone holding a plant.

Earth Day 2022: Earth Day takes place on 22 April each year. Image: Unsplash/Noah Buscher

Douglas Broom
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • 950 million hectares of new forests will be needed to help arrest climate change, according to IPCC data.
  • To mark Earth Day 2022, we highlight three projects tackling climate change with tree-based solutions.
  • From investing in trees and pop-up urban forests, to mapping them by satellite.

“Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks.”

Those are the words of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their February 2022 assessment of the impact of rising global temperatures.

But on this year’s Earth Day, it’s important to remember that nature is not only the victim of rising temperatures, it also has a critical role to play in tackling climate change. Trees in particular provide a vital carbon sink, reducing the rate at which CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere.

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say that in every year since 2000, the world’s forests have absorbed an average of two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

So how many more trees would we need to plant to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C, the level beyond which the IPCC says some of the harmful effects of climate change will become irreversible?

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What’s the World Economic Forum doing about deforestation?

Based on IPCC data, NASA says that 950 million hectares of new forests will be needed to help arrest climate change. The World Economic Forum launched 1t.org at its annual meeting in Davos 2020 to help the global movement to conserve, restore and grow one trillion trees by 2030

Earth Day 2022: three projects tackling climate change with tree-based solutions

Here are three projects, featured on the Forum’s UpLink innovation crowdsourcing platform, which aim to fund the planting of new trees in rural areas, create pop-up urban forests and use artificial intelligence technology to monitor the fate of our forests.

1. EcoTree

Most people like the idea of planting more trees. But what can individuals do to help? That’s where Danish start-up EcoTree comes in by “selling” trees on land it owns to small investors.

Earth Day 2022: EcoTree’s forest at Cleden Poher in Brittany.
EcoTree’s forest at Cleden Poher in Brittany. Image: EcoTree

When the tree is no longer able to capture carbon it is felled and the timber sold. All the profits go to the investor and three new trees are planted for every one that is cut down. Anyone can be an EcoTree forester, from individuals to businesses.

So far 50,000 people have bought a tree through EcoTree, some as gifts for others. The project’s website features trees in Denmark and France for sale at prices ranging from a single tree for $20 (€18) to $481 (€443) for a “bundle” of 33 trees.

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2. Pop Up Forest

“Cities are broadly defined as the absence of nature, as places with only hardscapes and humans. This false dichotomy does a disservice to urban centres and ourselves,” says Pop Up Forest founder Marielle Anzelone.

In compliance with the Earth Day 2022 theme, 'Invest in our planet', having pop-up forests in metro cities is one good idea.
Instant city greenery - a pop-up forest in New York. Image: PopUp Forest

Launched on Kickstarter, the project - which aims to create “temporary and immersive natural area experiences in un-natural places” - has already created a pop-up forest in New York’s Times Square. Now it plans to go global with projects planned in cities in Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, South Africa and the UK.

As well as greening city centres, PopUp Forest aims to mobilize civic support for the creation of urban wild spaces through education and community engagement. For instance, they are urging people to spend at least 40 minutes a week in nature to see their city in a different way.

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3. Chloris Geospatial

Using satellite remote sensing and machine learning, Chloris Geospatial says it is measuring the world’s “natural capital”. By using the language of financial markets, the project says it can convey the positive impact businesses could have on nature.

Map of the Congo Basin
The Congo Basin holds 11% of Earth’s above-ground carbon. Image: Uplink/Chloris Geospatial

The data it provides allows organizations to invest with confidence in nature-based solutions by demonstrating their effectiveness in reducing carbon emissions and supporting business’s sustainability goals.

It works by measuring changes in the world’s plant and tree cover, detecting deforestation and measuring the effectiveness of new forest planting. “It’s time to put nature on the balance sheet,” says founder and CEO Marco Albani.

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Climate CrisisSustainable Development
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