Trees are a key element in the fight against climate change, and a key aspect of decreasing your individual carbon footprint. A lot of people opt to plant trees as a method of reducing their carbon footprints, helping to support the planet’s ecosystems. It’s true that trees are a crucial element in the battle against climate change but what would happen if everyone in the world chose to plant a tree,? Would this have a significant impact?

Around 30% of the world is currently covered by trees; they’re beautiful, help biodiversity, and can help to battle climate change. While a significant portion of the planet is currently covered by trees, it’s a well-known fact that our forested areas are shrinking, with the number of trees on the planet reducing in size every single year thanks to deforestation.

That’s why the concept of having everyone on the planet plant a tree is so exciting - imagine if there were 7.5 billion new trees planted. If we opted to plant 7.5 billion new trees - one per person - what would the impact be? How much carbon could this number of trees remove from the atmosphere? Would planting one tree in your lifetime be enough or would everyone need to plant a tree each year?

Let’s dig a little deeper, shall we?

What could the impact of planting 7.5 billion trees actually be?

Climate change activist, Greta Thunberg, has suggested that as a short-term solution to beating climate change, as a society we all endeavor to plant more trees. This is a wonderful idea - trees are beautiful and if planting them can help the environment then it’s something worth doing, isn’t it?

Why plant a tree? Right now, there are no magical machines that can suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and repair the environment. However, trees are natural carbon dioxide vacuums and can help to remove C02 from the air. The issue is that politicians aren’t going to act on this and plant enough trees to make a difference, which is where we come in, and why it would be amazing if every single person could plant a tree.

Studies have shown that if 1.2 trillion trees were planted across the world, a decade’s worth of C02 emissions would be wiped out by the time the trees had matured. Of course, that amount if 160 trees per person, rather than one tree per person, but you can clearly see the impact of this choice being made and how it can help to aid the environment.

Why is planting more trees beneficial?

The truth is that in order to help manage climate change, we need to be producing less carbon dioxide as a starting point. However, even producing less carbon dioxide is no longer enough as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is too high for producing less C02 to remedy it. Until scientists can work out how to remove C02 from the atmosphere, it’s extremely difficult to fix the problem that has been caused.

What is the carbon content that a tree can offer?

Let’s start by looking at how much carbon one tree is capable of holding? How much carbon can one tree hold? There’s a formula that can be used to work out how much carbon a particular tree can hold - as a rule of thumb, the larger the tree, the more carbon it can hold. This means that as each tree grows larger, it will increase the amount of carbon dioxide that’s able to be held, and how beneficial the tree is to the environment.

What would actually happen if everyone planted a tree?

The concept of everyone planting a tree is an incredible goal. However, statistically, if each person on the planet planted a tree, the new trees would be dwarfed by the already existing tree population - did you know that there are already three trillion trees across the world? Do you know how many trees per person that is? It’s a whooping 400 trees per person, so would planting one more per person really make a difference?

Well, when you consider the fact that every single year, we lose around ten billion trees? This means that even if we all planted a tree each, we’d be losing more per year than the amount that was planted. However, if everyone planted a tree, there would still be 7.5 billion more trees in the world, helping to support the environment and reduce the impact of global warming.

One tree per person isn’t enough

The fact is that in order to make a big enough impact, we would need everyone to plant more than one tree, and we would need these trees to be planted in quick succession. A recent study has shown that the world could support 0.9 billion hectares of forest - this is an area larger than the US.

What this would mean would be a 25 percent increase in forested areas across the globe, and the need to plant 500 billion trees. This amount of forest would mean that 200 gigatons of carbon dioxide could be removed, which could potentially mean losing 25 percent of the carbon in the atmosphere, which would be an incredible step for fighting environmental damage.

In order to help prevent further damage to the environment in future years, the fact is that more needs to be done than planting a tree per person. Yes, if everyone planted a tree it would be a step in the right direction but it’s not enough. Yes, 7.5 billion new trees would be an amazing step to take, but it’s not anywhere near enough - far more trees would need to be planted to see results.

Some scientific forecasts say that in order to see results, we would need to plant around a trillion trees, while other studies suggest that it would take planting a third of the number of trees already on the planet to see a difference. However, even planting one tree is a step in the right direction - after all, it’s one more tree than before and you have to start somewhere, don’t you?

Author's Bio: 

Carl writes about auto, tech and life, he also loves cricket and playing chess.