At the World Economic Forum, Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace and Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has announced her commitment to 5 million trees in the next year (via replanting or restoration) through JGI’s Roots & Shoots global youth programme and partnerships towards the 1 Trillion Trees campaign of UNEP. With this effort, Jane hopes to give global forests, and our planet as we know it, a fighting chance.
Forests are vital – as the home of most global biodiversity, regulators of water and climate systems, and resources for human livelihoods. Tragically, they are being destroyed at a staggering rate. This is largely due to powerful economic and political interests, and consumer demands for beef, mined materials, palm oil, paper and other products. This process is wiping out countless species and threatening all life on Earth. In the face of this crisis, forest protection, replanting and restoration are some of the best solutions we have for mitigating climate change, protecting human well-being and species survival. Through this campaign, Dr. Goodall is taking a stand, supporting the 1 Trillion Trees 10-year goal through the work of JGI, its Roots & Shoots youth programme, and other partnerships.
Dr. Goodall, motivated by the power of hope, feels that this is an opportunity to grow good one tree at a time. Roots & Shoots began in 1991 with a group of Tanzanian High School Students in Dar es Salaam seeking to do something about the problems in their community. It has evolved into a global network of young people in 150,000 groups from more than 60 countries. Today, Roots & Shoots supports young people in becoming environmental stewards and activists through service-learning projects, many of which directly restore or replant forests. Since 1991, Roots & Shoots groups have already made a tremendous impact, and in 2020, Roots & Shoots youth and partners will help plant and/or restore 5 million trees.
According to the campaign, global reforestation binds at least a quarter of the annual man-made CO2 emissions. Preventing the continued loss and degradation of forests and supporting sustainable and appropriate restoration could contribute to one-third of total climate change mitigation required by 2030. Restoring just 350 million hectares of forest could potentially sequester (offset) 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually (IUCN). This is a big deal, and there’s space to grow – by the campaign’s estimations, in total, an area the size of the United States could be reforested.
As an advocate for people, other animals and the environment for over 40 years, Dr. Goodall is passionate about supporting initiatives that not only bring attention to this issue, but directly encourage individual action as a part of the solution. Through JGI’s existing community-centered conservation projects, innovative science, and Roots & Shoots youth activism, Jane aims to turn things around before it is too late.
1t.org is a World Economic Forum initiative, designed to support the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, led by UNEP and FAO.
Photo credits: World Economic Forum