Rema Boscov: This holiday season, plant a tree as a gift

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Climate Strike is over. The climate crisis remains. Greta Thunberg excoriated world leaders at the UN. Nothing changed. It’s clearly up to us to turn things around. And we can!

This holiday season, instead of buying your sister a 20th sweater or your dad another tee or toy made and transported from half the globe away, give a gift that will cool the planet. Plant trees.

Trees absorb tons of carbon dioxide and store it, releasing oxygen and purifying the air. A Swiss study published in the journal Science suggests that, in addition to cutting emissions, planting a trillion trees could reverse climate change.

A Yale University study estimates our planet loses 10 billion trees each year. Would your children enjoy planting a tree and watching it grow? Buy them a gift certificate to a garden center and anticipate a trip there to pick one out in the spring. Or buy a live Christmas tree you can plant in your yard. Dig the hole before the ground freezes, fill it with leaves to keep the soil from freezing and cover the removed soil with leaves so you can backfill after planting.

Keep the tree inside for up to seven days, well-watered. Then plant it. Want to do more? You can plant trees through organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, Arbor Day Foundation, Heifer International, American Forests, National Forest Foundation and One Tree Planted. Some will send cards to the person in whose name you’ve planted trees.

To reduce deforestation, you can contribute to organizations such as Rainforest Alliance, Rainforest Action Network, Amazon Watch, Trees for the Future, Friends of the Earth and Conservation International. You can preserve forested land by supporting your local land trust. And it’s all tax deductible.

Billions of us acting together could turn the crisis around. We need a trillion more trees. Let’s get started.

Rema Boscov