Before I tell you how you can plant trees for free, I thought I’d take a look at just how useful trees are for our ecosystem. They combat climate change by absorbing CO2 emissions while releasing oxygen back into the air. They help prevent soil erosion on hillsides, provide shade in cities and in our back gardens, provide a vital habitat for wildlife, give us wood, filter pollutants out of the air, supply us with food – and they do many other vital things for us and for the planet.
The Committee on Climate Change has recommended the UK begin planting 30,000 hectares (115.8 sq miles) of trees to help meet its goal of cutting all greenhouse gas emissions. You can read more here in this really useful article from the BBC website about the current tree planting efforts in the UK.
So, what can we do to help? The good news is, there are plenty of ways you can get involved in tree planting in the UK and abroad. I’m highlighting two fabulous organisations in this post:
The Woodland Trust protects and campaigns on behalf of the UK’s woods, plants trees, and restores ancient woodland for the benefit of wildlife and people. Established in 1972, they now have over 500,000 members and supporters and more than 1,000 sites, covering over 26,000 hectares, all over the UK. Alongside their work of managing their woodland and campaigning on environmental issues, over the next 10 years, they are aiming to plant 64 million trees.
There are so many ways of getting involved with their work – as a volunteer, you can join a working group, monitor wildlife and record tree health for their research. Why not get involved with their campaigns too? You can also buy native UK saplings from them to plant in your garden, local school, place of work and so on. The Woodland Trust also have a page outlining all the ways you can dedicate trees and wooden benches – as a Christmas present, in memory of a loved one, to mark a significant event in your life, or simply to support their work. Here’s the link.
Another fabulous way of helping plant trees worldwide (and this won’t cost a bean, so if you’re on a low income, there are ways to help out without having to struggle financially), is to use the Ecosia search engine. You can download this search engine and use it in place of Google (or whatever search method you use). Ecosia use the profits from their online advertising (all search engines do this to fund themselves) to plant trees where they are most needed in the world. They have calculated that it takes approximately 45 searches to finance the planting of one tree – that’s not a huge amount! There’s plenty of information on how they work and the different projects they support here.