Trees provide everything from oxygen to habitats for animals, yet they are chopped down with impunity. The damage to the environment is incalculable. To put it into perspective, however, half the number of trees exist now than those in existence when humans first evolved; fifteen billion trees are cut down annually; and ten percent of climate change is attributable to chopping down trees. Environmental carnage aside, legal liability and criminal liability exist for cutting down trees that do not belong to the harvester.Continue reading “Chopping Down Trees Creates Legal Liability”
Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 23, 2021 by Michael Wells
Biomass sounds like a living blob slithering its way towards New York City in a bad sci-fi movie. The reality may be worse. Proponents of the biomass industry will call this fearmongering and argue biomasses are carbon neutral and “green.” But the biomass industry involves chopping down vast swaths of trees, turning them into pellets, and shipping them to Europe where they are burned for energy. In other words, it is deforestation on a massive scale, and anyone who knows anything about climate change knows deforestation is one of the major causes of climate change. So how can a practice which is so harmful to the planet — more harmful than the coal industry which releases less carbon than burning trees — be at the same time beneficial? It cannot be whatever anyone claims to the contrary.Continue reading “Biomass Industry Poses a Greater Threat Than the Coal Industry”
Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 14, 2021 by Catherine Zacuto, M. Ed.
Wildfires are unpredictable, destructive, and, in recent times, more common. Among their many victims is the soil. Soil forms the foundation of our food chain, and so is of primary importance. Cristina Santin and Stefan H. Doerr conjure up a graphic image for us: Soil is the “living, breathing skin of the Earth.” It’s an image to keep in mind when considering how the land recovers from a fire.Continue reading “From Raging Wildfires to Habitat Restoration | Soil Health”
Washington (GGM) Analysis |December 19, 2020 by Catherine Zacuto, M. Ed.
Wandering through a wooded park or along a shady path, it’s easy to miss what’s right before our eyes. How often do we consider the gifts before us, planted long ago? The cool breeze and fresh fragrance are momentary experiences that began with the planting of seeds. No matter how the trees, shrubs, and understory got there, whether through nature or a particular person, you and I are the beneficiaries.Continue reading “A Gift Worth Waiting For | Exciting Eco Projects For Students While Distance Learning”
Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 18, 2020 by Noreen Wise
The planet will keep revolving around the sun, no matter how destructive and irresponsible humans are. But we humans won’t. Humans are mammals. Mammals rely on our habitat to survive. And mammals eventually become extinct when our habitat disappears. Eighty mammals have gone extinct in the past five centuries.Continue reading “Fairfax Ninth Grader Reveals NoVa Native Carbon Storage Champions”
Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 4, 2020 by Noreen Wise
There’s never been a more important time to plant trees than right now. After massive wildfires scorched millions of acres of forests across the western United States, to the ongoing need to cut atmospheric carbon levels in order to reduce global warming, trees are now more important than ever for sustaining human life on our planet. The only way our children will have mature trees tomorrow, is if we plant seedlings today.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland in January 2020, hundreds of nations across the globe committed to planting a trillion trees by 2050. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2016 ranking, the United States is 33.93 percent forested area. Sadly, prior to Davos, the United States was hovering well below its potential for tree planting despite how much room we have to plant trees. Canada on the other hand, has been a top performer, planting 500 million trees in 2019. During this same year, the US National Forest Foundation planted 5 million trees, nearly double their 2018 total, which is aggressive, but a long way off Canada’s 500 million. There doesn’t appear to be a national data base keeping track of US totals that incorporates tree planting in local communities on private property, so the total number of trees planted in US for any given year is difficult to calculate. But what we do know, is that the US chopped down 36 million trees in 2019, and in 2020, in addition to the millions of leveled trees we ax on an annual basis, we lost 30 billion mature trees in the West Coast wildfires, which is staggering.
Ethiopia is a 2020 tree planting champion, succeeding at putting 350 million trees in the ground in 12 hours this past July 2020. The US needs to rush to catch up. In most states, trees can only be planted a few months out of the year. There’s a window in both the spring and the fall. Thus, it’s vitally important that we take advantage of each and every opportunity. Homeowners have to be the drivers of our national tree planting efforts if we’re going to succeed.
Planting a tree to remember someone whose life was cut short — whether that be from covid, gun violence, wildfires and other natural disasters, a car accident, cancer, and multiple other tragedies — or is still alive but but going through a very difficult time, is a great way of showing empathy and letting others know a loved one is being thought of regularly. It also motivates us into action. This wonderful way of keeping spirits alive and communities full of hope, helps families and communities heal, while at the same time saving the planet.
Gallant Gold Media is distributing 300 FREE redbud and button bush seedlings on Saturday, October 24, 2020, from 12 noon – 3 PM at GMU, courtesy of Fairfax ReLeaf. Residents in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia can register to pick up a free seedling at GMU so that homeowners and businesses throughout the area can plant trees and bushes this fall to remember all those in our community who’ve been lost to covid. Click here to register. This is first come first serve, so please register ASAP.
If your business has any clients or employees who have loved ones to covid, a redbud seedling is a wonderful gift to let them know you care and empathize with what they’re going through. Redbud’s are a top choice to feature in the front yard landscape, with beautiful pink spring blossoms and very easy to care for while they grow.
Again, limited quantity, with some HOAs ordering large bundles, and first come first serve, so please register ASAP.
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“The Climate Change Master Plan is the city’s overarching framework to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and respond to the current and future effects of climate.” ~City of OttawaOttawa’s Climate Action Master Plan Guiding Principles:
- Responsibility – everyone in the community is responsible and needs to lower energy consumption and mitigate risks
- Collaboration – all levels of government, all corporations, all citizens, utilities and stakeholders must work together to effect change and develop solutions
- Municipal Leadership – the city will take the lead in fostering a joint partnership between corporations and the community
- Coordination – the long term agenda must be strategic and harmonized
- Equity and Inclusion – all decision-making processes must be equitable and inclusive
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Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 9, 2019
by Noreen Wise
The emerging concept of “green intelligence” is bringing much needed analytical assessments to the attention of mayors across the country. We understand the
importance of planting thousands of trees in our local communities. But apparently, where we plant trees really makes a difference.
How do we determine the best locations for each household to plant ten trees? Thankfully, the USDA’s Forest Service Northern Research Station has just released a valuable analysis termed UTC, Urban Tree Canopy. The UTC Assessment is made up of geospatial data that can be used to strategically outline where exactly new trees should be planted in a town or city, and approximately how many will net the maximum benefit. It can be used as a guide in every city in America to identify which areas in each city need more tree work and tree TLC. New York City’s Hudson Yards’ revitalization is an excellent example.
By the way, Urban Tree Canopy is the complete tree mass — made up of branches, leaves and stems — that covers the ground when looking down from above the treeline.
Here are the facts:
- Trees make a vital, positive impact on all communities, particularly cities where there’s a dense population
- Trees improve storm water run-off by capturing rain water in their canopy and discharging it into the atmosphere.
- The EPA asserts that, “Tree roots and leaf litter create soil conditions that promote the infiltration of rainwater into the soil.”
- So with more trees, there should be less street flooding.
- Trees provide shelter from the heat, and lower urban temperatures.
- Trees reduce air pollution by absorbing toxins into the roots, bark and leaves. Trees also absorb a significant amount of CO2, as well us provide us with the oxygen we need to live.
- Once trees have been planted, wildlife habitat will soon follow. This rich habitat includes wonderful insects, birds, bats, butterflies and small mammals.
- Trees beautify our communities which increases property values and improves our mental health.
- In fact, Thomas Jefferson, and our founding fathers for that matter, strongly believed that trees and gardens were so critical in ensuring our emotional strength and stability, that they insisted trees be planted across Capitol Hill and that a Botanic Garden be established at its base.
- Trees improve the economic viability of a city or town.
- Trees nurture the community spirit and strengthen community ties. In this day and age with the opioid crisis still haunting our communities, it’s nice to know that we can grab onto something positive, inspirational and healthy that will improve our quality of life and draw us all together.
The facts are clear. Numerous life saving benefits, and a plan that the whole community can participate in. Team work. It’s time to attend town hall meetings to discuss our local community’s Urban Tree Canopy assessment. Did our mayors and town counsel members even read the UTC released by the USDA’s Forest Service? Let’s find out.
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Washington (GGM) Analysis | September 3, 2019
by Noreen Wise
With such an overwhelming blow to rainforests in the Amazon last week — 4,000 new fires detected in less than 48 hours, and 80,000 total fires in 2019 — we must move swiftly to replant and reforest on every continent.
The Amazon is considered the “lungs of the world.” On average, we lose 65 trees every minute, 93,600 trees every day, and 34.16 million trees every year. This in and of itself is a human civilization-threatening reality. With the global population rising, and carbon sequestration falling, the only way to save more lives is to immediately act in response to the recent escalation in the destruction of the globe’s forests.
The Path Forward must be a global commitment to:
- Lower carbon emissions faster
- Increase carbon sequestration faster through conservation, replanting as well other natural carbon sinks, most notably soil
- Cut back on paper products (we have to sacrifice our love of lush, fluffy double-ply anything)
Students love getting involved with climate action. So with the new school year beginning, let’s create a game plan. How about every American student planting 10 trees per school year? Some countries already require this.
- Planting trees in groups is a lot of fun
- Students can fundraise together, form an after school club and have meetings to decide where they’ll plant trees, as well as what types of trees
- Working on a life-saving and planet-saving project brings out the best in us, builds character, and rewards with a new perspective on life
- This can also be a fun family project on weekends
- Best time to plant trees is the fall & the spring, September is an excellent month to get started
There are many more benefits we receive from trees than just oxygen. Trees become friends. They are wonderful listeners. They nurture and support. Trees teach lessons about growing roots, and patience… the benefits of sunshine, as well as rain. Trees stay in our lives for a long time, providing stability. They grace us with shade and shelter. Trees share secrets about what it takes to grow big and strong. Trees are wonderful companions for students. A student tree force will provide many cures, not only for the environment and the climate crisis, but also for society in general.
Steady daily pacing of recycling, composting, planting trees, switching to solar, walking more, driving less… will get us on our way to new green habits, and a less frightening future.
We can do this!
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