The UNEP Billion Tree Campaign‘s goal was to plant seven billion trees before the Copenhagen meeting in December. To today’s news the goal was reached as China planted 2.6 billion trees to support the campaign.
This shows at least two things : when China starts on something, it is unstoppable. The country’s efforts on climate change mitigation and pollution reduction are each day bigger.
Second message : people around the world are more than willing to mitigate climate change. This is an important message for our representatives meeting this week in New York.
Here are some extracts of the official press release :
The global public’s desire to see action on climate change was clearly spotlighted today with the announcement that the Billion Tree Campaign has reached 7 billion trees?one for every person on the planet.
Over the past three years millions of people ranging from scouts to presidents and from schoolchildren to city dwellers and corporate heads have been rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty for the environment through tree planting.
Today’s milestone was reached with the news that the Government of China has planted 2.6 billion trees as part of this unique campaign, bringing the total to 7.3 billion trees planted in 167 countries worldwide.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said: “Seven billion trees, seven billion commitments to action and seven billion reasons why governments should be inspired to Seal the Deal at the crucial UN climate change convention meeting in Copenhagen in less than 80 days’ time.”
“When this campaign was launched in 2006, there were those who said it could not be done. But day after day and week after week, people have got out into their gardens, parks and cities and into the countryside and the rural areas to prove the doubters wrong,” he added.
“Above all the Billion Tree Campaign shows that the simple act of planting a tree resonates and unites the child in the slums of Africa with a president in Mexico, or a corporate CEO in Paris with UN peacekeepers in Timor-Leste. It is the kind of solidarity that now needs to be expressed at the level of all governments and heads of state between now and December in order to move economies towards a low carbon, sustainable path,” said Mr Steiner.
The Billion Tree Campaign was launched jointly with the World Agroforestry Centre during the UN climate convention meeting in November 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya, under the patronage of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai and His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Its initial goal was to catalyze the pledging and the planting of one billion trees as a way of giving public expression to the challenges of climate change and also forest and ecosystem degradation.
Since then the Billion Tree Campaign has more than surpassed its aims, evolving into a true ‘People’s Campaign’ more than half (52 per cent) of all the participants are private individuals.
Furthermore, tree planting has become both an inter-faith and an inter-generational activity, with the trees symbolizing connections between children and parents and bringing together people from different religious backgrounds.
(…)In the past eight months China planted 6.1 billion trees, of which 2.6 billion have been given to the Billion Tree Campaign. With the announcement of these 2.6 additional billion trees, the grand total number of trees planted for the campaign stands at 7.3 billion as of 21 September. The government planted 260 different species of trees in eleven provinces around China, from Inner Mongolia to Yunnan and from Shandong to Sichuan.
(…) A number of other countries around the world have planted impressive numbers of trees since the campaign was launched. Countries that have planted more than a hundred million trees range from Ethiopia (with 1.4 billion trees) and Turkey (711 million trees) to Mexico (with 537 million trees) and countries including Kenya, Cuba, and Indonesia.
(…) The economic gains of tree planting are powerfully illustrated by the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative. As well as being close to planting 38 million trees in the Appalachian region, the North American organization has also devised a green job tree planting proposal to stimulate the economy of Appalachia and reap the ecological benefits of a region-wide reforestation effort.
(…) The campaign’s universal appeal is clear from its success on social networking sites, with some 4,000 blogs adopting the cause early in the campaign.Proving true its motto that ‘Every tree counts, and we count every tree’, the Billion Tree Campaign’s phenomenal success is a result of the participation of people of all walks of life and from every corner of the planet.