As the world faces up to a biodiversity crisis that threatens humanity’s existence, a group of campaigners from across the world are saying there is one clear way to get us out of this mess and is “Massive Reforestation.”
The best and cheapest way to avert a climate catastrophe is to heal nature by restoring and replanting degraded forests and by better conserving the natural world.
“We call on governments to support natural climate solutions with an urgent program of research, funding, and political commitment,” they added.
“The world faces two existential crises, developing with terrifying speed: climate breakdown and ecological breakdown. Neither is being addressed with the urgency needed to prevent our life-support systems from spiralling into collapse,” say the signatories.
The group says that nearly a third of the greenhouse gas reductions needed to hold temperatures to a 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) rise can be provided by the restoration of natural habitats.
Technology alone cannot solve climate change, Monbiot wrote much of the technology proposed to capture carbon is expensive and could pose problems at scale. The cheapest and surest approach, he wrote, is to restore natural forests and allow native trees to repopulate deforested land.
Pakistan has just planted 1 billion trees. China plans to create forests totaling the size of Ireland. And in Africa, Ethiopia, Niger, Mali are among countries that strongly back the reforestation of degraded land.
There’s a huge difference between restoring natural forests and planting trees for commercial use. These natural solutions also go beyond trees. They include the restoration of peatlands, salt marsh and seagrass.
Still, Monbiot cautions: “We don’t want natural climate solutions to be used as a substitute for the rapid and comprehensive decarbonization of our economies. The science tells us both are needed.”
“But,” he continues, “what this thrilling field of study shows is that protecting and rewilding the world’s living systems is not just an aesthetically pleasing thing to do. It is an essential survival strategy.”