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As over 11,000 scientists release a stark warning that “planet Earth is facing a climate emergency” and that an “immense increase” in efforts is needed to combat the climate crisis – global, women-led reforestation charity, TreeSisters, is launching its ‘Grow Your Own Forest’ campaign.
The critical steps recommended by the collective of scientists to prevent climate meltdown – as published in the journal Bioscienceon 5 November – include increasing reforestation “at enormous scales”. Their statement echoes a widely endorsed report published in the journal Science in July, affirming wide-scale global reforestation as the most effective way to tackle the climate crisis.
The new, digital Grow Your Own Forest campaign, to be launched by TreeSisters on Wednesday 20 November, is calling for faith groups to recognise their capacity and responsibility to help restore the tropical forest belt that is so crucial for planetary cooling. This is a simple way for people all around the world to take direct action to mitigate climate change.
Christian environmentalist Bill McKibben has called climate change “the dominant theological issue of our time.” In his 2015 encyclical on caring for the environment, ‘Laudato Sì’, Pope Francis called for collective action to confront environmental issues. Declaring a climate emergency in June this year, he made a plea to tackle the emissions crisis for the sake of “our children and grandchildren” who “have to pay the cost of our generation’s irresponsibility.”
Similarly the 2015 Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change called for all Muslims to play their part in “returning the Earth to some semblance of balance”, underlining that “Islamic environmentalism is embedded in the matrix of Islamic teachings”. This missive was given new momentum in August 2019 when new research by US scientists at MIT revealed that Hajj – the holy pilgrimage to Mecca – would become endangered by extreme high temperatures resulting from climate change from as early as 2020. Other sacred sites, including religious sites in Jerusalem and the Golden Temple in India, are also expected to be at risk.
Clare Dubois, Founding CEO of TreeSisters, says: “We are all warming our world and watching climate chaos unfold as if we are helpless, and we’re not. If we stop waiting for governments to act appropriately and take matters into our own hands, we can collectively reforest our planet fast enough to make a significant difference. TreeSisters invites people of faith across the world to join our movement to give back to Nature and cool our planet.”
When you Grow Your Own Forest with TreeSisters, you’re making a powerful choice to restore groundwater, protect endangered species, reduce poverty, and sequester carbon to help cool our world. You’ll be restoring forest in Kenya, Cameroon, Brazil, Mozambique, Madagascar, India and Nepal. Making this choice values the children of every species and the climate they will inherit. It says ‘I care’. When you donate to TreeSisters, their system converts your donations into numbers of trees planted, so that you can track the scale of your impact whilst discovering fascinating facts about the projects you’re supporting. When you share your forest on social media, your followers and friends can donate too and help grow your forest, extending your impact. Just set up your account and watch your forest grow.
In a world finally waking up to climate emergency, TreeSisters wants to help create a transformation within human culture, where ecological restoration becomes as fundamental to every human life as consumption currently is. “When you join Grow Your Own Forest, you’re helping to create a new normal,” says Dubois. “In giving back to Nature, you create a living legacy that begins right now. We should be looking back 10 years from now, astonished at what we achieved together and marvelling at the fact that it was ever normal to take from Nature without giving back!”
In response to devastating fires and forest destruction, TreeSisters is now funding a food forest project in the Amazon, supporting the Ashaninka tribe to maintain their economy and traditional way of life. Another project in Mozambique, assisting the restoration of decimated mangrove forests, will also sustain indigenous fishing communities and protect threatened ecosystems.
TreeSisters is a feminine response to climate change. Instead of looking to technology to sequester excess atmospheric carbon, it restores and regenerates the mechanisms Nature herself created to do the job perfectly: forests. Empowering a global network of women, the UK-based charity has to date funded over 6.5 million trees through its projects. TreeSisters is aiming for a million trees a month by the end of 2020 as the next step on their path to plant 1 billion trees annually through monthly, one-time and partnership donations.
Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest and Project Drawdown, says: “The work of TreeSisters is one of, if not the most, significant initiatives that can be undertaken by humankind to address the future of civilization. The world’s greatest land-based stores of carbon reside between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn in the form of forests. Their restoration is critical to reverse climate change and create a humane and livable future. Can women accomplish something that has failed governments and agencies for decades? I not only think so – I believe it may be the only way it can be accomplished.”
For more information and to join the TreeSisters ‘Grow Your Own Forest’ Campaign visit:
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