OCTOBER 22, 2018 BY 

Article Adopted by the Denver Post

Planting trees is a simple yet serious strategy to combating the biggest challenges facing the world today.

With all the global issues we face today — including poor air and water quality, climate risk, deforestation, poverty, and hunger — individuals and organizations alike are taking a proactive step to become part of the solution. And they are turning to trees to make a difference. There is a natural draw to tree planting and forests because there is an emotional and intuitive connection between trees and a healthier planet.

Planting trees is a simple yet serious strategy to combating the biggest challenges facing the world today. Because trees provide the necessities of life itself — and the beneficiaries of trees are people. They filter pollutants out of the air and water while protecting us from dangerous heat and flooding. They lower urban temperatures, reduce energy use and sequester carbon to slow the rate of climate change. Resources from forests help to keep people out of extreme poverty. Green environments encourage physical activity, improve cognitive ability and reduce stress. And trees foster community engagement and connectivity in a unique and positive way.

For these benefits and more, there’s a great urgency to plant trees and restore forests. That’s why, every year, working with our government, corporate and non-governmental partners, our foundation helps to plant millions of trees throughout the U.S. and around the world. These efforts are happening strategically in National Forests, rain forests and the cities and towns that make up our urban forest.

The reasons for planting vary greatly. Oftentimes, we replant in forests and communities after natural disasters such as wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, invasive insects or disease. Other planting projects are located in areas that were previously cleared due to mining, past unsustainable forest management or land use change. Regardless of the reason, the goal is always the same: improve tree canopy cover and inspire sustainable forestry practices.

One of our partners, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), has expertise in managing forests sustainably and supports research and educational opportunities in America’s forests. Through our emerging partnership, we are collaborating to explore how managed forests and tree planting can play an innovative role in corporate sustainability initiatives — providing measurable outcomes that tell a powerful narrative to employee, investors, customers and the world.

The more organizations involved in these efforts, the greater the compounding effect. Each tree makes a measurable difference, and combined tree planting efforts can make a significant positive impact on many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals designed by world leaders to improve conditions on our planet by 2030.

We partner with SFI to not only plant trees but also engage the tree planters of tomorrow. Through SFI’s Project Learning Tree, children learn about the importance of forests — a vital step, as we know that many people develop a passion for trees at a young age. Their interest in forests and understanding of the benefit of trees will help make both our cities and rural areas more resilient in the years to come.

If ever there was a time to plant trees, now is that time. The time to harness trees and forests as a solution to some of the biggest challenges our planet has ever faced. We are proud to be at the forefront of this movement, working with partners and supporters to build a brighter, more sustainable future.

We are proud of what has been accomplished through our public planting partners. We are grateful to our nearly 170 corporate partners for stepping up to create change through trees. We are humbled by the 1 million members and supporters who are passionate about planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. And we invite all of you — organizations and individuals alike — to join us in our efforts to make a lasting impact the world over.

Tomorrow is relying on what we do today. Let’s make every tree count.

Dan Lambe is President of the Arbor Day Foundation. www.arborday.org