We’ll fight them with trees
Will plants save us all?
Maybe!! (two exclamation points indicate conviction)
Shit, it’s worth a try at this point.
Not sure how this campaign for Plant for the Planet escaped my Sauron-like eye for so long (only inasmuch as my eyes are lidless and my pupils, vertical slits), but I’m sure glad I found it. Dead simple idea, gorgeously executed. Flawless visual solution. And a refreshingly proactive, Goonies-never-say-die approach to fighting climate change to boot.
Holy artistry! Seriously, I want one of these cut leaf illustrations on my wall, framed.
Let’s roll credits, then do yourself a solid and keep reading; that’s where the juicy bits are:
Advertising Agency: Leagas Delaney, Hamburg, Germany
Executive Creative Director: Hermann Waterkamp
Creative Director: Michael Götz, Florian Schimmer
Art Directors: Felix Boeck, Robert Westphal
Copywriter: Heiko Franzgrote
Illustrator: Lorenzo Durán, Nadine Hoenow
Beyond the campaign’s winning good looks, its message is something we can actually achieve, for a change. (And let’s be honest, in a few hundred years or less, when Earth finally loses her shit and decides to rid herself of pesky humankind, trees will be how the planet naturally repairs itself—well, trees and insects.) Whether our efforts stay Mother Nature’s inexorable hand of vengeance is another matter. But like I said, it’s certainly worth a go.
Of course, it would take a cosmic shift in thinking for this stratagem to make a measurable climatic difference, particularly in regions of the world nearest the equator—where reforestation would have its most potent cooling effect on the planet,** yet where deforestation is most rampant. (And why? because mass production, overpopulation and our “need” for fast food hamburgers and disposable chopsticks have tragically made forest eradication far more profitable than forest preservation in these parts.)
Now I’m neither doomsaying nor yearning for said biotic crisis (which is arguably already in effect), but let’s be real: a shift so radical and irreversible probably needs to occur to incite economic demand for wastelessness on a mass scale.
Or maybe fate will throw us one last bone, perhaps in the form of a fungus or flora unique to the rainforest with such astounding profit potential as to make deforestation uneconomical by comparison.
Not being cynical here; that’s just the sad, unavoidable reality we live in—it’s all about economics. For example, you think hybrid car sales skyrocketed due to a widespread surge in morality and kumbayaness? Absolutely not. Gas prices became prohibitive, so mpgs became matter of fiscal, not social, urgency. And why do you think, say, endangered mountain gorillas haven’t been poached to extinction yet? Because Rwandan, Ugandan and Congolese villagers suddenly and collectively realized how adorable they were? Pshaw! It’s because tourism revenue keeps them and their natural habitats alive. Put bluntly, to their local economies and governments, these animals and their habitats are worth more alive than dead. Well, same goes with forests… but I digress.
My long-winded point is, combating climate change with an arboreal assault would be astonishingly easy to accomplish if we just stopped razing forests and started raising forests.
Here’s why: Trees, you see—particularly “big” trees (over 30 inches)—are natural sponges for carbon. They yank carbon dioxide, among other pernicious gases, from the air and store the carbon in their wood, roots and the soil around them.
Nothing else does that. Not even Al Gore.
Beyond climate change and helping to solve our carbon conundrum, trees are vitally important for human health, too—particularly in city environs. They capture particulate pollution on their leaves, especially tiny particles under 10 microns (1/2,540th of an inch, or about the size of a single pollen grain) that consequently find their way into the soil soon thereafter. Left to their own devices, however, these undesirable pollutants prefer to chillax in midair, until we the people breathe them in. Super if you want to commit suicide in tiny increments. Not so super if you enjoy the use of your lungs.
So I guess what it comes down to is this: Aside from fighting the uphill battle against the corporate powers that be to reduce carbon emissions, trees are probably the only real way to fight climate change.
ANNOTATION: **oddly enough, reforestation in regions above 30º latitude might actually have an adverse effect on lowering global temperatures, or so they say. Due to the dark colors of their canopy, forests tend to trap heat as well as carbon. Thus, to re-cultivate forests in regions above the 30th parallels (where most of the world’s deserts reside) might further upset Earth’s natural climatic balancing act between absorbing carbon dioxide and reflecting sunlight. Yet another alarming reason why the rapid dissipation of permafrost and tundra snow is so damn critical, beyond the massive stores of carbon and methane said thawing releases.
I must say, however, that I find this factoid rather tough to swallow. Yes, I understand not planting in naturally treeless terrain like deserts and tundra. But in deforested regions above 30º latitude, how can it be wrong to plant trees back where they once were? Sounds hinky to me.
by dint of Colossal