It’s often put forward as a good way to help ameliorate man-made global warming, but we don’t need to plant more trees.
Even though they absorb the carbon dioxide, along with other pollutants, that us humans produce in large quantities, and which is slowly killing us all, and destroying the ecosystem. Trees can look after themselves. They’re quite capable of reproducing quickly and in large numbers. They can colonise large areas, in surprisingly inhospitable conditions, on their own, with no help from us. The idea that we would need to plant trees is indicative of the arrogant nature of our species, and our incredible ability to overlook our own culpability, in the face of overwhelming evidence. It shows a basic misunderstanding of our relationship to the environment. Because the problem we face is not how to get trees in the ground and growing – they’re doing that all the time, virtually everywhere in the world. The problem is that human activity in almost every part of the world has, and is, depriving the land of trees. In every place that there are trees, there are human beings restricting their growth or chopping them down. Everywhere there is a piece of land where trees could grow, there are human beings ensuring that they don’t.
And so, as usual, mankind thinks it’s part of the solution when, in fact, it’s all of the problem. We don’t need to plant more trees. We just need to refrain from chopping down the trees that are there already, and stopping new tree seeds from germinating and growing.