We're
Planting
a
Forest
for
Trump

by Dan Price

We just launched a global forest for Donald Trump and we’ve called it Trump Forest... why, you ask? To honour him? Nope. To offset his climate ignorance.

Where do I even start with this?

Since taking office the 'leader' of the free world has attacked progress in American society from healthcare to education, the rights of women to the rights of immigrants. But with his moves to stall climate action, he has gone global. At the first opportunity, Trump and his mob of fossil-fueled Republicans took aim at the Paris Agreement, and in June 2017 they pulled the trigger.

Bang.

The climate crisis is a planetary emergency that we have failed to act on for decades. In 2015, in Paris, the world decided to collectively do something. Now, Trump is trying to derail that collective action. What words best describe his actions? “Stupid,” “ignorant,” and “childish” come to mind. But maybe more appropriate are “illogical,” “dangerous,” and “immoral.”

"We need to slash carbon emissions from energy and industry in half every single decade for the next three decades."

To keep the planet from warming by 2°C (an agreed temperature threshold after which things get completely out of hand) we need to slash carbon emissions from energy and industry in half every single decade for the next three decades! In other words, we have to pollute half as much in the 2020s as we do this decade, then halve it again in the 2030s, and halve it again in the 2040s! That is one hell of a mountain to surmount and that is why Trump’s actions are so insulting to the rest of us. He’s put America first and given it free licence to pollute at everybody else’s peril.

 

Trump Forest co-founders, from left: Jeff Willis, Adrien Taylor, Dan Price.
Trump Forest Founders: Jeff Willis, Adrien Taylor, and Dan Price.

 

Trump Forest was born of frustration and fear, frustration at the ignorance of the Trump Administration, and fear of the consequences of stalling any longer on climate action. So, to counter both of these, we launched Trump Forest to directly offset all the additional emissions the Trump administration will produce by abandoning Obama-era climate policy.

"Trump Forest was born of frustration and fear."

So why a forest, you ask? Trees sequester carbon dioxide, they suck it out of the air. They are currently the cheapest and most effective way to slow the accumulation of the planet-warming gas in our atmosphere. So against Trump, it turns out they’re a pretty rad tool. Offcut upfronted the first 1,000 trees for the crowd-sourced forest in its hometown, Christchurch, New Zealand after fires devastated the local Port Hills. In just three months, the global forest has continued to grow with pledges from all over the world; 50,000 trees have been planted.

 

Trump Forest has more than 50,000 trees pledged around the world.

 

There are three of us behind Trump Forest: myself, Offcut co-founder Adrien Taylor, and our friend, Jeff Willis. I’ve spent the last decade studying climate change. I’ve been part of four fieldwork campaigns to the Antarctic as part of the global effort to understand what is happening down there as the planet warms. Things are looking pretty worrying — the rate of change we are seeing in the climate system is terrifying. Adrien is an ex-journalist who has spent five years covering climate change and Jeff is a PhD candidate looking at the impacts of climate change in the Pacific. So in summary, we're all pretty tuned into this topic.

"Things are looking pretty worrying — the rate of change we are seeing in the climate system is terrifying."
The global Trump Forest map.
Early progress is being made at TrumpForest.com with trees being pledged around the world.

 

Jeff is a US citizen. He’s from Maine and is deeply troubled by what he’s seeing in his country. But it doesn’t matter where you are from; climate change doesn’t recognize national boundaries. Our atmosphere is shared by everyone. So climate ignorance in the US, unfortunately, impacts all of us —  every person is put at risk by Trump’s incompetence and inability to recognize a global threat. And in fact, his actions are putting the world’s poorest, the world’s most vulnerable at most risk. And that goes for the poor in the US too. Nice one, Donald.

The beautiful thing about Trump Forest is that we are seeing a global response to this attack. People all over the world are venting their frustration and pledging trees. The project is a perfect example of the worldwide collaboration we need to get ahead on this issue. Everyone needs to chip in.

"The beautiful thing about Trump Forest is that we are seeing a global response to this attack."

We have partnered with The Eden Reforestation Projects, a tree planting organization based out of California. These guys are the experts so we leave the planting to them. People can also pledge trees locally; plant a tree in your own garden and send us the receipt. We’ll tally that up and add it to the global forest. People can then take comfort in the fact that for decades to come, slowly — but surely — their tree will stand in defiance of Trump.



 

We’re fully aware that planting trees is far from enough to avoid the worst consequences of a changing climate. But it’s an effective piece of the pie. Beyond planting trees, the project also aims to raise awareness of the urgency of this issue. We don’t have time for the Trumps, Pruitts and Bannons of this world. Their days are over, they’re dated. We’re decades behind where we need to be already and we need to get going. We have a window of a few years to accelerate efforts towards a renewable energy economy before we lock in a change, before we lock in a climate breakdown that modern society will struggle to cope with.

So let's get to it.

Ignorance seems to be growing trees at a steady rate, so as long as ignorance oozes from the White House, the forest will continue to grow.

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