413,000 New Trees Planted in 5 Countries

Earth Day Network has a longstanding commitment to protecting natural lands and preserving the environment for everyone. As part of that commitment, we developed The Canopy Project, which plants trees to help communities—especially the world’s impoverished communities—maintain thriving and sustainable economies. In 2012, Earth Day Network vamped up its commitment to reforestation once again, pledging to plant 10 million trees over the next 5 years through the Global Poverty Project.

The reason for our focus on reforestation is simple: trees are essential to the health and well-being of communities. They reverse the effects of land degradation; provide food, energy, and income; prevent soil erosion; and help mitigate the effects of climate change by filtering out carbon dioxide from the air.

Today, we are proud to report on our progress. Over the last several months, Earth Day Network, in partnership with project sponsor The UPS Foundation, has successfully planted 413,000 trees in five countries—Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, and Uganda—with the help of local tree-planting organizations. Collectively, these trees will sequester 9,912 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

In Manitoba, Canada, Earth Day Network planted 40,000 trees in May in partnership with Tree Canada. These trees—25,600 White Spruce and 14,400 Red Pines—are now a part of the Canadian Boreal Forest. Globally, the Boreal Forest serves as the world’s largest reservoir of carbon, housing almost 22% of the total carbon stored on the Earth’s land surface. Each year, the 40,000 trees that Earth Day Network planted will filter out 960 tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

Earth Day Network also facilitated a tree-planting project in Beek-Ubbergen, The Netherlands. In coordination with Earth Value Foundation, we planted 3,000 trees in the area. The event was attended by local community members, students, media correspondents, and elected officials. The plantings make up part of the “Green Health Zone,” a five-square-kilometer recreational area for community members. In total, the trees will offset 72 tons of carbon each year.

In Norway, Earth Day Network worked with partner Learning and Forest to plant 10,000 trees in Fredrikstad, Spydeberg and Skiptvedt. 29 schools groups helped to plant the trees and participated in education programs about the relationship between greenhouse gases, carbon sequestration, and climate change. In Russia, we planted 10,000 pine and spruce trees in seven cities, also in coordination with Learning and Forest. School groups played a major role in the process, planting all the trees and learning about the importance of trees in mitigating climate change. In Norway and Russia combined, 2,591 students participated, planting enough trees to sequester 480 tons of carbon per year.

Our largest tree-planting project took place in central Uganda, where we partnered with Trees for the Future to plant 350,000 trees. Collectively, the trees will offset 8,400 tons of carbon per year. Trees are a valuable resource for local farmers in Uganda, creating natural boundaries for livestock, preventing erosion, providing firewood, and serving as a food source for livestock. Local farmers were thrilled with the results. One farmer said, “My pigs did not have a shelter, but the trees I planted have created a forest for my pigs, and I also get firewood.” Another remarked, “I’m happy to have planted Calliandra trees as a fence on my land. I also use them to feed my goats. I need more Calliandra so that I can plant on all my land.”

As this farmer pointed out, our work is not nearly done. Thousands of impoverished communities around the world are in desperate need of trees—for food, energy, erosion prevention, and to help stave off the effects of climate change. In many cases, these communities disproportionately bear the burden of environmental degradation and climate change. As the impacts of these problems continue to mount, our task becomes increasingly urgent. We need your help! With each dollar donated, we will plant one tree, and better the lives of countless community members.