8 Solutions to Deforestation Besides Planting More Trees
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You may have read labels on products boasting the manufacturer’s tree-planting pledge. Replacing these natural resources by replanting them is one solution to deforestation, but it isn’t the whole story.
Reversing the effects of climate change will take a coordinated effort involving multiple behavioral changes. Deforestation contributes, as trees reduce global temperatures by taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. However, the pines and oaks also need humans to do their part.
What should people do as individuals and collectively as communities, businesses and nations to maintain sufficient trees to keep the people on earth cool and comfortable? Here are eight solutions to deforestation besides planting trees.
Planting Trees Still Matters as a Solution to Deforestation
There’s no doubt that tree planting is a crucial solution to deforestation. However, the average American would need to plant 500 each year to account for their carbon footprint. That’s more than most folks plant in a lifetime, even if they work in a nursery.
The world lost 2.7 million forested acres between 1990 and 2018. Therefore, governments should take swift action to increase forest cover, as each 100 acres removes 115 tons of carbon emissions from the air per year. However, planting more trees in conjunction with other adaptations is necessary to reverse climate change trends and ensure a healthy planet for future generations.
Solutions to Deforestation Besides Tree Planting
What can individuals, corporations and local to national governments do besides increasing forest cover? Here are eight solutions to deforestation to take beyond planting trees.
1. Go Paperless
Everything is electronic these days, rendering most paper obsolete. Individuals can go paperless by opting out of paper bills and taking measures to reduce junk mail by doing the following:
- DMAChoice.org: Use this site to opt out of mailing lists.
- OptOutPrescreen.com: Use this site to opt out of prescreened credit card offers.
- YellowPagesOptOut.com: Use this site to opt out of phone books.
- CatalogChoice.com: Use this site to opt out of unwanted catalogs.
- Valpak.com: Use this site to opt out of the Valpak mailer.
- RetailMeNot.com: Use this site to opt out of Valassis’s Save mailer.
Corporations and businesses can invest in secure cloud storage solutions to keep copies of vital documents and make them available to stakeholders and necessary employees. Doing so does double duty by facilitating telework, another method these entities can use to address climate change and attract top talent.
2. Head to Hemp
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production. This hardy crop can serve many of the same purposes as other textiles, including wood, concrete and fabric. It grows considerably faster than trees and uses fewer resources, and while production is slow, expect to see more materials made from the plant in the future.
Individuals can opt for these products when available. Governments can incentivize hemp product production and address climate change by granting tax incentives for businesses engaged in textile manufacturing that implement this raw material.
3. Bring in the Bamboo
Bamboo is another sustainable material used in textile production today. Some species grow up to three feet a day, and the more you harvest it, the better the crop yields.
This material makes gorgeous flooring, fencing and roofing material. You can also create a living fence and address climate change by adding more oxygen-releasing plants to your home and world.
4. Diversify Land Ownership
Much of the world’s tree-chopping occurs on indigenous lands, often against the consent of the native people. It makes sense that one solution to deforestation is to diversify ownership of the world’s resources by returning land rights to the original occupants.
Many indigenous community leaders have taken on the heavy burden of fighting governments to protect their land. They are the environment’s unsung heroes. Restoring their land rights isn’t only good for the planet — it’s healing for humanity’s collective soul. It’s okay to admit when you do something wrong, especially when you pair your apology with an honest effort to make amends.
5. Support Green Businesses
Consumers today are more educated than ever — you have to be in a scam-ridden world. Fortunately, increasing transparency makes it easier to unearth a company’s business practices when deciding where to spend your money.
You vote with your pocketbook in a true free market system. Here are some free tools you can bookmark to guide your purchases:
- Harvard Business School: Has created a database of impact-weighted accounts to measure a company’s impact on the environment, employees and customers.
- CDP: Is a nonprofit charity that runs a global disclosure system for companies, investors, cities and states.
- Impaakt: Helps investors avoid greenwashing and put their money into companies making a positive environmental impact.
Do you know the nine planetary boundaries or factors scientists examine to determine the point beyond which humanity shouldn’t push things to keep an inhabitable world? Are you the resident repair expert who avoids buying new by fixing what you have?
Your help is needed. Many people don’t do what they can to protect the planet, not out of a lack of concern but because they don’t understand what to do to fix things. If you know about more sustainable practices, please, share your wisdom lovingly with receptive folks — every voice contributes to change.
7. Use Technology
Guess what? Technological innovations aren’t just for creating new social media platforms to compete with Twitter. Certain advances can become valuable partners in finding solutions for deforestation.
For example, cloud-based land use analysis and scannable powder sprayed on trees can help officials keep better track of reforestation efforts. Crowdsourcing apps provide an anonymous means to report illegal logging operations and other threats to the environment near you. Drones can play a role in reforesting large areas, planting new trees and ensuring they have the water they need to grow.
8. Improved Reclamation Techniques
There’s no need to cut down new trees when you already have adequate lumber. Although reclaimed wood won’t completely replenish the necessary supply, improved recovery techniques make it possible to repurpose old construction materials better. This material is typically denser and harder than new material and acquires considerable character over its life span.
One exciting development is the emergence of technologies that gear these products to capture more carbon, drawing more of this pollutant from the air. Additionally, improved processing techniques for freshly harvested wood make it last longer, deterring mold and pests. Wood that doesn’t decay can find a second life in a new project once the original structure becomes obsolete.
Solutions to Deforestation
Finding solutions to deforestation is a crucial part of addressing climate change. Trees take in carbon and emit oxygen, cooling temperatures and reducing air pollution.
Although planting more trees is one solution to deforestation, it’s insufficient on its own. However, combining it with other meaningful acts can protect the planet for generations to come.
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About the author
Rachel serves as the Assistant Editor of Environment.co. A true foodie and activist at heart, she loves covering topics ranging from veganism to off grid living.