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Climate change is a code red for humanity

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Smoke and ash from dozens of wildfires last year turned the sky over San Francisco was an eerie red, and the California wildfires scorched millions of acres of land. Already this year, the fires have charred nearly 6 million acres in the United States

Forest fires – in my state of California and around the world – are getting more frequent and more severe every year. And extreme temperature fluctuations, dangerously high sea levels and devastating droughts disrupt daily life and endanger communities on every continent.

As the latest UN climate report makes clear, climate change is a code red for humanity. We cannot afford to wait for the next round of disasters to spur bold action on climate change. Every individual and institution, including the business community, must act urgently on behalf of our planet. Our generation has a huge opportunity to take bold action and change the course of history.

To meet this challenge, business leaders need to think holistically about tackling climate change. To save our planet, we must sequester 100 gigatons of carbon by conserving, restoring and growing 1,000 billion trees in partnership with initiatives like 1T.org; protect our oceans; energize the revolution of ecopreneurs; and accelerate the world’s largest companies to net zero. We achieve net zero emissions by sequestering as much as we emit.

To do this, one of the most effective and affordable tools we have today is to invest in our planet’s natural ecosystems – they not only capture carbon, but protect our communities from dangerous and very human impacts. of the climate crisis.

Here are three impactful organizations that prioritize the natural ecosystems of our planet:

The Nature Conservancy captures carbon by planting trees.

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has made the protection of natural ecosystems its mission and recently committed to planting 1 billion trees worldwide. Trees, or nature-based solutions, are a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. Not only do they provide many benefits in our daily life, such as filtering clean air and purifying drinking water, but trees and other nature-based solutions help to expand essential ecosystems and absorb carbon dioxide.

TNC also leads the Cumberland Forestry Project, which preserves 253,000 acres of vast forested landscapes in southwest Virginia and along the Kentucky-Tennessee border. This innovative project is structured as an investment fund, attracting private capital to conserve these forests on a larger scale and at a faster rate than ever. These carefully managed forests have been listed on the California Carbon Market and aim to improve forest health while generating income to repay conservation-conscious investors. It is an example of the business opportunities available in the race for net zero.

The Cumberland Forest Project is TNC’s largest project to date. Together, these three plots will store millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and link one of North America’s most important migratory corridors for plant and animal species.

American Forests advocates fairness in trees to increase well-being and slow climate change.

American Forests is on a mission for tree fairness. Global average temperatures are rising and longer, warmer heat waves are causing smog to intensify. Fewer trees means more heat-related illnesses. Trees help cool neighborhoods, can create jobs and improve air quality.

Earlier this year, American Forests launched its Nationwide Tree Equity Scores, an indicator of whether a neighborhood has the right number of trees so that everyone is enjoying the benefits trees provide. What he found was that a tree cover map in almost every city in America is also an income map. Simply put, low income neighborhoods usually don’t have as many trees.

According to a new study from American Forests, we need to plant 31.4 million trees a year in cities to advance tree equity and slow climate change. In the United States, urban forests account for about one-fifth of catches and storages carbon emissions.

“We have to make sure the trees go where the people are,” said Jad Daley, president and CEO of American Forests. “And over 70% of the people live in cities or suburbs, so it’s a place-based problem with a place-based solution.”

Everyone deserves the benefits of trees.

Cities4Forests brings trees to urban landscapes through “reforestation centers”.

Todd Gartner knows a thing or two about conservation. As Director of Cities4Forests and the National Infrastructure Initiative of the World Resource Institute, he has dedicated his career to the conservation, management and restoration of forests, functional landscapes, urban green infrastructure and other ecosystems.

Cities4Forests works to create a world where cities and forests thrive together. According to the organization, 36 million trees fall each year in cities across the United States, causing economic losses of up to $ 786 million each year. This is why they have adopted “reforestation centers”, which are public-private partnerships that allow cities to save money and generate income by diverting felled urban trees from landfills.

Thanks to the dynamic circular economy created by these reforestation centers, cities not only increase their incomes and reduce waste, but they also help mitigate climate change. Forests are critically important, but they are also increasingly vulnerable, as we have seen with the growing threat of forest fires and other extreme weather events. Cities4Forests is helping to diversify reforestation efforts by introducing more trees to urban environments, which advances public health through cleaner air and water, reduced respiratory disease, and reduced heat for urban communities.

It takes all of us.

Innovative investments in natural resources like trees are an essential part of the broader global climate action strategy. As part of this, we need to use scientific advice to make sure trees are planted in the right places, by the right people, for the right reasons in order to better capture and absorb carbon.

Business leaders are uniquely positioned to advance nature-based solutions – we can fuel vital initiatives and encourage collaboration between business, government and NGOs. Collaborations like Global Citizen Live are already underway to implement the change. Anyone can join the movement today and help green our planet by joining 1T.org, planting trees in neighborhoods and backyards, and donating to organizations that protect our natural ecosystems. Together, let’s reach net zero faster.

Originally posted by Forbes

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