Unless you've been living on another planet in recent years, I think it's fair to say we all know that we need to be planting more trees to improve our chances and minimise devastating climate-related impacts. This study from 2015 concluded that humans have chopped down around 50% of the Earth's trees since we learnt how to swing an axe to further our exponential growth. That's a pretty horrific figure if you stop to think about it. Anyway, just as a quick recap, these renewable green-leafed feats of nature are awesome because:
Trees produce oxygen
Trees absorb carbon dioxide
Trees release water
Trees absorb water
Trees encourage wildlife
Trees make us feel better
But it's not quite as simple as planting any old tree in your back garden. It has to be the right kind of tree, planted at the right time (and with the appropriate permission if necessary). I'm also well aware that not everyone has space to be planting trees left, right and centre. But fear not, for here are a few easy ways you can plant more trees every day - without actually planting them yourself. Hurrah!
TreeApp Quite simply download the app and you can plant a tree for nothing, every single day, and in less than a minute. You'll have to scroll through a couple of ads, but those advertisers are paying for these new trees so it's a pain worth bearing. So far, I've been busy planting in Madagascar and Ethiopia, and the more trees you plant, the more projects you unlock. Winner. Just remember to do it every day before your opportunity disappears until tomorrow.
AtlasGo Another clever and free app to download - but this time, it's linked to how much you exercise. The more you walk/run/cycle/swim/garden, the more trees you'll plant. For example, for every 5km you walk or run, you'll plant a new tree. The app can by synced with Strava, FitBit and Garmin, or you can add in your distances manually. This week alone, I've planted 10 extra trees :-) You can also set up a team - as colleagues, friends, family or even your local community - to see how many trees you can plant as a group.
Ecosia I've mentioned this one before (in week 36), but it possibly got lost in all my waffle. So forgive me, but I'm brazenly mentioning it again now. Simply switch your default search engine from Google to Ecosia (you can download it on your PC, laptop, tablet and phone too), and for every 45 searches you make, you'll fund a new tree.
Conqueror challenges This one is slightly off-piste and possibly only indirectly related to planting trees, but it's still another good way to get more saplings into the ground while keeping me motivated to get out there and get those steps under my belt. I signed up to a virtual challenge to walk the distance from Lands' End to John O'Groats (1083 miles or 1743 km!) over the course of 2021. As you can see, I'm slightly ahead of target which is great. And as a nice little bonus, for every 20% of the challenge you complete, a new tree is planted. There are other - much shorter - distances, so you don't have to go all out like I've chosen to do!
Treecelet I appreciate I'm a little late for Mother's Day this year, but if anyone is looking for a great gift, these bracelets could be a good shout. For every bracelet purchased, you also finance a tree planting project. The particular project location depends on the bracelet you choose so if your loved one has a particular interest in Indonesia, for example, you can buy them a bracelet that will plant 3 trees on Biak Island while also raising awareness about deforestation in the region. Some of the options are a little on the pricier side, but there are also some very affordable and gorgeous bracelets available, too.
So there you have it. Five different ways to plant trees without having to get muddy yourself. What's stopping you?!
**August 2021 update** Here's another app for you to download, too!
Treekly Simply walk 5000 steps 5 times a week to plant a new tree every week.