On March 20, 2019, the Arbor Day Foundation announced the launch of its Time for Trees initiative, a commitment to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities worldwide by 2022; the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day.
The initiative will leverage trees as a simple, powerful way to preserve the necessities of life on Earth that are becoming increasingly compromised, as well as reverse the damage done by climate change.
“It can be easy to take trees for granted, but they are absolutely critical to maintaining balance on our planet – supporting clean air and water, healthy food and a livable climate,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “With an estimated 18 million acres of forests lost globally each year,1 that balance is being shaken, and the Time for Trees initiative – our organization’s largest undertaking to date – will provide a powerful solution.”
The Time for Trees initiative will address the critical loss of forests through active replanting efforts in areas as geographically and biologically diverse as the tropical rain forests and the iconic California national forests.
Equally important, it will reach towns and cities around the globe to reduce tree gaps resulting from natural disasters, disease, insects and development – creating greener, healthier and more sustainable communities. The Arbor Day Foundation is uniquely positioned to lead this movement due to its strong partnerships and widespread access to both public and private land.
Ultimately, the initiative will seek to leverage trees to deliver countless benefits to the environment, global economies and society, including:
- Environment: 100 million trees can remove 578,000 tons of chemical pollution from the air.2 Forests also provide 75 percent of the world’s accessible fresh water by removing impurities and preventing erosion, and a single tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon dioxide annually to help regulate climate;
- Economy: Trees are a major pillar of the global economy. The timber sector generates $600 billion annually and 54.2 million jobs, and forests also contribute to the recreation and tourism industries; and
- Society: Spending time in green spaces is proven to improve health – reducing stress levels, blood pressure and rates of cardiovascular disease. Forests also help advance medical breakthroughs. More than a quarter of modern medicine is derived from tropical forest plants.
The Time for Trees initiative is unique in that it will be powered by corporations, communities as well as individual citizens, showcasing the simplicity of tree planting – in one backyard or at scale. As part of this call to action, the Arbor Day Foundation has set a goal to inspire 5 million tree planters to join the movement by 2022.
To further amplify the power of the initiative, the Arbor Day Foundation has created the Evergreen Alliance – a group of passionate corporate partners to serve as ambassadors. In addition to providing critical funding for Time for Trees, the Evergreen Alliance will spearhead tree-planting programs and educational campaigns to drive consumer awareness and action, particularly among their own global employees.
Founding members of the Evergreen Alliance include: Bank of America, Brambles, Church & Dwight, Exelon, FedEx, The Hershey Company, International Paper, Marriott International, Mary Kay, Oncor, PwC, Target, TD Bank, UPS, Verizon and Wyndham.
“The Evergreen Alliance, along with our extensive network of corporate, community and venture partners, will be critical to the success of Time for Trees,” said Lambe. “By restoring tree loss around the world, we’re making a significant investment in our collective future – paving the way for the health and well-being of people in this and future generations. We cannot wait another day to take action – the time for trees is now.”
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters, and partners. During the last 45 years, more than 300 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world.
As one of the world’s largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees.
Photo via Adobe Stock.