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A good plan - Planting trees, halting deforestation the best bet for Planet Earth

Extinction Rebellion’s Nina Newington, a horticulturalist, stands on the floating dock at Jubilee Park in Bridgetown July 13 during the Annapolis River Festival. She’s a member of Extinction Rebellion Forest Protectors and is demanding a halt to deforestation and praising the idea of planting one trillion trees to help slow climate change. XR member Ian Currie gets into the XR pink canoe.
Extinction Rebellion’s Nina Newington, a horticulturalist, stands on the floating dock at Jubilee Park in Bridgetown July 13 during the Annapolis River Festival. She’s a member of Extinction Rebellion Forest Protectors and is demanding a halt to deforestation and praising the idea of planting one trillion trees to help slow climate change. XR member Ian Currie gets into the XR pink canoe. - Lawrence Powell
BRIDGETOWN, N.S. —

Planting trees goes hand in hand with Extinction Rebellion Forest Protectors’ goal of halting deforestation in the midst of a climate emergency, said XR member Nina Newington. She’s just worried that the peak carbon dioxide sequestering capabilities of those billions of trees would be a long way down the climate change road.

She and other members of the group were at Annapolis River Festival in Bridgetown July 13 handing out pamphlets to the hundreds attending the annual event at Jubilee Park, a week after in the journal ‘Science’ published a report on planting one trillion trees globally to help slow climate change.

Newington said planting trees to absorb CO2 fits with Extinction Rebellion Forest Protectors’ goal of halting destruction of forests.

“It’s a great idea. A trillion trees we reckon will actually be able to absorb a lot of CO2 back from the atmosphere, but the thing is, they won’t be at peak efficiency for 50 to 100 years,” Newington said. “Great idea. But in the meantime we’re deforesting Nova Scotia. We’re going in the wrong direction. So we’ve got about 11 years to stop ourselves from reaching an irreversible tipping point with climate change. Planting trees is a good long-term solution, but a short-term solution is to stop cutting them down.”

She said there is no reason why we couldn’t be curbing deforestation and planting trees at the same time.

The ‘Science’ report published July 5 said ecosystems could support an additional 0.9 billion hectares of continuous forest.

“This would represent a greater than 25-per-cent increase in forested area, including more than 500 billion trees and more than 200 gigatonnes of additional carbon at maturity,” the report said. “Such a change has the potential to cut the atmospheric carbon pool by about 25 per cent.”

GoOnline: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/365/6448/76

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

Tree planting was the top ‘good news’ item in the pamphlet Newington was handing out. The ‘bad news’ item just beneath it said deforestation is going on all around us in Southwestern Nova Scotia.

“Cutting down whole forests that are storing carbon right now is the last thing we should be doing,” the pamphlet said.

“We’re telling people about Extinction Rebellion. Our efforts to get the climate emergency on the agenda of politicians,” Newington said. “But also we’re talking specifically to people around here about clear-cutting in a climate emergency, because it’s crazy. They’re cutting down standing forest that can absorb carbon dioxide and using them for things like burning biomas for electricity. It’s insanity.”

She said most people she talks to seem to be opposed to deforestation but don’t know what they can do about it.

“I would say 95 per cent of people said ‘oh, clear-cutting! We’ve been talking about that for 30 years. Nobody’s doing anything.’ Or ‘yes, it just happened to me by the side of my road.’ Or ‘I’ve got a bear in my back yard because they clear-cut the woods,’” she said. “People are really aware of it and really tired of it.”

HOPEFUL

Newington said she is hopeful.

“I am, because when I talk with lots of people like this I see that people are very aware of it and they’re reaching maybe their own tipping point of being willing to just go on being promised things that don’t happen,” she said. “People are really fed up and something like Extinction Rebellion – the goal is be a catalyst to get enough people acting to start really shifting things. People get hopeful when they stop just cursing the radio and TV and start doing stuff.”

Newington reached her own tipping point and joined Extinction Rebellion.

“It wasn’t exactly what I was planning to do when I turned 60 which was last summer. But it’s good. Like I said, it feels much better to be acting than it does to be despairing.”

DID YOU KNOW?

We have 11 years left to drastically reduce carbon emissions, or else we'll face the irreversible tipping point of catastrophic climate change! This will create a domino effect of drought, wild fires, food insecurity, storms, floods, mass migration and societal collapse.

Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, October 2018

DID YOU KNOW?

One million species are at risk of extinction.

Source: Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report, May 2019

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