As our world becomes more and more connected and urbanized, places of refuge in nature that distance us from the hustle and bustle are becoming harder to find. Forests are some of the last places on our planet that can give us a glimpse into what undisturbed, pristine life once looked like in nature before we sprawled out our cities. They are beacons of hope and resilience in this age of dwindling resources and massive climate change. Understanding the roles that forests play in our world makes our patronage to their preservation all the more important. They maintain water cycles, ecosystems, weather patterns, carbon dioxide and oxygen levels, and ways of life for cultures everywhere through the resources they offer. Forests are as essential as the food that we eat, water that we drink, and the air that we breathe because they create all three. Now, in a culture of connectivity and social responsibility, we have the opportunity to contribute more than ever before to this fight.

Recent articles from the New York Times and the Washington Post expose attempts by individuals in all levels of government and industry to open one of America’s last great forests up for industrial development. The Tongass National Forest of Alaska is described to be the crown jewel of the United States Forestry Service— at over 16 million acres of temperate rainforest woodland, it is without a doubt the largest forest in America. As of now, legislation from the 1990’s guarantees the protection of the Tongass; however, new decisions from President Trump’s Department of Agriculture would roll back these protections. Local lawmakers and stakeholders in industry see this as an opportunity for a much-needed economic boom in southeast Alaska while environmentalists see it as a nail in the coffin to an already stressed environment.

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The Tongass is just one of many forests around the world now threatened by the rapid changing of climates and temperament of governments. As our planet loses more and more of these vital natural places, we must begin to advocate for solutions that work across borders and barriers in order to ensure the preservation of our natural spaces as well as economic gain to move our world forward. According to a new study in Science, preserving our world’s forests like the Tongass and replanting new ones is the best chance we have at reducing the carbon emissions already in our atmosphere. The study states that if the world was able to plant a forest roughly the size of the mainland United States, it would be able to eliminate a quarter of all carbon in our atmosphere. Though this task is daunting in the face of a growing world, it is not impossible. Many organizations around the world have dedicated efforts to help reforest the planet by pledging to plant certain numbers of trees.

One campaign that is focused on this reforestation effort is the “Time for Trees” initiative started by the Arbor Day Foundation that pledges to plant 100 million trees and inspire 5 million individuals to continue planting. This has gained much attention recently after partnering with YouTube and hundreds of their content creators to raise funds to support the Arbor Day Foundation initiative. The campaign, tagged #TeamTrees, urges YouTube viewers to donate money to help the Arbor Day Foundation reach a goal of $20 million to help fund their reforestation efforts. Meanwhile, YouTube plans to cover all transaction fees for donations in order to optimize crowd-sourcing in what is being declared, “the largest YouTube collaboration of all time.” This effort is poised to engage millions of people in the fight against climate change by the time they are scheduled to meet their goal in 2022.

Small contributions to large-scale efforts like these can resonate into massive movements in our society that have the potential for change. Donate a few dollars to organizations like the Arbor Day Foundation. Plant a tree in your backyard. Visit your local forests. Spend time with your loved ones in these oases of nature. Learn everything you can to make yourself a better advocate in the fight for our forests. As time goes on, this debate between economic viability and natural preservation in our communities around the globe will soon reach into our own backyards . Tactical Land Care is positioned to help you maintain this crucial balance in your very own greenspaces. Our team of horticulturists and arborists will work with you to understand how you can maximize the potential of trees to increase the sustainability of your property and reduce our global carbon footprint. Give us a call at (860) 469-5296 today to start a new front in the fight against climate change in your community!