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In the wake of the recent turn of events regarding climate change, an uproar from environmental scientists across the globe has prompted the world to take action. The most popularly championed idea currently heralded amongst the general populous is to plant trees in order to cull the growing tide of Co2 emissions. While a virtuous notion, planting trees is not actually a very effective way of controlling climate change, and may actually contribute to it. Planting trees is not an appropriate long-term solution to deal with climate change.
As good as the prospects may sound, planting trees is not nearly as effective as protecting existing ones. Nearly two-million trees are destroyed every day at the hands of deforestation, resulting in a silent genocide which further propagates the globe’s changing climate. Not only would simply preventing these trees from being cut down be a more simple and cost effective, it would also allow for these already existing tree populations to spread. Cutting down trees releases the Co2 manifested within their physical being into the atmosphere; by cutting down trees, we are releasing this hidden store.
Trees can also contribute to the changing temperature of the globe in a more negative way than one would originally anticipate. It’s common knowledge that materials of darker composition tend to absorb more energy when exposed to light. This phenomenon is no different when comparing the energy absorbed and deflected by the leaves of trees. Being white, snow reflects energy much more than their leafy green counterparts. By planting trees in higher latitude locations, more heat is absorbed, rather than being deflected back into the atmosphere; this offsets the potential gains of planting them in the first place.
Planting trees is most implausible in the long-term due to the sheer volume we must plant in order to offset the damage already done by humans. The entire continental united states would have to be completely filled with trees in order to offset 10 percent of our annual carbon emissions. In order to completely reverse the role that human industry has done would be completely infeasible simply with trees. Without sacrificing a major portion of agricultural space, or of residential areas, this simply couldn’t happen.
Planting trees is not an appropriate long-term solution to deal with climate change. Though it may be in good spirits, the approach is simply not effective enough. Given the sheer number of plants that must be created, combined with the fact that instantiating them in the first place may be counterproductive, the notion can be dispelled simply considering the daunting task that must be undertaken. Additionally, a much more simple alternative to creating new trees is to preserve existing ones. Not only is this solution cheaper, but also prevents existing stores of Co2 from being reintroduced into the atmosphere. Despite good intentions, planting trees just simply won’t cut it.
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