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Living Less Unsustainably: Trees

trees_spenserButte.jpg
Rachael McDonald
/
KLCC

Hi all, Climate Master John Fischer here with KLCC's Living Less Unsustainably.

I have bad news and good news about Global Warming and greenhouse gas emissions.
First the bad news. Even if we stop ALL emissions today, it will take 30 years for the planet to start cooling. We need to remove CO2 from the atmosphere to make a difference.

The good news is that we have an affordable effective removal tool available.: trees. If we plant a trillion trees, change will start soon. But a trillion trees is about 100 for every person on earth.
The current focus is on forest preservation in the Amazon Basin, but the US is still cutting a higher percentage of its forests than any country in the world- including Brazil. We were the biggest emitter of climate changing gases for years, and we have the perfect place available to plant trees right now.

A squirrel used to be able to go from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River without touching the ground. But most of the eastern U.S. has been cleared for farming. And most of what is grown is corn and soybeans to feed animals. The erosion, pesticide and herbicide use are bad enough, but we're growing crops that the animals are not even adapted to eat, so that we can eat more meat than is healthy- for us and the planet- and we're paying farmers to do it.
Converting one third of the farmland in the U.S. back to forest could solve global warming worldwide, increase biodiversity, and we could pay farmers subsidies to grow plants that will benefit the planet, not damage it. The Willamette valley has plenty of room for trees too. Thousands of acres been cleared for vineyards, grass seed, and animal feed production. Of course we need food, but good climate management means more trees left between the food producing areas. Changing back will be easy. With our climate, if we don't work hard to keep the forest out, it will return on its own in a very short time.
I'm John Fischer with KLCC's Living Less Unsustainably.