Saving Our Forests, Saving Our Planet, Saving Our Future
This post is in partnership with tentree - thank you as always for supporting the social impact driven companies that support the work I do here at The Well Essentials
Over this past weekend my husband and I set out to hike one of the tallest mountains near our home here in Vermont. The hike was estimated to take us about 4.5 hours so we set out early in the morning with the hope the we could still catch some of that beautiful early morning light at the top of the mountain. If you’ve never seen the sun rise on top of a mountain I would highly recommend putting it on your “list of things you must do”, because nothing really compares to that light.
Now that winter has set in here in Vermont the air was cold and crisp as we left our house, which was like a dose of caffeine sent right into my core, and all I needed to wake right up. Isn’t it funny how nature can do that?
A jump in the ocean, a breath of bitter cold air, it makes you feel alive — and I’m pretty sure that mother nature intended it to be that way.
As we set out on our hike, driving through the lush and beautiful green mountains, it wasn’t lost on me how different the landscape currently is out in California. I try as often as I can to not take the beautiful landscape I get to call home for granted, but I often do. I forget how fortunate I am to be able to go out for a hike in the woods without the threat of fire — without smoke burning my lungs. I forget how lucky I am to be able to set my eyes on these beautiful mountains and how none of it is guaranteed.
save our forests, save our planet, save our future
Forests cover 31% of our planet, and are home to thousands of species of plants and animals. In fact, our forests are home to more than 70% of all the plants and animal species on earth, which are currently losing their native habitats due to deforestation.
On top of the plant and animal species which rely on forests for their habitat, there are also 1.6 billion people globally (many of which are living in low-income communities) who rely on forests for their livelihood. That is roughly 25% of the worlds population, and while the rates of deforestation around the world are alarming, there is still so much that we can do through policy changes and reforestation efforts that could help combat and ideally reverse our current deforestation issues.
How deforestation occurs
There are many causes of deforestation but some of the most common causes are:
Fires (Natural and Man Made)
While all of these factors are causing deforestation, the most impactful are livestock raising, large scale agriculture, and infrastructure. All of which could be significantly impacted through appropriately policy legislation and consumer demand.
why forests are so important to combating climate change
Most climate change analysts have estimated that roughly 15% of the world’s total greenhouse gas production comes from deforestation alone. Because forests act as both a cause and a solution for impacting climate change, the importance in protecting them in crucial. First, forests act as a cause of climate change by emitting carbon into the atmosphere through deforestation and forest degradation. Every time forests are burned, logged, cleared for farmland, etc. they release carbon into the atmosphere.
On the other side, forests are also one of the most important solutions to combating climate change because they act as a huge force for carbon sequestration. This means that forests actually pull carbon from the atmosphere into the ground, keeping it there as long as they survive. In fact it is estimated that approximately 2.6 billion tonnes of CO2 is absorbed by forests annually, this is roughly 1/3 of the carbon being release into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.
Forests are quite literally cleaning up after us as we continue to destroy our planet — and now we are destroying them.
impacts of deforestation
While I have already touched on some of the impacts of deforestation I think it’s important to really breakdown what the real impacts of deforestation are on our environment, and our lives.
Because deforestation affects climate change on such a large scale, it also has an impact on soil erosion, biodiversity, and transpiration (which is a fancy word for the water that evaporates through tree leaves and contributes to rainfall in a particular region).
This means that when deforestation occurs in a specific area droughts are more common due to decreased rainfall, soil erosion is more likely with tree cover not able to protect it, and biodiversity is eliminated with the destruction of a forest eco-system that may never come back.
While the impacts of climate change are significant, the good news is that they can be impacted and restored. But we have to act now. This is going to happen through policy change, through consumer demand, and through everyday behavior.
If you care about our forests, our environment, our planet, then the time to act is now — here’s how.
combating climate change by fighting deforestation
To help inspire you to make a difference combating deforestation, during the month of November I am continuing my partnership with tentree to help encourage more people to get outside and enjoy nature and combat deforestation. Whether it’s climbing a mountain, or trekking along a deserted beach for miles, the feeling of being out-of-service and alone in nature, pushing your body through its percieved limitations, is one of the most powerful reminders of how connected our human experience is with nature...and how threatened that connection currently is.
With the many climate change related natural disasters that have been occuring in increased frequency around the world nothing has become more clear to me then just how fragile our environment is, and how it absolutely shouldn't be taken for granted.
Our forests are at risk, and they need to be protected, which is why I am so proud to be partnering with tentree to help combat deforestation and protect our forests. With the current wild fire disaster occuring in California now more than ever we need to be working to protect our forests, and working to keep these disasters from occuring in the future.
To help combat deforestation, tentree is working in six countries around the world that have been greatly affected by deforestation. Since each country has a specific need tentree works with local communities and organizations to ensure that reforestation efforts are based in local best practices, and are sustainable for the long term.
To fund their reforestation efforts, tentree plants 10 trees for every item of sustianable clothing sold. They connect their consumers with their personal impact by creating a "treecode" registration that allows consumers to register their item of clothing with their tree planting impact.
To date this has resulted in 24 million trees planted in 6 countries around the world. That is a huge impact and something I am so proud to be a supporting.
what you can do to protect our forests
I truly believe that there is so much that individuals can do to combat climate change every day. Whether it is choosing to vote for policies that support conservation of our forest land, or reducing your paper waste, or purchasing and investing in companies and non-profits that are investing in reforestation initiatives the options are almost endless.
To help you make an impact combating deforestation, tentree is offering 20% off all of their sustainable clothing to everyone in my community until November 30th. With a commitment to plant 10 trees for every item of clothing purchased, this is just one way that you can help combat deforestation through your purchasing power. Simply use the code THEWELLESSENTIALS20 at checkout for your discount. Once your purchase has been made you will recieve a treecode that will allow you to register and choose your tree planting impact.
While impacts like this may seem small, tentree is a perfect example of how social impact driven companies are creating a means for individuals to collectively make a huge difference. 24 million trees makes a huge impact, and it's just the beginning.