Vision creates hope and hope is the antidote to fear.– Michael Hyatt
In a crisis, people have to be reminded of what they are fighting for. We are currently living through a global crisis that is rocking the foundations of our world. March 23, 2020 marked the first day of the lockdown in the UK, and it will be a date that most of us will never forget. What many don’t know is that two days earlier, March 21 commemorated International Day of Forests. One day that celebrated trees, the lungs of the planet, followed by another that marked the fear of a virus that attacked our own lungs.
The effect of the global pandemic on the environment has been largely discussed and examined over the past year. No matter how measurable the impact is, 2020 has highlighted the deep connection that exists between our health and the health of our planet. There can be no doubt that climate change is the global crisis that we all inhabit daily.
Rampant deforestation, uncontrolled expansion of agriculture, intensive farming, mining and infrastructure development, as well as the exploitation of wild species have created a ‘perfect storm’ for the spillover of diseases.– Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (May, 2020)
Forests absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks, roots and soil. They remove almost 15 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Humans have cleared nearly half of the earth’s forests, cutting 10 billion trees every year. Destroying our forests does not only reduce their ability to store carbon from the atmosphere, but it also releases dangerous amounts of carbon back into the atmosphere, increasing the rate of climate change.
Scotland is one of the most deforested countries in Europe, its story has been one of stripping bare the land, clearing both people and trees in the name of economic progress. The ancient woodland that remains exists in isolated fragments, many of which are in a rapid state of decline.
These facts and figures can often make people fearful and helpless as to what tangible role they can play to help. As forestry experts we believe it is not too late to change the course of Scotland’s history. We believe passionately in the power of woodlands to heal our planet and our nation. We want to rewrite Scotland’s story, restoring the landscape and reconnecting people with the land, whilst still thriving economically. This is the heart of sustainability and the heart of TreeStory. We aim to leave a legacy of changed landscape and changed people.
Our work on the land is multi-faceted. We save, restore and replant ancient woodlands using locally collected seed, restructuring monocultures to create greater species and age diversity. We also undertake regular cycles of thinning to let light reach deep into the forest canopy and create new woodlands by matching locally adapted species to sites. We team up with impact investors, businesses and charities who want to do much more than ticking a carbon box: they want to connect with their projects and make a genuine impact.
Ten years from now there will be environmental changes in our world that we cannot even begin to imagine, driven by many factors including population growth, extinction of species and acidification of our seas, to name a few. These changes will cause problems for which we need to be equipped with, opening opportunities for innovation. Our team has created a business that is fit for purpose and ready to respond creating rich and diverse woodlands that enrich the land, playing a part in serving and healing our planet.
We are approaching one year since the first UK lockdown with the hope that the vaccine will provide a return to normality. Just as we hold onto hope that the Coronavirus crisis can be reversed by this vaccine, so too can we hope that the climate crisis can be reverted with our help, allowing our planet to breathe again. March 21 will mark International Day of Forests again, with this year’s theme being ‘Forest Restoration: A Path to Recovery and Well-being’. It is now more important than ever to reforest the planet, stabilise our climate and restore the planet’s lungs. There is a global race to vaccinate and so too must there be a global race to afforest our planet.
This hope will be the antidote to our fear.