Trees for Cities recently planted our millionth tree. This of course is a huge achievement - but it also strikes a chord, and reminds us that there is much more to do.
The millionth tree, a disease resistant elm, has found its home on the ground of St Thomas’ hospital, Westminster. Around 100,000 have helped us plant the 999,999 trees before this one.
Standing opposite the Houses of Parliament, this tree is a symbol of what can be done by people wanting to make a positive change.
Cause for celebration
This was a milestone worth celebrating. Sir Michael Palin came along to plant the tree with us, over 20 years after he planted his first in Gospel Oak.
Palin said: “By planting these trees we celebrate something we all love and cherish. Something that brings communities together, and actively works to address pollution, and the stress of living in our cities. This is something we can all agree is a good thing, so let’s celebrate the millionth good thing!”
Straight after it was planted, we got onto the millionth and first. One generation passed the baton to another, with pupils from Dormers Wells Infant School planting the first of a new breed of urban trees in the hospital playground.
The trees stand as a reminder that when today’s children are growing into the future leaders and decision makers that will take on responsibility for the planet.
And they’re already taking the mantle. In 2018, Greta Thunberg spearheaded the first school strike for the climate, outside the Riksdagshuset, the house of Sweden’s parliament.
On 15 March, only a few months after Greta’s first strike, she was joined by over a million more young people in 2,000 cities across the globe. Together they marched to make it clear that “we need to treat the climate crisis as a crisis”
When air quality is declining, temperatures are rising, and a water shortage predicted to befall us in as little as 25 years, action is needed, and there is room to make it happen.
Recent research has found that there is space on the earth’s surface to plant 1.2 trillion new trees that could absorb more carbon than humans produce each year.
On top of this, these trillion trees would improve biodiversity, providing a home to countless species, ease soil erosion in parts of the world where local communities depend on farming, curb a water shortages, and so much more. We need more trees, so we will keep planting them.
Devika Jina is Marketing and Communications Manager at Trees for Cities, the only UK charity working at a national and international scale to improve lives by planting trees in cities.