One of the most powerful weapons against climate change is the natural environment. In the following article, Forest Founders discuss how the natural world can be leveraged to heal decades’ worth of ecological damage. Forest Founders is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and reversing climate change through reforestation and conservation.
According to climate science experts, we can reduce the impact of human-influenced emissions by lowering the quantity of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. If we succeed in keeping the global temperatures from increasing 2°C from pre-industrial revolution levels, we could reverse the current global warming trend and avoid the most disastrous consequences. While dramatically reducing our reliance on fossil fuel burning is critical to achieving this goal, protecting what is left of our natural environment might be the key to achieving the best possible outcomes.
Optimizing the natural environment – protecting our forests and actively reforesting large swathes of land – could be more effective in reversing current trends than halting all fossil fuel burning. This means that merely saving our forests, an endeavor that could produce millions of jobs, could reverse the climate crisis without even immediately disrupting fuel-burning industries. That’s how important forest lands are to saving the environment; forest cover could save us from ourselves if we let it.
However, our success depends upon our ability to implement dramatic forest-preserving actions immediately.
If there were to be a global initiative to protect our forest systems deployed within the next decade, approximately 37 percent of carbon mitigation recommended for global carbon targets could be achieved. However, if we wait 10 years, we will achieve only 33 percent. If we wait 30 years, we will achieve only 22 percent. Inaction could result in devastation.
Land-use sectors (forestry and agriculture) are instrumental to the success of any natural carbon capture initiatives. If these industries committed to converting lands into spaces that captured more carbon than their industrial practices emitted, global carbon levels could be significantly impacted before other industries’ green initiatives were fully developed.
It is imperative that federal policy makers partner with global leaders to launch nature-conserving initiatives. By providing incentives and economic support to countries whose economies depend upon land use for production of exported goods and raw materials, the U.S. could potentially save billions of dollars in the long-term. As global economies become stronger, as human populations thrive in cleaner environments, and as conflicts lessen because fights for resources become less frequent, the U.S. will ultimately spend less money in aid and military intervention. Moreover, there will be a significant reduction in federal spending for American healthcare and disaster relief as the consequences of the climate crisis becomes less severe at home.
Protecting global forests isn’t just a matter of conserving pretty greens spaces for picnics – it’s a matter of our survival as a species.
For more information about Forest Founders’ commitment to supporting reforestation and natural space preservation, please visit our information page.