Shut up and go plant a tree!

Peru Planted 512,820 Trees a Day for 3 Months—Try Planting One

One tree really can make a difference.


In an encouraging effort to create a massive carbon sink, Peru embarked on a mission to plant 40,000,000 trees in three months—and yes, that’s the correct number of zeros there. It amounts to over 500,000 trees planted a day, and an estimated 570,000 metric tons of carbon captured each year.

And it proves a point: planting trees is good. And easy (okay, so perhaps not when you’re dealing with octuple-digits). While that language might have devolved into oversimplification pretty quickly up there, it’s not without reason: planting trees is about as simple a green act as you can do.

But the activity seems to have fallen into the cliché realm as of late, with modern environmentalists avidly working to disassociate themselves from stubbornly persistent treehugger-hippie stereotypes, and seems like a less practiced volunteer activity. Which is too bad. As evidenced by Peru’s impressive project, growing trees is an incredibly productive, worthwhile conservation practice.

I recently volunteered to plant some trees at a park up in the Bronx—it was rewarding none-too-strenuous work. And though I may not have created a half million ton carbon sink to stave off global warming, every bit helps. I’d like to see some of the grittier green volunteer actions come back into vogue—tending community gardens, shopping at Whole Foods, and reading green blogs are all good moves (and I suppose you could throw a couple trees in your garden). We can’t forget about the foundations of conservation like good ol’ tree planting.

Look into your local Parks and Recreation Department or check out the Forest Service to see if they have volunteer tree planting opportunities. Or, buy yourself some tree seeds and plant them in your own backyard, if you’ve got the room. Because if Peru can plant 500,000 a day, I think you can do one.

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