Antonia Devereux takes us through some easy ways we can plant trees for free.
Trees are nature’s carbon capture technology, helping to stabilise our planet and provide us with the oxygen we need to survive. Alongside this essential service, trees provide homes for many people, habitats for wildlife, improved health and wellbeing and so much more! Despite their importance, the area of primary forest worldwide has decreased by over 80 million hectares since 1990, with an estimated 10 million hectares disappearing each year. Here are just a few of the easy ways you can plant trees for free.
Treeapp is a free app which allows you to plant a tree everyday in less than a minute! It’s available through the App Store or Google Play and helps you to offset your carbon emissions. So how does it work? The trees are funded through sponsored advertisements from sustainable/eco-friendly brands such as Wild and Floe. All you have to do to plant your tree is watch/read the advertisement (which takes around 30 seconds) and it usually provides a discount too; it’s a win-win! With each tree you plant you unlock more destinations all around the world and the app provides information on the benefits that you’ve helped to provide. It can be easy for planting daily to slip your mind, so set a daily reminder so you don’t forget!
Need help with your studying? Forest is a free app that helps you to stay focused on your studies while planting trees. Set a period of time you want to study for and a tree will grow while you do it. In order to help you stay focused, if you leave the app before your study time is over the tree will die! Since mindlessly scrolling through Instagram isn’t a good enough reason to kill your tree, studying is easier than ever. Grow a forest in the app which then translates to real trees all over the world where they are needed most. So far they have planted over a million trees, why not help them plant more?
Ecosia, the eco-friendly rival to Google, is a free search engine that plants a tree every time you search the web! It works by donating 80% of its profits generated from advertisement to reforestation initiatives. I use Ecosia as a chrome extension and have racked up around 300 searches! It also has a Dark-Mode if you don’t like your history to be stored.
Myself and my friends (Olivia and Adam) have started a campaign to get Ecosia to be the default search engine on campus, helping the University of York reduce its carbon footprint! You can check out our campaign @yorcosia and use this link to join your tree count with the universities so we can see how well we are doing – ecosia.co/UniversityofYork!
Ecosia isn’t the only search engine you can use to do good with! Gexsi donates its profit to support social projects, from planting trees to educating children through skateboarding in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. Learn more about it here. Another alternative is WWFs Panda Search, each search generates revenue that goes to support WWF projects and campaigns without having to donate. It protects your privacy and collects less data than other search engines. You can get started here.
As one of the leaders in emissions, the travel industry is not innocent when it comes to climate change. B’n’Tree aims to reduce your impact by planting a tree every time you book a trip with no extra cost to you. All you have to do is go to the B’n’Tree Website and follow the link to your favourite holiday booking website, it has all the most popular sites including Expedia, Booking.com and many more! Travel may seem like a far off dream, but when we can eventually leave our homes, why not go through B’n’Tree and help make the world a little greener?
What more can we do?
These innovative platforms are creating an easy way for us to make a difference and reforest our world, and they are just a few examples! Stopping deforestation is the best way to help protect vulnerable wildlife, the livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and curb our greenhouse gas emissions. Planting these trees is a start but there is so much more we can do to help:
– Call on our governments to do more to protect forests
– Support the voices of Indigenous Peoples and forest communities
– Push corporations to instate deforestation free supply chains
– Reduce our meat intake, or give it up entirely
– Ensure the products you buy are from sustainable sources e.g FSC certified (Forest Stewardship Council)
About the Author: Antonia Devereux is an Environment, Economics and Ecology student at the University of York and is currently the Social Media Manager for WILD Magazine. Her passion for sustainability led her to create her own blog, Greener Grasses, which provides easy ways to reduce your impact on the planet.