As a civilization, we’re living in dark times. A major climate crisis is coming up soon and we’ve made no real efforts to stop it from happening. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had published a report saying that we need changes on a massive scale because the world as we know it has barely 12 years left if we continue in this manner. So obviously that begs the question. What could be an effective weapon against climate change?

While there are many things that we should be doing, one of the answers is simple enough – trees. A study published last month has revealed that by making massive reforestation efforts, we could actually get ourselves an effective weapon against climate change. Not only is the impact of planting billions of trees wide and far-reaching, but it is also a cost-effective measure to deal with this pressing problem.

Read: Couple Replant Entire Forest To Give Homes To 500 Endangered Species

The calculations of the team behind the study show that we have 0.9 billion hectares of land spread out across the world which is fertile enough for reforestation efforts. If we planted trees in all those areas, they would cancel out a major portion of the toxins that humans are releasing into the earth’s atmosphere every day. In their own words, the team was mind blown by the numbers their study came up with.

Conducted at the Crowther Lab in ETH Zurich, the study seems like the most efficient and effective weapon against climate change that we have right now. Technically the Earth can handle about 4.4 billion hectares of forest and we’re falling more than one and a half billion short of that. By using these 0.9 billion hectares that aren’t currently being taken up by humans, we could create a forest that is almost the area of the current United States of America. Humans release 300 billion tonnes of carbon everyday and these trees could take up to 205 billion tonnes of that.

Jean-Francois Bastin, one of the lead authors of the study, explained that the team had made sure to exclude land that was residential or agricultural from their calculations. Adding on to this, Thomas Crowther, a co-other, said that though they had always known that reforestation was important, they had never realized that it could have such an amazing effect. It is the most effective weapon against climate change at our disposal and we need to put it in motion as fast as we can.

Read: Global Warming – How Are We Responsible?

As part of the study, the team also figured out which areas would be best for these efforts. They found that the United States, Russia, Canada, Brazil, China, and Australia all had land which would be well suited for reforestation.

If you check out their website, they have an amazing feature that tells you the number of trees which can be planted and the amount of carbon they could absorb in any part of the world. Moreover, they even point you towards organizations working on reforestation. Don’t you think it is time for us all to get started?

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Kash Khan

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