When one looks around for a cause to support there is no dearth for causes and I find it really tough when the times got tougher economically to choose which charities to support etc… I try to do a lot of research when I decide where I want my money to go and my criteria are pretty simple and straight forward: I want max utilization of each dollar, I want to see results and yearly updates as to what got done. If these two criteria are met I mostly follow my heart and pay up what I can to support the cause.
One Dollar One Tree One Planet what says it better and simpler than that? This is one of those endeavors am truly passionate about and wish that each of us could partake in. The Nature Conservancy began the Plant a Billion trees Initiative because the Atlantic forests have been so depleted that only 7% of it’s original area is left. The aim of the project is to plant 1 Billion trees in 7 years time to re-forest 2.5million acres of land! and till date they have managed to plant 7,054,098 trees. The trees being planted are indigenous and native only to these forests e.g the Guapuruvu tree
What can 1 Dollar buy in today’s world?
(as per a 2005 report from the World Resources Institute )
- Bangladesh (Chittagong) 1 Dozen Eggs
- Kenya 8 Cups of Milk
- Ghana 2 1/3 Bottles of Palm Oil
- Ghana 4 1/3 Bottles of Coke
- Philippines 4/5 of a Big Mac
- USA 1/3 of a Starbucks Tall Latte
- Uganda 1/46 of a Bicycle
- Bangladesh 1/3 of a Sari
- Ghana 1 1/2 Pairs Rubber Sandals
- Bangladesh 7 Bars of Soap
- Ghana 87 Tablets of Penicillin
- India (Andhra Pradesh) 1/2 Unit of Blood for a Transfusion
- USA 1/150 of the Average Daily Cost of Nursing Home Care
- Tanzania (Nzanza) 1/3 of a Liter of Pesticide
- Ghana 4 1/3 Rolls of Toilet Paper
- Ecuador (Quito) 1/500 of a Washing Machine
- India (Andhra Pradesh) 2-3 Pieces Bamboo for Building
- Uganda (Mbale) 1/1500 of the Cost of Building a New Home
- India (Mumbai) 1/3 of a Regular Price Evening Movie Ticket
- In the US the first thing for a dollar that comes to mind is a candy bar..
and if you spare that 1 dollar you can plant a tree which can:
Picture Courtesy Mauroguanandi
- Trees are carbon sinks – A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings. To produce its food, a tree absorbs and locks away carbon dioxide in the wood, roots and leaves. Carbon dioxide is a global warming suspect. A forest is a carbon storage area or a “sink” that can lock up as much carbon as it produces. This locking-up process “stores” carbon as wood and not as an available “greenhouse” gas.
- Trees Clean the Soil -The term phytoremediation is a fancy word for the absorption of dangerous chemicals and other pollutants that have entered the soil. Trees can either store harmful pollutants or actually change the pollutant into less harmful forms. Trees filter sewage and farm chemicals, reduce the effects of animal wastes, clean roadside spills and clean water runoff into streams.
- Trees Control Noise Pollution -Trees muffle urban noise almost as effectively as stone walls. Trees, planted at strategic points in a neighborhood or around your house, can abate major noises from freeways and airports.
- Trees Slow Storm Water Runoff -Flash flooding can be dramatically reduced by a forest or by planting trees. One Colorado blue spruce, either planted or growing wild, can intercept more than 1000 gallons of water annually when fully grown. Underground water-holding aquifers are recharged with this slowing down of water runoff.
- Trees Clean the Air – Trees remove this air pollution by lowering air temperature, through respiration, and by retaining particulates.
- Trees provide shade and keep temperature cooler – Shade resulting in cooling is what a tree is best known for. Shade from trees reduces the need for air conditioning in summer. In winter, trees break the force of winter winds, lowering heating costs. Studies have shown treed areas and bare areas can have up to 12 degrees difference in temperature during hot summer days.
- Trees fight soil erosion and also add to your property value!
These are just some of the positives of planting a tree from the human perspective. Trees also provide shelter and food to myriad living beings from birds to rodents and insects. They are virtually small ecosystems. So if you have a dollar to spare do check out this LINK and make a donation. Nature conservancy is aiming to remove 10 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with this ambitious project, which will be equivalent to taking off 2 million cars off the road! The effects of this endeavor will make a positive impact locally as well as globally. The aim is to protect the 10 critical watersheds in the Atlantic Forests which provide water and hydro power to a population of 70 million! and as a result of this landmark endeavor they hope to create 20,000 direct jobs and 70,000 indirect jobs for them.
Atlantic Forests What and where are they? According to the biodiversity hot-spots website – The Atlantic Forest of tropical South America boasts 20,000 plant species, 40 percent of which are endemic. Yet, less than 10 percent of the forest remains. More than two dozen Critically Endangered vertebrate species are clinging to survival in the region, including three species of lion tamarins and six bird species that are restricted to the small patch of forest near the Murici Ecological Station in northeastern Brazil. With almost 950 kinds of birds occurring in this hotspot, there are many unique species including the red-billed curassow, the Brazilian merganser, and numerous threatened parrot species.
At a dollar a tree there can be no excuse if one really cares about the environment and wants to do something, it is time for action and we need to all make an effort now to make this a resounding success. Lets plant trees under whose shades we will never sit, so that the coming generations will have the shade and the cover they need to thrive in this blue planet we call home.
I have made my pledge I hope you will too… Giving up one or a couple of candy bars… a cup of starbucks coffee… it is a pretty simple choice if you ask me, a tree will keep on giving and It’s one of the best deals I have found that is so valuable yet costs so little… Live Green!
Check out Nature Conservancy’s video about Plant a billion trees project