Letter to the Editor: Planting More Trees

Grace Longridge

Dear Editor,

Many people believe that we can fix the climate change crisis just by planting a lot of trees. Charles Harvey, an MIT Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who specializes in environmental management says that “while the idea sounds nice and definitely helps to some extent, we will never be able to counterbalance the number of fossil fuels we burn by only growing trees.” Planting billions of trees will help with restoring a lot of the natural world that has been destroyed by deforestation. It can help animals regain their habitats and bring order back to the natural world, however, in the case of global warming, it will not help enough.

That is not to say that planting billions of trees won’t help at all, just not to the extent that Earth needs. FGCU should be undertaking the endeavor of preserving the old forests within Florida. This would help the global warming crisis tremendously and could be a good start to the restoration of Earth. 

It is known that FGCU takes on many restoration projects. In these projects, lots of trees are planted. While planting billions of trees is great and will do much good, we need to look at the bigger picture. The forests surrounding FCGU and across Florida are essential to restoration. Programs to stop building on preserves and other forested areas should be the main priority.

Fossil fuels and pollution are causing greenhouse gasses to be released into the atmosphere faster than the trees can absorb, which is causing global warming. “Instead of planting more trees, says Harvey, we should focus our efforts on stopping their destruction. Older forests with many species of trees do the best job of storing carbon.”  We should keep the old forests where they are and not let logging companies destroy them. Young forests would take too long to get to the state that the older forests are in. The carbon needs to be absorbed faster than what these new trees can offer. Planting lots of young trees is a wonderful idea and will help the earth in many ways, but it is not the answer to the global warming crisis.

Saving our old forests and reducing our greenhouse gas emissions will be the most effective way to end global warming. FGCU is an outstanding school that ensures that all its students know a little bit about helping the environment. But it needs to be known to all, that the preservation of old forests should set precedence over some other minor projects.

Thank you,

Grace Longridge