Trees (NON GMO) provide a service to the life of all species on Earth. They are considered the lungs of our planet and to some scientists now its heart as well. By continuing the rapacious rate of deforestation we are now sustaining globally we are contributing not only to the destruction of the natural beauty of our only home but the exacerbation of CO2 levels that are contributing to the following effects of climate change that can be brought down to an acceptable level through the proper remediation process of providing carbon sinks:
1. Glacier melt causing floods, mudslides and what is now considered a dangerous effect on water supplies for billions of people who depend on those glaciers for sustenance. Also, destruction of the Arctic ice at a rate three times faster than scientifically predicted by the IPCC which acts as the mirror and climate balance of our planet. Current CO 2 levels in the Arctic have now been read at 400 PPM. Without this mirror to reflect the rays of the sun we are risking passing what scientists call a "tipping point" of runaway climate change which will have catastrophic effects on this planet and our relationship to it.
2. Sea level rise due to melting ice caps and oversaturation of CO2 in our oceans. Forty eight islands have already seen the effects of sea level rise regarding destroying their homes, their traditions, and their ability to live. Many of these low lying islands are located in the Pacific and are only the first wave of islands and states to feel these effects. Scientists also predict that within fifty years the Northeast coast of the United States may also be feeling these same effects due to sea level rise and some states are already seeing this happening. Hurricane Sandy was a warning. If we do not curtail the rate of emissions of CO2 in our atmosphere to an acceptable level (350 PPM) we risk putting millions in danger of experiencing the same fate. Hundreds of millions of climate refugees would be catastrophic and cause the breakdown of society as we know it.
3. Wildfires due not only in part to normal conditions we see in certain areas yearly but now more pervasive and destructive wildfires brought on by excessive drought. Currently 60% of the US is in drought with no signs of it lettign up. Scientists now predict that wildfires will become more intense and destructive as the world warms, which will then contribute to the greenhouse gases and lack of carbon sinks that precipitate climate change causing a positive feedback loop.
These factors along with other factors such as species invasion, species extinction, change in rainfall patterns which are affecting agriculture and food production/prices and evaporation of soil moisture and lower water tables in many rivers around the world must now lead us to formulating solutions that are timely, simple, economically viable and that can improve the climate balance of our planet as well as provide much needed nutrients for our soil, water, food, sustenance, shelter, and a way to fight deforestation.
While governments of the world continue to argue and debate over the best or no course of action to take to mitigate and adapt to climate change that will best profit them it is the people of America and globally who must now look to moral solutions that will surely bring more positive and timely results.
Looking for only technological solutions that require too much time to bring up to standards necessary to stabilize CO2 emissions and may not even be viable at all is not the answer now. We must have a solution now that is natural, simple, virtually inexpensive and that can give us guaranteed results. Reforestation is then the one natural method of stabilizing atmospheric CO2 that is already available to us.
As one of the top three countries producing the most CO2 and greenhouse gases per capita it is a moral imperative that the US become a major participant in reforestation efforts in our country.
This is where Plant America comes in. Plant America would seek to first set a day aside for all school children to have the day off from school to travel with their schools for a day of tree planting from coast to coast. A day set aside entirely for planting trees, community awareness and becoming closer to our planet to start this major reforestation effort that can be expanded on to include anyone who wishes to become "Johnny Appleseeds" who monitor the growth and also plant seeds around the country on a yearly basis to keep the balance of deforestation in check.
For every one tree we cut down or that is lost to fire and other means we should commit to planting two in its place and work also to limit the amount of deforestation in the first place especially old growth forests which have been found to contain the greatest stores of CO2. The benefits of this are obvious and there is no downside. Planting trees is simply good for our Earth, for humans and for all species who need them to live.
We the undersigned then request you give serious consideration to implementing the Plant America initiative in America. Dr. Wangari Maathai was a Nobel Peace Prize recipient who started The Greenbelt Movement in Kenya in the seventies and since then has been responsible for planting hundreds of thousands of trees that have gone a long way in providing sustenance for this world. We believe the Plant America initiative while working to balance out CO2 can also involve our children in a worthy endeavor and solution to sustain their planet for the future and have the effect of bringing people together building pride in our country and planet and showing the world that we are serious about leading the way.