Congratulations. You’re a loyal soldier of the Trumpian resistance. You’ve gone to demonstrations. You’ve hoisted your signs and signed the petitions. You’ve made countless phone calls and composed imploring emails. You’ve shared your dismay and disgust in pithy one-liners on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You’ve tried (mostly unsuccessfully) to reason with family, friends, and colleagues. You’ve snarled at the daily dump of falsehoods on cable news.
You’ve joined with millions of activists in time zones around the globe as we lay awake at three in the morning staring anxiously into the darkness of our bedrooms, fearful about the uncertain future of democracy and the planet.
Now, on at least one Trumpian folly and arguably the most dire of the president’s ill-considered policy reversals—withdrawal of the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords and reversal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan—there’s an opportunity to choose a sturdier and more long-lasting expression of your opposition. Thanks to three environmental activists in New Zealand you can now join an international movement to create—as the project’s website so unflinchingly explains—a “global forest to offset Trump’s monumental stupidity.”
The idea behind what founders Dr. Daniel Price, Adrien Taylor, and Jeff Willis are calling Trump Forest is to create a global forest. Such a forest will help to soak up greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere if the Trump administration has its way with policies that deny the role of fossil fuels in the degradation of the environment, in causing rising global temperatures, and creating catastrophic climate alteration.
To the detriment of the global community, during the presidential campaign Donald Trump discovered the golden electoral-college advantage of his chest-thumping, inner coal guy. Shortly after his election, Trump signed an executive order that tasks the EPA with rewriting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which if executed as written would have prevented 650 million tons of greenhouse gases from reaching the atmosphere over the next eight years. Instead, Trump is reverting to policies that artificially prop up the coal industry—a dying industry and one of the last century’s most destructive industries to continued healthy life on this planet.
The truth is that according to overwhelming scientific consensus the corporate-enrichment policies that Trump and the fossil-fuel interests are steering us toward will result in the addition of over half a billion tons of planet-warming gases into the atmosphere over the next decade.
Speaking for the creative minds who dreamed up the concept for Trump Forest, Dr. Price explained that he and his two co-founders “wanted something tangible that people could do that would actually have a physical impact on what the U.S. government is doing.” That tangible something is a forest of saplings planted in locations across the globe—not just at one site. According to the Trump Forest website, if enough trees are planted in an area of approximately 37,000 square miles (about the size of Kentucky), that global forest will sequester enough carbon dioxide to offset the greenhouse gases that will be released into the atmosphere as a result of the gutting of the Clean Power Plan.
Are the goals of Trump Forest quixotic or achievable? Fortunately, there are hopeful signs and many historic precedents that indicate that those goals can be met.
In 2013, in just one day, Pakistan planted nearly 850,000 mangrove saplings in three hundred coastal communities. On July 11, 2016, an army of 800,000 volunteers across India set a world record by planting 49.3 million saplings at six thousand locations. And setting a record was not the main motivation. That massive planting was the first step in fulfilling one aspect of India’s commitment to the Paris Climate Conference that convened in December 2015. Signing onto the agreement, the Asian powerhouse committed to spending $6 billion to reforest 12 percent of its land, or about 29% of the country.
In July 2017, India again embarked on a massive planting and broke its own record when 1.5 million volunteers turned out to plant 66 million saplings along the Narmada River. Another hopeful benchmark is the success of the afforestation project in the State of Israel. Since its founding in 1901 and with the support of the international community, the Jewish National Fund has planted more than 240 million trees.
So what’s the takeaway here? It’s simple. Watch the Trump Forest video below, get hopeful, and add the planting of trees to your resistance “to do” list.