Opinion Piece by Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester, and CEO of Forests Ontario and Forest Recovery Canada
As Canadians, we need to ask ourselves this question – how do we build upon and deploy large-scale tree planting efforts such as the Two Billion Tree Program envisioned by Prime Minister Trudeau?
We are not alone with this idea. According to ETH Zurich University, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the United Nations, planting one trillion trees around the world may be one of the most effective ways to combat climate change impacts.
To respond to our moral and global responsibilities, and since Canada is able to contribute to the world’s growing need for trees and new forests, I say it is time we build on the Prime Minister’s visionary Two Billion Tree promise announced near Belleville last September with a climate-focused national tree planting strategy.
Forest Recovery Canada and Forests Ontario are ready to help. With our dedicated partners, we already plant about 3 million trees a year from coast to coast in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Last spring, despite COVID-19, with the support of the Canadian government, our tree planting operations involving large numbers of paid tree planters were safe and successful.
As the global spotlight focuses on climate change, Canadians are ready to embrace the vision of planting two billion trees (or even more) at home. Growing and planting future forests is an excellent response to the climate crisis that provides a host of benefits, including green employment. I believe Canadians are ready and eager to be part of the tree-focused, tangible climate response. Now is the time to plan for spring tree planting.