Ireland to Plant 440 Million Trees in 20 Years to Fight Climate Change
The government had already promised to plant more trees as part of a climate action plan released in June, which aims to make Ireland carbon neutral by 2050 by investing in renewable energy, instituting a carbon tax and changing land use, HuffPost explained. But the plan did not specify an exact number of trees to be planted. Now, a Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment spokeswoman has given The Irish Times an exact figure.
"The target for new forestation is approximately 22 million trees per year. Over the next 20 years, the target is to plant 440 million," she said.
We want many more trees in Ireland, as part of our plan on climate action. 440 million is a huge number but it’s ac… https://t.co/blKHlH11ef— Leo Varadkar (@Leo Varadkar)1567405247.0
The trees will be 70 percent conifers and 30 percent broad-leaf trees.
The announcement comes about two months after a study found that planting more than 500 billion trees was the "most effective" climate change solution available. However, critics of the study warned that reforestation wasn't enough to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gasses, and that it should be one of many strategies employed, HuffPost explained.
Still, other countries have embraced tree-planting initiatives. Ethiopia planted a record 350 million trees in a single day in July. Scotland announced this year that it had surpassed its own tree-planting goals, The Hill reported. It had planted 11,200 hectares (approximately 43 square miles) of trees in 2018, a boost on its 10,000 hectare (approximately 39 square mile) goal. The final tally was more than 22 million trees planted.
However, England was less successful. Its tree-planting efforts fell more than 70 percent short of government targets this year, according to HuffPost.
If Ireland's initiative is to succeed, it will need to persuade farmers to plant more trees on their land, something the government acknowledges is currently not popular, The Irish Times reported. The government plans to convince farmers and to hold community meetings across the country to bolster support for reforestation.
However, Pádraic Fogarty of the Irish Wildlife Trust was skeptical of the government's plan.
"People are not good at planting trees and trees do not like being planted. They prefer to plant themselves," he told The Irish Independent.
Fogarty argued that instead of giving out €94 million ($103 million) in forestry grants every year, it would be better for the government to pay landowners to plant nothing, allowing their land to rewild.
"We have a mental block about letting nature do its thing. We see a space recovered by nature and we think it's scrub and wasteland and want to get it back 'under control' whereas if we just left it alone, the forest would come back all by itself," he said.
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- Ethiopia to Plant 5 Billion Tree Seedlings in 2020 ›
- Why Trees Are Necessary in Major Cities - EcoWatch ›
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By Brett Wilkins
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the meatpacking industry worked together to downplay and disregard risks to worker health during the Covid-19 pandemic, as shown in documents published Monday by Public Citizen and American Oversight.
<div id="13077" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="11b9fe5ff48ebc437353df6df9c2c892"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1305915938148147205" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Just a week before the Trump administration issued an executive order aimed at keeping meat packing plants open, th… https://t.co/DkbXgPm4YR</div> — ProPublica (@ProPublica)<a href="https://twitter.com/propublica/statuses/1305915938148147205">1600189597.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="36e4c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e7c8048c2755109629a3b3072fcb3261"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1304424041814593539" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Meatpacking union @UFCW, which reps workers at this plant (four of whom died), slams OSHA for the small $13k fine a… https://t.co/tnhfKd89ab</div> — Dave Jamieson (@Dave Jamieson)<a href="https://twitter.com/jamieson/statuses/1304424041814593539">1599833901.0</a></blockquote></div><p>The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents Smithfield Foods workers, <a href="https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/crime/2020/09/10/osha-fines-smithfield-foods-sioux-falls-south-dakota/5768786002/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=f7bf3f03-ce98-4df4-9c45-f44d9a6a5890" target="_blank">slammed</a> the fine as "insulting and a slap on the wrist."</p><p>"How much is the health, safety, and life of an essential worker worth? Based on the actions of the Trump administration, clearly not much," said UFCW president Marc Perrone.</p><p>"This so-called 'fine' is a slap on the wrist for Smithfield, and a slap in the face of the thousands of American meatpacking workers who have been putting their lives on the line to help feed America since the beginning of this pandemic," Perrone added. </p><p>Other critics, including vegans, vegetarians, and animal rights and environmental advocates argued that the accelerated spread of Covid-19 from meatpacking facilities is but the latest compelling argument in favor of reducing—or eliminating—meat consumption.</p><p>"We know that Covid-19 originated in a meat market and that previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens," People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/meat-shortage-slaugherhouses-go-vegan/" target="_blank">said</a> in April amid news that a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Livingston, California was <a href="https://www.peta.org/blog/coronavirus-covid-19-slaughterhouse-meat-concerns/?utm_source=PETA::Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=0420::veg::PETA::Twitter::Workers%20Blame%20Major%20Pig%20Slaughterhouse%20600%20Infected%20COVID-19::::tweet" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ordered closed</a> by local health authorities due to a Covid-19 outbreak that killed eight employees.</p>
<div id="28490" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="48ddd3480a2beb42597d9516ef652f0f"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1252416495990140929" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS! @SmithfieldFoods allegedly took NO PRECAUTIONS to protect the safety of its workers, leaving o… https://t.co/viAJ026pLy</div> — PETA (@PETA)<a href="https://twitter.com/peta/statuses/1252416495990140929">1587434336.0</a></blockquote></div><p>"It's not a matter of <em>whether</em> using and killing animals for food will give rise to another disease outbreak—it's a matter of <em>when</em>," said PETA. "There has never been a better, more obvious time for businesses to put an end to their dirty trade of slaughtering animals for their flesh." </p>
By Andrea Willige
More than half of the world's population lives in cities, and most future population growth is predicted to happen in urban areas. But the concentration of large numbers of people and the ecosystems built around their lives has also been a driver of climate change.