Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of Kenya’s acclaimed Greenbelt Movement, last week announced the launch of a new initiative by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) calling on concerned individuals, community groups, schools, businesses and governments around the world to work toward achieving the collective goal of planting one billion trees during 2007 to combat global warming.
“This is something that anybody can do,” Maathai told delegates to a United Nations conference on climate change taking place in Kenya. The conference, which has drawn delegates from more than 100 countries, was convened to help come up with new solutions to the onslaught of global warming. Maathai reported that tree planting is much more than a symbolic act, since trees absorb carbon dioxide that could otherwise end up in the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming. By participating in the campaign, she said, people can be part of the solution.
Individuals and groups can participate in the tree planting campaign by signing up on UNEP’s new Billion Tree Campaign website and registering the trees they plant during the 2007 calendar year. UNEP will provide a running tally of the results online while it coordinates specific tree planting efforts in different countries around the world.