Nick Barnes is planting 5,000 native broadleaf trees on the family farm. He is doing this because it will benefit future generations, not because it is going to be any sort of big money spinner. In one year, 7 or 8 trees will create enough oxygen for one person to breathe. So, once it is established and growing strongly, Nick’s miniature forest will produce enough oxygen for all the inhabitants of Lezant parish. Just think about that!
Trees produce all this oxygen when they are busy growing. With the help of sunlight shining on the leaves and water and other nutrients from the roots, they convert the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into sugars such as cellulose. Cellulose is not just a junk-food thickener but a main ingredient of wood. Oxygen is a left-over from this process. This also means that trees are important allies in the fight against global overheating. We need to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere as it is causing it to overheat: witness the ongoing forest fires in Australia and the thawing of the permafrost across Siberia.
If we don’t do anything about it the seas will rise and we will see mass displacement of coastal communities and loss of farmland across the world and in the UK. Anyone fancy starving? Did I hear you say ‘it’s not my problem’? Are you thinking, “Shouldn’t the Amazon Rainforest be an important part of this fight?” Well, the Amazon rainforest is being cut down to make way for palm oil tree plantations to help make more junk food for British consumers to eat. There are also soya bean plantations, to make food for American junk food beef cattle- the sort that are raised on massive, ‘feedlots’, fed on growth hormones and antibiotics to fatten them up quickly and stop them getting sick in the overcrowded conditions. There’s also the extraction of minerals to satisfy our insatiable appetite for more junk. Don’t forget that our ‘fantastic trade deal with Mr Trump’ is meant to ship, at huge cost to the environment, this awful American produce to our shores: in order to undercut our British farmers who produce high quality beef and other meat animals reared largely on natural grassland. Some of our ministers say that this cheap food will be a good thing – but that is because they don’t care about the climate crisis or our farmers and in any case they don’t need to worry as they as individuals get lots of money from the Institute of Economic Affairs, which is where the American Industry lobbyists (working for the fossil fuel companies, food companies, big tobacco, health corporations and the last but not least the sugar industries) channel their funds directly to those ministers who will ‘arrange them a great deal’.
What can you do?… Fight back! “Buy Local” to help in the climate fight! Also, if you care about the climate crisis, you could, if you own some hedgerow, allow some of the trees in it to grow to their full potential. This will suck CO2 out of the atmosphere as well as providing a home for wildlife. If you have a spare corner of a field, could you ‘round it off’ and plant some trees of your own, for the children of the future to benefit from? Or are you one of those MANY people who will never lift a finger unless you’re paid to do so? Article from Lezant newsletter