Trees can rescue climateEthical News News & Features
With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report urging for global warming to be kept within 1.5°C, The Tree Conference – to be held at The Merlin Theatre in Frome on Sunday 21 October – will highlight the vital role trees and reforestation can play in averting climate breakdown.
Practical solutions to global warming
As the Guardian reported, Shell boss Ben van Burden said a huge tree-planting project the size of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest would be needed to meet the tougher global warming target of 1.5°C.
Suzi Martineau, organiser of The Tree Conference, said the pool of ‘amazing speakers’, tree experts, scientists, environmentalists, project leaders and partners at the event will demonstrate there are ‘practical methods and solutions for working with trees that will support the world’s ecosystems and help to keep global temperature rise within 1.5°C.’
‘We will be presenting very clear strategies for supporting the reforestation of our planet, for regenerating habitats for wildlife and for putting an end to deforestation’, Suzi added.
Rewilding and soil health
Speakers at the event include Isabella Tree, author of Wilding, the best-selling environmental book of 2018, which tells the remarkable story of the rewilding of Isabella’s Knepp Estate in West Sussex.
Isabella Tree said the success at Knepp, where habitats are created by free-roaming animals, ‘is changing the way people are thinking about Nature conservation. It demonstrates, among other things, how trees can regenerate without human intervention and how important this kind of dynamic, open wood pasture system is for our native wildlife.’
Dr Martin Bidartondo, a scientist from Imperial College London, will explain the damaging effect of excess nitrogen (fertilisers) on soil fungi and its implications for the health of our trees.
‘Just do it’
Peter Macfadyen, author of Flatpack Democracy and former mayor of Frome, will host an afternoon slot highlighting the work of The Gaia Foundation and introducing leading-edge tree projects from around the world.
Peter will talk to Somerset-based Julian Hight, author of World Tree Story, about his work reviving Selwood Forest; to Ayana Young, host of the For the Wild podcast about her millennial-run 1 Million Redwoods Project in California; and finally, to special guest forest defenders from the Sarayaku tribe of the Amazon, Mirian Cisnoros and Yaku Gualinga, about their Living Forest Declaration, a pioneering approach for using International law to halt deforestation.
‘From Frome to California via Ecuador: at a certain moment people take power into their own hands and find ways to plant trees. Our Gaia Foundation slot looks at three projects where ‘just do it’ is not a strap line for a shoe brand but a mantra that’s led to real change at a meaningful scale.’
Author of Flatpack Democracy and former mayor of Frome
Education and Nature
Award-winning writer Mary Reynolds Thompson will explore our capacity to re-write our human story of ‘superiority and separateness from Nature’, and how we can change our global narrative through education for the benefit of the next generation. Mary will be joined by Wendy Davis, founder of Andover Trees United, who helped 40 primary schools plant a woodland.
Andy Egan and Teresa Gitonga from International Tree Foundation will present the charity’s work implementing sustainable, community forest projects in Africa and the UK.
During the event’s networking time, partners of The Tree Conference, including TreeSisters, Royal Forestry Society, Woodland Trust, The Tree Council, Resurgence & Ecologist and Hawkwood Centre for Future Thinking, will be available to support and inform conference participants.
To round off, a lively panel discussion will debate the themes of the day, including the effects of the HS2 rail network and 5G mobile network, large-scale planting, education and other issues that have arisen.