Here’s how to plant a tree every time Trump says something dumb about climate change

Here’s how to plant a tree every time Trump says something dumb about climate change

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Treespond is fighting Trump's lies about climate change by planting trees.
Treespond is fighting Trump’s lies about climate change by planting trees.

Image: Treespond

2018%2f07%2f11%2f86%2fsorayabw61.cfa18By Soraya Ferdman

Imagine, for a second, that you had one of those stress balls that you could squish in your palm whenever Trump said something about the environment that really frustrated you.

Now imagine that a tree popped out whenever you used it.

Treespond, a campaign that allows users to sponsor the planting of a tree in response to Trump’s misleading commentary about climate change, launched earlier this week. Treepex, the nonprofit behind Treespond, hopes to harness your political frustration and turn it into carbon sequestering forests.

The idea for the campaign came when Bacho Khachidze, Treepex’s cofounder, noticed how frustrated people got about climate change deniers. “It’s normal to get angry when people with power spread false information about a problem that needs urgent attention, their words can do real damage,” he admitted, “But we wanted to provide people with something actionable they could do that wasn’t, like, screaming back.”

And you wouldn’t be faulted for screaming at your phone every time you see Trump tweet something about climate change. Just take a look at some gems from the past:

grrrrrrr

Grrrr!

GRRRRR!!!! This is where Treespond comes in.

Each tree costs $9.99 to plant and comes with a certificate with your tree’s ID number, a photograph of the tree, and its geographical location. The idea recalls the now clichéd Star Registry, that allows people to name a star in someone’s name. Though stars, of course, do not come with biodegradable tags.

Each tree comes with an NFC biodegradable tag that tracks tree growth.

Each tree comes with an NFC biodegradable tag that tracks tree growth.

Here’s how it works: Treespond has a variety of Trump quotes, each assigned a fixed number of trees that you can sponsor. You can’t specifically plant a tree in honor of your own personal favorite Trump lie that’s not part of the collection, but there are plenty of poor statements to choose from.

Just some of the Trump quotes you can select to pay for a tree.

Just some of the Trump quotes you can select to pay for a tree.

The site feels not unlike a video game, where certain quotes remain unlocked, only to be revealed in due time. Also, donors can see how many trees are left for a quote and are thus encouraged to donate more  to complete the quote’s goal. 

Though Treepex normally allows users to choose between Georgia, Africa, and the U.S. to sponsor tree planting, trees planted with Treespond are specifically planted in California, where wildfires have decimated miles of forest land. Climate scientists tie the recent proliferation of wildfires to environmental factors such as changing precipitation and soil moisture levels, both of which are linked to climate change. 

It should be pointed out that planting one tree, ten trees, or even a hundred, will not remedy the harm human pollution has wrought on the planet. If we are really serious about fighting climate change, we need to put pressure on governments to enact policy changes that move away from fossil fuels, conserve remaining forests, and promote sustainable agriculture. Additionally, we should be putting pressure on our representatives to push for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement.

And so, the point is not that Treespond will save our planet, rather that it is one nice thing (or ten or hundred nice things) that you can do alongside other efforts to counter the effects of pollution. Trees absorb as much as 30 percent of the planet’s carbon emissions, but deforestation caused by logging, agriculture, and wildfire are shrinking this valuable resource. 

Though small in nature, the gesture of planting a tree holds symbolic weight: It can represent the voice of those listening to the Earth’s pain and working to heal it.

  

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