We need to take carbon out of our atmosphere and hide it where it can’t contribute, as carbon dioxide, to global warming; the process is called carbon capture and sequestration. Above is the power industry’s solution to the problem; on the next page is FoSCP’s solution:
Although its roots take up a small amount of nutrients from the soil, the great majority of a tree is made from chemicals called carbohydrates. It gets the carbon (to make the carbohydrates) from the air; its leaves absorb it in the form of carbon dioxide. While the carbon is being made into complex carbohydrate molecules, there is a by-product: oxygen.
It is such a neat system; plants make the stuff animals breathe in out of the stuff they breathe out.
Trees have captured carbon from the atmosphere this way and sequestered it for millions of years, as coal and oil. As the amount of carbon in the atmosphere fell, so did the temperature until the conditions were just right for the human species to flourish. And flourish we did but, unfortunately, we have spent the last couple of centuries digging up all the coal and oil and letting all that carbon back into the atmosphere and the temperature is rising dangerously fast.
In the time since humans first cut down a tree, half of the planet’s forest has vanished. Planting trees is, in the parlance of the day, a no-brainer; a tree is nature’s device for capturing and sequestering carbon.
In the park, over the years, we have planted hundreds: saplings in plantations, fruit trees in an orchard, whips to thicken the hedges and stand-alone oaks in Sleeper Field and Village Green. Consider a tree for your garden, or a row of fruit trees for a wide grass verge in the village or an unconsidered corner of a car park.
People worry about roots in their drains, leaves in their downpipes, honeydew on their car windscreen but it really is time to start worrying the planet; it’s the only one we have.
The Woodland Trust is giving away trees to communities and schools and is taking applications now, for 2019.
Photographs by DKG