Why did you call it Trump Forest? +
Trust us, we weren’t particularly keen on naming it after the king of climate ignorance either, but we’ll bet you wouldn’t have heard about us if we hadn’t…
Life’s given us all a big lemon. Now we’re doing our best to make lemonade by hacking the newsworthiness of the Trump name to grow our forest. In short, if we’d named it anything else, Trump Forest wouldn’t have received the news coverage it has received and we wouldn’t have been able to grow a forest of 1,000,000 trees in less than 12 months.
Why didn’t you call if "Forrest Trump"? +
We get asked this by every second person...This actually crossed our minds and was our first name for the project, but we wanted to keep the title a little more on topic and Forrest Trump grew old on us within a day or two of considering it. We also didn’t want to bring an innocent (and great) film into the mix.
How do trees address climate change? +
Trees are some of nature’s carbon scrubbers; they’ve been at it for hundreds of millions of years. Via a process called photosynthesis, plants are a fundamental part of the global carbon cycle and crucial for regulating carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Using light from the Sun (photo), plants put together (synthesise) carbon dioxide and water to produce carbohydrates (energy) and a by-product, oxygen. It turns out this oxygen is pretty useful for us too…
The carbon cycle operates between the atmosphere (the sky), hydrosphere (oceans, rivers and lakes), biosphere (living organisms) and lithosphere (solid earth beneath us). The overwhelming majority is stored in the lithosphere, surprisingly not as fossil fuels but principally as sedimentary carbonates, locked up in rock. Carbon moves between these spheres naturally via many processes, but since we’ve started burning fossil fuels we’ve tipped this balance adding more carbon to the atmosphere than the other spheres can absorb - it then builds up: 300 parts per million, 350 parts per million... we are now beyond 400 parts per million. This amount of carbon has not been in the atmosphere for millions of years and modern society has been established assuming the climate and all the spheres it influences will stay the same.
When carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere it acts as a greenhouse gas, trapping heat and causing the average temperature of the planet to increase — climate change. We’ve warmed the entire planet by nearly 1 degree Celsius since the late 19th Century. It may not sound like much, but life on Earth is extremely sensitive to small temperature changes, so it is hugely significant.
So the photosynthesis carried out by trees on the daily helps get this carbon out of the atmosphere and back into the biosphere and eventually lithosphere.
What trees am I planting? And where are they being planted? +
If you went with the ‘Grow Global’ option and pledged trees through our partner the Eden Reforestation Projects, then you have planted mangroves in Madagascar.
Of course if you went with the ‘Grow Local’ option you know exactly what trees you purchased and where you planted them.
Why are you planting mangroves? +
Mangroves are a shrub or small tree confined to tropical and subtropical coastal regions. They’re a pretty hardy bunch, thriving in the intertidal zone where most other plant species don’t stand a chance. They drown and dry out on the daily and apart from being tough trees, it just so happens that they are legends when it comes to scrubbing carbon from the atmosphere.
In fact these guys are your go-to tree if you want to scrub carbon quickly. Also, the sediments that accumulate within coastal mangrove forests are high in organic content deposited by the mangrove trees. So in addition to the trees scrubbing, the sediments act as a long term carbon prison, locking up the greenhouse gas for millenia.
As a bonus, mangroves also protect coastal communities from the sea. Mangrove forests have been used in countries at threat from sea level rise to provide a buffer against storm surges.
Will this actually make a difference? +
Yes. Every tree planted pulls carbon out of the atmosphere. But we shouldn’t be naive, to make a dent on Trump’s ignorance we need hundreds of millions of trees and, to completely offset his ignorant plans, we will need approximately ten billion trees! A realistic goal, but not easy, that’s why we need you!
What else can I do to combat climate ignorance? +
Drive less, fly less, eat less meat and dairy products, have fewer children, consume less: there are hundreds of ways to have a smaller impact on the planet. Some of the most important, in addition to the personal things you do, is to vote for change: both with your money when you buy things by supporting companies who are making a positive difference, and also with your democratic vote at the ballot box for political parties who care and have real policy to tackle climate change. Educate yourself, Google around, talk with friends: this is what will create the social change we need urgently.
Does TF provide employment? +
Yes! When you pledge to plant mangroves in Madagascar you are also employing the local community to plant them. What a win! Check out more through our planting partner, The Eden Reforestation Projects. As for the core Trump Forest team, there are three of us running it — Dan, Jeff, and Adrien. None of us are paid (in fact, we use our personal money and time to pay for the running of Trump Forest) so that absolutely 100% of all money pledged goes into planting trees.
Why did you found Trump Forest? +
The three of us co-founders (Dan, Jeff, and Adrien) have spent the past ten years campaigning, researching, and raising awareness on climate change. We’ve travelled to some of the areas and met the people who’ll be worst affected (Bangladesh, Kiribati, Mongolia and many others)...When we heard about Trump’s policy plans we decided to do something about it.
Okay, I get that….but what gave you the idea to plant trees? +
Around the time of Trump inauguration, there was a big forest fire in our home town of Christchurch, New Zealand. That got us thinking about reforestation and since trees are currently the best way to get carbon out of the atmosphere, we figured that was the best way to offset Trump’s climate ignorance and create a positive global campaign. Trump Forest’s first 1,000 trees went to reforest some of the area that burned in Christchurch, and when we saw the on-the-ground impact it would have, we became even more committed to the idea.
How do you, the founders, make money from Trump Forest? +
We don’t. We use our personal money and time to pay for the running of Trump Forest so that absolutely 100% of all money pledged goes into planting trees.
How do I become a tree planting partner for Trump Forest? +
We’re happy to add tree planting organisations to our planting partner map on the following two conditions: you’re a registered charity, and you make it very easy for people to buy trees directly from your website. If you meet both of these requirements, please use the contact form to request joining the partners map.
How can I help Trump Forest? +
We really appreciate the offers of help, but at the moment, we have everything under control when it comes to the running of Trump Forest. The main thing we need is more donations, so please channel your goodwill into helping grow the forest. Secondly, we need people to spread the word so get vocal and tell your friends! Having said this, if you have exceptional skills in a field you think we need help with, please don’t hesitate to use the contact form to drop us a line.
What will you do if Trump takes credit for the project? +
Correct him (and enjoy all the extra trees that get planted).
What kind of things has Trump done that you think are "climate ignorant"? +
Where do we even start? The ignorance essentially falls into three tiers.
International policy: Indicated that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a landmark international accord in which all countries have signed up for to reduce emissions to limit average global temperature increase to less than 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit increases to 1.5°C. Domestic policy: Begun a complete gutting of the Environmental Protection Agency, the agency responsible for implementing the Clean Power Plan (CCC), the policy framework for the US to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. The CCC has a focus on reducing emissions by cutting energy production from coal and working toward high mileage targets for automobiles. Administration Personnel: Trump has filled his administration with an unprecedented number of people who reject the science that underpins our knowledge of climate change. https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/07/trump-climate-change-deniers-443533 As an individual: Trump has publicly displayed a complete misunderstanding of how the climate system works and ignored the warnings of leading climate scientists and business leaders.
Why didn’t you start something like this before? +
Trump’s ignorance sparked the idea and the frustration felt by millions globally has helped support it.
Have you had any celebrity support? +
We certainly have, author and activist Bill McKibben, actress Lucy Lawless, and author Margaret Atwood have got behind Trump Forest, to name a few.
Who is your dream ambassador for the project? +
You, the individual. In the 21st Century you don’t need to be famous to spread the word about a project. Everyone can do it. Speak about it, share it on Facebook, tweet about it, fire it up on Instagram.
How many countries have you gotten pledges from? +
More than 100!
How long will it take my pledged tree to be planted? +
If you’ve planted Mangroves the trees are typically in the ground within a couple of weeks.
Is it dishonest/disingenuous/problematic to lay climate change at the feet of President Trump? Haven’t others failed to act as well? +
Others have failed to act, but as of the end of 2015 the era of political dismissal of the crisis had arguably come to and end. The world was taking bold steps forward to address the issue and that’s why his ignorant actions are so damaging.