Editorial: Planting 20 million trees just a drop in the bucket

California alone has averaged over 30 million trees lost per year for the last four years

On Oct. 25 a new initiative called “Team Trees” launched.

It’s an initiative by a large group of internet celebrities (“YouTubers” and “influencers”) to plant 20 million trees by Jan. 1, 2020. The way it works is that for every dollar donated one tree will be planted through the Arbor Day Foundation.

The foundation has planted trees in most continents. Along with the initiative, supporters created all kinds of videos on a host of tree-related topics.

Within a week, there have been multiple donations of 50,000 and 100,000 trees as well as a stunning amount of smaller donations and one million trees by Elon Musk.

RELATED: Kids plant more than 1,000 trees to replace those burned in 2017 wildfires

RELATED: B.C. moves to preserve 54 of its biggest, oldest trees

They’ve already surpassed eight million trees. It’s not clear yet whether they’ll reach their goal but either way, it’s the kind of thing that gives you a nice warm feeling inside of people working together. As far as environmentalism goes, it’s the kind of thing pretty much everyone can get behind (as opposed to, for example, stances on pipelines).

Furthermore, 20,000,000 trees sounds like really quite a large amount of trees.

However, the amount of trees lost absolutely dwarfs that number. California alone has averaged over 30 million trees lost per year for the last four years to just beetles and drought.

Of course, we’re no strangers to tree loss here in B.C. ourselves. In both 2017 and 2018, well over 1,000,000 hectares burned in wildfires, nevermind die-off due to drought, beetles or other causes.

In May, the province, in an effort to re-establish wildlife habitat, announced 22 million trees would be planted in areas burned during the 2017 wildfires in the Plateau, Elephant Hill and Hanceville fire areas.

In fact, according to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, 259 million trees will be planted throughout British Columbia this year.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May pledged during the recent federal election to plant 10 billion trees by 2050.

For those struggling to keep track, if B.C. keeps planting at the rate it is this year, it’ll get to eight billion trees by 2050 by itself, nevermind the other provinces. In other words, it’s pretty unlikely Canada wouldn’t plant 10 billion trees by 2050 regardless of who’s in charge in Ottawa. That’s just Canada. In other words, you might be better off messaging your elected official than donating your own money if you want to see more trees planted.

Ultimately, as nice and warm as an initiative such as “Team Trees” may make you feel on the inside, it’s really only a very small drop in the bucket, albeit a welcome one.

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