To offset the damage from President Trump’s stance on climate change, a huge international project set out a mission to plant billions of trees, aptly named "Trump Forest", poking fun at Trump's predilection for self-titled products. Since the project launched, there’s been continued blows to climate science, dubious decisions in environmental policy, and of course, the decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate agreement, despite being one of the world's biggest polluters.
It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that interest in the crowd-funded forest is mounting fast.
Now, within just five months of the project being launched, they have had 530,653 trees pledged along with almost $70,000 in donations. Around half of the donations themselves have been from people in the US, with large chunks also coming from Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
“We’re at 500,000 trees: it’s an absolute fraction of where we need to be, but it’s also 500,000 times more than when we put the first tree in the ground just a few months ago, and people were saying it couldn’t be done then, too,” Dr Daniel Price, glaciologist and one of Trump Forest’s three co-founders, said in an emailed statement.
“Trees are nature’s carbon scrubbing machines, millions of years in the making. They are the most efficient and cheapest option we have to soak up Trump’s ignorance,” he added.
Here’s how it all works. The organizers want people around the world to buy and plant a tree from a local planting organization then send the project a copy of your receipt so you can be added to the Trump Forest world map. Alternatively, you can donate to the Eden Reforestation Projects who will plant a tree somewhere in the world on behalf of you and Trump Forest.
You can watch the progress on the project on the live Google map above. Eventually, they hope to plant approximately 100,000 square kilometers (39,000 square miles) of forest, around about the size of the state of Kentucky. They worked out this amount of trees would negate carbon emissions generated as a result of Trump scrapping President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which would have prevented approximately 650 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in eight years.
"This isn't just a stunt, and it's not about political point scoring,” added co-founder Jeff Willis, a PhD candidate studying climate policy in the Pacific. "Donald Trump's lack of climate change policies puts human life on this planet at risk. When we say we're offsetting his ignorance, those are the stakes."
"Trump may be ignoring the most significant challenge facing humanity today, but we're not. 500,000 new trees in the ground show that people around the world aren't either."