A project to plant trees to offset Trump’s damaging climate decisions has hit 100,000 trees and counting so far – although there’s a long way to go to reach its goal.
Trump Forest was first revealed earlier this year, a tongue-in-cheek name aimed at the climate-denier-in-chief. The goal is to plant a few billion trees spanning the size of Kentucky by the end of the year, mitigating the effects of US carbon emissions.
The idea was dreamed up by Adrien Taylor, Dan Price, and Jeff Willis from Christchurch, New Zealand (you can read our interview with them here). It began in April, with 15,000 trees planted by May. Now, that’s been more than sextupled.
"It was really quite demoralizing to have someone who questions basic science elected president of the free world," Taylor told IFLScience. "We know Trump likes his things, he’s got Trump Vodka, Trump Chocolate, Trump Towers. So we thought he might like Trump Forest too."
Members of the public are encouraged to get involved in one of two ways. You can either plant a tree yourself anywhere in the world in the name of Trump, and then send the project a copy of your receipt so you can be added to the Trump Forest world map. Or you can pledge money through their website to plant trees, as part of the Eden Reforestation Projects, which are restoring healthy forests in Madagascar, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Nepal.
At the time of writing 101,138 trees have been pledged and $12,723 has been invested from 365 backers. By planting enough trees equivalent to the area of Kentucky, the team estimates they’ll offset the effects of Trump scrapping Obama’s Clean Power Plan (the idea came about before Trump pulled out of the Paris agreement). This would have prevented 641 megatons of carbon being added into the atmosphere over the next eight years.
There’s still a long way to go to reach the goal. But if they do make it there by the end of the year, the team wants the final tree to be a Christmas tree on the White House lawn, which they hope to decorate themselves.
The trio are now asking you to share news about Trump Forest, get involved yourselves, and post on Twitter with the hashtag #TrumpForest. Reaching a few billion trees by the year’s end will be a pretty tall order, but it’s a good project nonetheless all in the name of raising awareness about climate change.
“It’ll be cool in 20 years to say oh, what did you do when Trump tried to mess up the climate agenda?" said Price. "Well, we planted a forest to offset everything so it didn’t really matter."