How Can Planting Trees Help to Reduce Climate Change?
Fri Dec 4 2020
We’ve teamed up with One Tree Planted to plant 100 trees in your state for everyone you refer who gets a Kin policy. So… why trees? Glad you asked.
We serve communities that are the most impacted by climate change. Homeowners in Florida and California are at greater risk of hurricanes, floods, and wildfires – big catastrophes made worse and more frequent by our warming world.
So we decided to do our part to help combat climate change. Here’s why trees are so vital to that mission.
Trees and Climate Change
According to NASA, an international research team set out to estimate the effect of restoring forested land as a way to mitigate climate change.
First, the team started with a model that estimates the planet’s reforestation potential, which revealed we could feasibly support 25 percent more forests than we currently have. To put a figure on it, that’s another 2.2 billion acres of forests.
If all those trees were planted, the team estimated it could:
- Capture 205 gigatons of carbon.
- Reduce carbon in the atmosphere by about 25 percent.
- Negate about 20 years of human-produced carbon emissions at today’s rate.
Why does extra carbon dioxide hurt our atmosphere? It’s a greenhouse gas that absorbs and radiates heat. The more carbon in our atmosphere, the warmer our planet gets. Warmer climate melts polar ice caps, makes sea levels rise, creates intense storms, increases the acidity of the ocean, and causes severe droughts.
Carbon in our atmosphere has already warmed the world by 1° C since pre-industrial times. It even hit a new record high in 2019: 409.8 parts per million. The ocean’s acidity also increased by 30 percent.
Granted, planting billions of trees is going to take time and a lot of global cooperation. But if we don’t cut and reduce emissions in the atmosphere, we’re on track to hit a whopping 3.9° C increase by 2100.
How Trees Can Mitigate Climate Change
Trees can be an essential tool in the effort to reduce carbon emissions. Here’s a quick rundown of all the ways trees benefit us:
- Trees absorb greenhouse gases like carbon from the atmosphere. One mature tree can absorb 48 pounds of carbon every year.
- Trees can reduce the impact of severe flooding and storms. They absorb the extra water in the soil as it surges on land and release it into the air as vapor.
- Trees keep us comfortable. Because of their shade, trees keep our communities cooler, which helps us save on energy costs.
- Trees support agriculture. Their shade helps the soil retain moisture so it doesn’t dry out.
- Trees support biodiversity. They’re an essential part of a thriving ecosystem and create habitats for many species, including endangered ones.
The States with A Lot at Stake
Florida is home to 38 state forests, covering over 1,153,693 acres. But every year, the Atlantic hurricane season threatens Florida’s forest resources that provide fresh air, wildlife habitat, and clean water. In fact, unhealthy forests have been a major contributor in the wildfires Florida has seen recently.
Similarly, California’s droughts and record-high temperatures have taken a toll on its forests. Since the drought started in 2010, more than 147 million trees have died. Since 2017 alone, 18 million trees have died. For perspective, a “normal” tree mortality rate is much less than a million per year in California.
These dead trees have been fueling the brutal wildfire season we’ve seen this year and years past.
Planting young, healthy trees can help restore and stabilize forests and mitigate the effects of climate change both states are enduring.
Going Out on a Limb to Make a Difference
To support the communities we serve, we’ve reimagined our referral program. We’re proud to partner with One Tree Planted to plant 100 trees in the forests of Florida or California for every friend or family member who gets a policy with Kin.
One Tree Planted ensures the trees are native to the area and plants them at a time conducive to their survival. Every tree helps to:
- Restore forests after natural disasters. New trees make forests more resilient and help reduce the impact of hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding.
- Support local ecosystems. Young, healthy trees filter pollutants from wetlands and provide shelter for wildlife.
- Protect endangered wildlife. Restoring natural habitats ensures the survival of endangered species.
- Reduce the impact of wildfires. Young, healthy forests help suppress future wildfires.
- Protect the water supply. Two-thirds of California’s water supply comes from its forests.
- Reduce carbon emissions. One mature tree sequesters 48 pounds of carbon each year.
Tell your friends, and let’s work together to help our forests thrive.
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