What are we doing?
To help celebrate Earth Day this week, 28 Year 7 students have planted five sapling trees within our school grounds. We have been lucky enough to be selected as one of only 20 schools across the country, to work with The Tree Council. The purpose of planting the trees is twofold: firstly, to join in the effort to mitigate the global issue of climate change at a local level via the strategy of afforestation. Secondly, after lockdown, students working outdoors, in nature and together, is part of our school plan to improve wellbeing.
What could happen if we don't plant trees?
Since the start of the agricultural revolution there have been three trillion trees cut down due to our need for resources. If we continue deforesting areas at the current rate, it is anticipated that rainforests will disappear in just 79 years. Consequences of this will be that our carbon emissions will continue to increase if we don't do something about this. In turn, global temperatures are predicted to surpass a global 1oC increase since temperature records began in 1850 and top of this, sea levels will rise further than the 20cm they have already risen in the last 100 years and our weather will continue to become even more extreme.
Why are trees so vital?
Trees are a natural carbon sink and they absorb carbon dioxide when they photosynthesise. If trees are cut down, then there will be significantly less carbon dioxide absorbed. Trees also give off moisture through the process of transpiration. If trees are cut down, there will be less moisture in the atmosphere and less moisture will lead to a drier climate. The process of evaporation cools the air. If trees are cut down then evaporation will reduce and global temperature will continue to rise.
Why is it important we plant trees?
For over a year we have experienced the consequences and limitations of a global pandemic. This has impacted mental health across the nation; MIND reported 58% of under-18s said their mental health was poor or very poor. By planting trees, we are improving our wellbeing; learning outdoors is also fun! A survey conducted by the UN Environment Programme found that 89% of young people feel they can make a difference to climate change. At Hummersknott, we are part of that figure: “89% of young people”. Boris Johnson announced this week that by 2035 he wants to reduce carbon emissions by 78%. At Hummersknott, we are starting to do our part by increasing the amount of carbon sinks to help achieve this national target.
Our next stop will be the ocean....