More than ever it is becoming necessary to create large-scale restoration projects in order to have a significant impact on ecosystems and the climate, locally and globally. It can be a massive restoration on large areas or the sum of smaller restorations in mosaic.
Our choice for large-scale restaurations became obvious when Wangari Maathai, an African woman, Nobel Peace Prize winner, received an offer from a company to plant 1 million trees. His answer was straightforward: “We need a billion trees.” With these words the United Nations Environment Program launched, in 2008, the billion tree campaign “Plant for the Planet”. Four years later, the result exceeded expectations: 12 billion trees planted.
With the United Nations Environment Program and Wangari Maathai we organized the campaign in Spain, the European country most affected by climate change due to its Mediterranean climate. Since then, we have restored more than 75,000 hectares–185,000 acres– of forest and planted 47 million trees, the largest plantation in the developed world after the United States.
The United Nations is now calling for restoring 350 million hectares of degraded forest and landscapes before 2030. More than 60 countries have already committed to participate and have implemented high impact projects including the restoration of 8 million hectares in the Mediterranean before 2030.
It is important that all those who cannot undertake major restorations alone participate in these crucial actions for nature and the climate. Such mobilization of citizens represents an essential force for the restoration of degraded lands and landscapes and the protection of climate. Such commitment from each of us reflects our responsibility towards the nature that sustains and enhances our everyday life.