Keep the Planet Breathing

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Keep the Planet Breathing

Only 28% of wild forests are left on our planet
More than 6,000,000 hectares of forests were globally cut down or burned this year
We only have 76 years left till the end of rainforests if current trends continue
Yes deforestation is real, and we must act fast!

Trees are essential.
They are the mother caring for its planet,
The Lung expanding and retracting to keep us alive,
The Filter trying to null harm caused by humans

Here are Three Main Reasons why we cannot afford to keep the reforestation rate going

Trees Fight Climate Change

Trees absorb Carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases (GHG) that human activities emit. Those gases, when in the atmosphere, cause what we know as climate change or global warming.

Over one year a mature tree will take up about 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and in exchange release oxygen. Each year, 1.3 million trees are estimated to remove more than 2500 tons of pollutants from the air. (European Environment Agency, 2012)

Deforestation Causes Diseases

Major zoonoses (diseases that can be transmitted to humans from animals) can be triggered by deforestation; The aftermath of wildlife habitat loss. An increasing number of studies suggest that deforestation, by triggering a complex chain of events, creates the conditions for the spread of a variety of deadly pathogens, including the Nipah and Lassa viruses, as well as the parasites that cause malaria and Lyme disease.

It is estimated that around 1.7 million currently “undiscovered” viruses exist in mammals and birds, of which up to 827,000 could have the ability to infect people. Healthy forests are essential to reduce the risks of future zoonotic diseases. (Wertz-Kanounnikoff, 2021)

Less Trees Less Water

A loss of tree covers disrupts what is known as the water cycle. Trees, by absorbing atmosphere moisture act as water reservoirs to then release that moisture and complete the hydric cycle

A continual cycle of dry air, low humidity, and decreased precipitation will inevitably lead to a drought-prone, desert-like climate. (Dhaliwal, 2023)

In addition, tree roots soak up rainwater, reducing run-offs and insuring the infiltration of kept water. Deforestation, in addition to promoting run-offs of water, leaves the soil cover with nothing to hold it. When erosion rates rise, flooding and higher odds of pollutants sweeping into nearby water reservoirs skyrocket.

Planting Trees. Is it the solution to climate change?

Let’s do the math.

Global per capita carbon dioxide emissions averaged 4,690 kg in 2021.

One mature tree can absorb up to 22 kilograms of carbon dioxide per year.

At this rate, it would take 213 trees per person to account for all emissions. This adds up to almost 1.7 trillion trees to only neutralize the carbon emissions we are producing on yearly average.

Is that it? Have we saved the planet?

Alas no. Planting trees while still emitting heaps of GHG into the atmosphere is not an effective and sustainable solution to our ever-heating environmental dilemmas.

Carbon sinks, such as forests and oceans, absorb a massive amount of naturally emitted CO2 as well as much of what humans produce as part of the planet's natural carbon cycle. Human emissions have thrown the natural cycle off balance though. Therefore, given the system's enormous complexity, it's difficult to say how many new trees would be needed to restore it to balance. (MIT Climate Portal, 2022)

The sustainable way to go

  • Make informed daily choices | We can all help to protect forests by consuming less, avoiding single-use packaging, eating more sustainably, and choosing recycled or responsibly-produced wood products.
  • Raise your voice | Pressuring corporations to keep forests standing is key to safeguarding what we have left of our global treasure. If you see, learn, or suspect that the activity of any party is affecting your local forest cover, do not hesitate to dig deeper and take action if necessary.
  • Educate your entourage | From friends to family and the extended community, it is crucial to share how our everyday actions can have a global impact on forests.

by Eng. Maryse Bou Zeid


European Environment Agency (2011, November 19). Forests, health and climate change. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from

Wertz-Kanounnikoff, S. (2021, July 6). Preventing Future Pandemics Starts with Protecting Our Forests. SDG Knowledge Hub. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from

Dhaliwal, B. (2023, February 8). HOW DEFORESTATION AFFECTS THE WATER CYCLE. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2022, June 16). How many new trees would we need to offset our carbon emissions? MIT Climate Portal. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from

Maryse Bou Zeid

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