Elon Musk is best known as the purveyor of rocket ships, electric cars, and solar roofs. Each business is his way of trying to save the world through capitalism, a welcome change from the efforts of people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to save the world by destroying it through socialism. In any case, Musk has hit upon not so much a business but a non-profit effort to help alleviate climate change by planting trees. Lots of trees.
According to Forbes, the story starts recently when a YouTube influencer named Jimmy “Mr. Beast” Donaldson kicked off a crowdfunding effort to raise $20 million to plant 20 million trees by the end of 2020. The money would help the ongoing efforts of the Arbor Day Foundation to plant as many trees as possible. The effort has created the hashtag #TeamTrees with a crowdfunding site Teamtrees.org. As of this writing, over $8 million has been raised in less than three days.
The effort has been taken viral by a variety of other YouTubers, tech magnates, and celebrities. One of them happens to be Elon Musk, one of the most famous and colorful billionaires on the planet.
Musk found out about it and was very enthused about the project.
“Late Monday, @MrBeast quote-retweeted an image from @LoserFruit, adding the comment ‘And so far we have planted almost 6 million… THAT’S INSANE!’
“Musk replied, unprompted, ‘Sounds cool. Where are the trees being planted & what kind of trees?’
“Brownlee wrote back to Musk, ‘Goes straight to the Arbor Day Foundation for planting a tree somewhere ‘in a forest of high need’ around the globe,’ with a thumbs-up emoji.
“And a day later, Musk came back to Twitter to reply, ‘Ok, sounds legit, will donate 1M trees.’”
He added “For Treebeard” and then, at least temporarily, changed his Twitter handle to “Treelon.”
The question arises, why plant a bunch of trees, besides the fact that they’re pretty, provide shade and are a good source of renewable resources such as wood? It turns out that trees, like other plants, suck in a lot of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it and emits oxygen. For those who are worried that human-caused CO2 is causing the Earth’s temperatures to rise and will, in the fullness of time, kill all of us, planting trees would seem to be a good thing.
As the Arbor Day Foundation notes, “As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Trees provide many benefits to us, every day. They offer cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify our air, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, and add grace and beauty to our homes and communities.”
Some experts believe that just by planting between a half a trillion and a trillion extra trees, most of the human-caused CO2 would be scrubbed out of the atmosphere. Combined with more nuclear power and carbon capture power plants, the problem of climate change, such as it may be, would be solved. The Green New Deal, which would deny humans private automobiles, air travel, meat, and milk, among other things, would be unnecessary.
Some people had noted that if the same number of young people had gone out to plant trees during the Greta Thunberg inspired “climate strike,” they would have done more to help the environment than marching around, pestering the adults.
The task of planting around a trillion new trees would be a time-consuming effort.
ZME Science relates the story of another nonprofit that has hit upon the idea of planting trees using drones. The idea that drones survey an area to determine its suitability for reforesting. The data is then combined with satellite images provided by NOAA, NASA, or private sector firms.,
Then the drones fly over the designated area, firing seedpods into the ground. These pods quickly grow into seedlings and, in the fullness of time, trees. One estimate by a company called BioCarbonEngineering suggests that a fleet of ten drones could plant 400,000 trees in a single day.
The solution of planting trees is a simple, relatively cheaper method of addressing climate change than some other solutions being advanced by certain politicians. Many people also find planting a tree by hand to be a memorable experience, a much more productive way to help the environment than tweeting about