Back in 2019, Swiss scientists conducted a study that concluded that the most effective way to combat climate change is to plant a trillion trees. According to the study’s calculations, planting at least one trillion trees could sequester nearly 830 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, which is about as much as humanity has emitted over the past 25 years.
Inspired by those projections and the urgency to tackle global warming, the government of Ukraine has recently devised an ambitious plan to plant one billion trees across the country in the coming three years. The country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, made the announcement only a few days after the end of the COP26 climate negotiations.
Together with most of the other European nations, Ukraine aims to plant three billion trees by the end of the decade to restore the “lungs of the planet.” As they grow, trees naturally suck up carbon dioxide, a planet-warming greenhouse gas emitted by burning fossil fuels.
As reported by euronews, local authorities also plan to set up more than ten modern breeding and seed centers in the next three years in Ukraine. In the country’s northern region of Zhytomyr, workers have already kicked the tree-planting project into action, putting small tree seedlings into the ground in an effort to combat climate change.
“[The whole of] Europe declared plans to plant three billion trees in ten years, but our plan is planting one billion in three years,” said Yuriy Bolokhovets, head of the state forest agency.
Forests make up about 16 percent of Ukraine’s 600,000-square-kilometer surface area. Experts estimate that three to four more is needed to help make a significant impact against climate change.