On Friday, 80 students from 13 different Seattle schools attended the free Academy for the international children’s organization Plant For The Planet. In only 6 years, over 18,000 students worldwide have trained as Ambassadors for Climate Justice, who give presentations on climate, and organize tree-planting. There was plenty of laughter, fun, snacks, and sunshine, but the working sessions were all business, with a very serious plan to literally change the world.
The Plant for the Planet goal: to train 1 million Ambassadors worldwide, and plant 1,000 Billion trees by 2020. So far, they have planted so many trees that they were given the official Tree-Counter of the United Nations Tree-Planting Campaign and have counted 12.5 Billion Trees planted!
The day-long Seattle Academy was held at Golden Gardens Bathhouse, a beautiful brick building in a magnificent park, one of the first places in Seattle that these children will see flooded from rising sea levels if we don’t take action. The Seattle Mayor’s office and Seattle Parks donated the use of the building for the day, free of charge.
The Deputy Mayor of Seattle, Darryl Smith, attended the children’s climate presentation and said it was “the best presentation he’d seen on climate change,” giving the most cohesive description of the both the problem and the solution. The Deputy Mayor commented that coal trains roll through Golden Gardens on their way to export terminals where the coal gets shipped overseas for burning. Stopping the coal trains is one of Mayor Mike McGinn’s top priorities.
Plant For The Planet has a Global Board of 14 children on different continents and one adult for signing papers and financial matters. The children, who meet online, created a 3-point plan:
- Leave the Fossil Fuels in the Ground, eliminating the source of our CO2 emergency.
- Plant 1,000 billion trees by 2020, to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere as quickly as possible, buying us more time to address the crisis.
- Combat global poverty in developing countries with a carbon fee, so that nations that want to burn more than their fair share pay other nations who don’t use their own fair share. The fee would be based on each person on earth having a “fair” amount of CO2 to burn, currently 1.5 tons per person, the maximum amount we can emit and still avoid crossing the threshold of 2 degrees Celsius warming.
The ambitious plan solves global warming in this lifetime, avoiding a global catastrophe. Anything less is not an option for these children.
What humans do now and until 2020 matters most of all, because we put another 90 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere every day. Currently the average person in the USA burns about 18-20 tons per year, or 10 times the fair amount allowed if we want to avoid disaster. Here in the USA, we have to reduce our emissions twice as much as most wealthy nations, who have been seriously reducing pollution for decades. By the time these children are grown and in positions of power, 2o years from now, it may be too late to do anything about it.
Let’s all support these new Ambassadors, who have their work cut out, spreading the word about the crisis and the solution, both in Seattle and nationwide, getting support for their global plan, and getting governments, companies, and families to plant more trees right away!