A beautiful, moving video from the iMatter Earth Day March back in April, reminding us to love our kids, and our only home. Our children have some strong words for us to hear and honor. They depend on us to protect their future.
The children were protesting the proposal to expand coal exports through Seattle and the Northwest from 2 – 3 trains per day to 18 – 37 trains per day, so Peabody Coal can sell it as quickly as possible to Asia for the next few years. The additional CO2 emissions will more than equal the emissions from the Keystone XL pipeline if allowed.
Our PBS station created a wonderful documentary, COAL. Here’s a preview:
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!
Imagine planting a million trees, what you would feel like, how you would change the world… Now get started! 80 lucky students ages 8 – 14 from area schools will train to serve our community as Climate Justice Ambassadors! Worldwide, over 19,000 young students have been through this fun and educational Academy training, and joined forces as leaders of the Official Tree-Planting Campaign of the United Nations.
All participants receive:
free Plant For The Planet T-shirt
free copy of the book “Tree By Tree” by Felix and Friends
snacks (Bring your own sack lunch and water bottle)
training in how to present the slideshow to an audience
support getting started with friends after the workshop
Play experiential games to understand how our world needs to change, learn to plant a tree with Seattle Parks naturalists, get a photo with local leaders, rehearse the slideshow and end the day giving the slideshow to invited guests.
Students, age 8 – 14, who care about our future and who want to plant a truly tree-mendous transformation of our planet, please attend this one-day workshop on May 24th to send a powerful signal against the climate crisis.
At 4pm that day, families and invited guests will come see the slideshow presentation given by the students at the conclusion of the training. Plan to attend with the whole family to experience this powerful work and celebrate the world’s newest Climate Justice Ambassadors! Then join us in Seattle Parks the following Saturday November 2nd, Green Seattle Day! Bring the whole family out to launch Seattle’s Tree-planting Season.
Thanks to support from the Seattle Parks Dept, and Coolmom for all the help making this a fantastic free event, open to all students!
In my slideshow for The Climate Reality Project I have introduced audiences in Seattle to the inspiring work of Felix Finkbeiner in Germany, who founded Plant For The Planet a few years ago.
I want to bring an Academy here so that our kids can take the training, learn how to train other kids, become skilled in organizing and fundraising, understand climate justice, and finally HELP PLANT A TRILLION TREES! That’s right, Trillion with a T and that stands for Trees! The only Trouble is finding a corporate sponsor for the event.
If you know of someone who works at one of the big companies in Seattle, please call me and let’s talk about sponsorship of this Academy training event. Help me make contact with a sponsor and we will get this group to come to Seattle this year!
This kind of reforestation is called the 2nd Solution to global warming. Since our CO2 level is way beyond the safe limit, we need more trees to rapidly reabsorb all that excess carbon. Reforesting areas that have been deforested in the last century would put us back on a path our kids can live with. Felix and the kids who run Plant For The Planet are hard at work planting trees right now.
The 1st Solution is reducing CO2 emissions 8% a year starting in 2013. We need to get started now on Solution #1, then we’ll see all the benefits of solution #2 as kids around the world plant millions of trees in their home countries. When those trees start soaking up more and more pollution, we’ll be so grateful. And it will change the course of history.
If we do both of these things, reduce pollution and massive reforestation of lands, by the end of our kids’ lifetimes at the end of this century, our planet just might get back to a climate something like in the 1980’s. It’s going to be a hot century, but if we do everything we can right away to avoid the most dangerous planetary impacts, our kids and their kids’ kids have a pretty good chance at avoiding total catastrophe for the next century. Sounds like a good bet to me even if the odds are long ! I’d rather bet on the side of helping plant more trees and go to bed each night knowing, “I’m doing the best I can.” Always.
Because of Felix and young people all over the world, we are already well on our way!