In my email inbox this morning:
Side event, 4 February, Power of One Child + One Tree = A Sustainable Future for All
Dear collagues (sic) and friends attending the UNFF, Please join us for a side event on Friday, 4th FebruaryFriday, February 4 from 1:15 -2:45 pm in the UN North Lawn Building, Conference Room C (flyer attached) The event will highlight the importance of engaging and empowering the world’s 2.2 billion children to plant and care for trees and forests all over the world. Presentations will focus on school-based and non-formal child and youth-led agro-forestry, indigenous tree nurseries, and participatory education in partnership with the private sector and REDD for community forest management for poverty eradication. We hope to see you soon! With kind regards from the team at Earth Child Institute
(UNFF = United Nations Forum on Forests = not the most respected international forestry organisation around.)
It is estimated that there are some 5 trillion trees on our planet. So, while I’m all for energising today’s youth around the importance of forests, the “Power of One Child + One Tree” appears to be < 0.05% of the current stock, otherwise known – if we can switch ecosystem for a moment – as a drop in the ocean. Either we need more children (?!?) or to increase the ratio dramatically.
More seriously, I really have my doubts about this kind of feel-good international PR puff. Exactly when or where does it translate into action on the ground at the scales implied by the title? Good that some people somewhere are supporting “child and youth-led agro-forestry, indigenous tree nurseries, and participatory education”, but I don’t buy the puffery.