Magazine article American Forests

Cool the Globe, Plant a Tree: A Simple Step We All Can Take to Help Combat Global Warming

Magazine article American Forests

Cool the Globe, Plant a Tree: A Simple Step We All Can Take to Help Combat Global Warming

Article excerpt

In the last several years, global warming has gone from a topic dismissed as wild speculation to a featured topic on wildly popular afternoon talk shows. Now, there is consensus among scientists, environmental advocates, business leaders, and television personalities.

Last year was the warmest year in 1,000, according to some estimates. Clearly something is happening. Today's atmospheric C[O.sub.2] concentration stands at levels unprecedented in the last 420,000 years. Further, much of the increased concentration of C[O.sub.2] occurred within the last 100 years, mostly a function of burning fossil fuels to power our industrial economy.

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Nor are the effects of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations on the planet in doubt. New images show us the result daily--glaciers disappearing; more storms, and more intense storms, in the last five years than in the past 25. Some of this may be cyclical, but the intensity is thought to be made stronger because of global warming.

Wildlife, too, is feeling the effects. Many birds no longer migrate, others are moving northward. Still others are threatened by habitat loss. In North America, many tree species are showing the effects of warming and climate change.

So what's a planet to do?

Around the world, urgent calls have gone out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto treaty, 163 countries accounting for 65 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, is one such step. Notably absent from the signatories is the United States--the world's number one emitter of greenhouse gas.

In the absence of leadership by the federal government, America's corporate community is stepping up to the challenge, realizing it's good for business and good for the environment. IKEA, one of AMERICAN FORESTS' tree-planting sponsors, prides itself on being a leader in what is often referred to as "triple bottom-line thinking," measuring corporate performance in terms of how well it treats the environment, involvement in local communities, and profitability. …

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