A recent study has found that an area of forest the size of France has regrown around the world over the past 20 years, according to The Guardian, showing concrete proof that regeneration of our forests is possible. As a global community, we should be increasing our efforts to ensure that new growth continues to happen and for it to mean something, including not only replanting, but also protecting and conserving the environment that we still have.
Nearly 59 million hectares of forests have regrown since 2000, providing the potential to soak up and store 5.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide, according to Force of Nature, a site that maps the rate of forest growth around the world. This new growth alone eclipses the annual carbon emissions of the United States.
While this is an exciting development that is cause for some celebration, it is not nearly enough, especially with the continued loss of forests worldwide. At the same time that we were regrowing 59 million hectares, 386 million hectares of tree cover were lost worldwide, according to The Guardian. This means we as a planet lost about seven times the amount of forest as we gained.
Another aspect to consider is, while the United States is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions, there is still the rest of the world to consider. More has to be done to combat climate change to secure this planet for generations to come.
In one of the best first moves in his presidency, President Joe Biden brought America back into the Paris Agreement, an agreement between 196 nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, after former President Donald Trump withdrew the agreement in 2017.
The entire world should look to shift toward more renewable energy sources like wind, solar and hydroelectric power plants. The U.S. in particular should have started long ago given its massive global carbon footprint. The innovation and expansion of these new forms of energy will be crucial for our country, but more importantly the health of our planet.
The planet has shown that it is capable of rejuvenating itself, but all the regrowth will mean nothing if we continue down this path of increasing carbon emissions and deforestation.