As it stands, climate change represents one of the most significant threats to the health of our global ecosystem and the way we live. Although, efforts are being made both by businesses and individuals to try to significantly decrease our collective carbon emissions, unfortunately positive results aren’t being delivered as we hoped. Putting things into perspective, due to increased carbon dioxide emissions and other human activities, the planet’s average surface temperature has risen an average of 1.18 degrees Celsius since the late 19th century (NASA, 2020) and as a result the ocean has absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 100 meters of ocean showing warming of more than 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.33 degrees Celsius) since 1969 (NASA, 2020).
The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere, as of May 2020 was 416 parts per million which is the highest it has been in human history. Moreover, it is estimated that 11% of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans are due to deforestation in comparison to the emissions from all of the passenger vehicles on the planet… therefore something has to change.
At the forefront of this fight against climate change and carbon emission increases are the City of Trees. City of Trees are a non-profit making company and are an inspirational and exciting movement, hoping to re-invigorate Greater Manchester’s landscape by restoring underused, unloved woodland and planting a tree for every person that lives in the City Region, within a generation (City of Trees, 2021). City of Trees works across Greater Manchester as well nationally, planting trees, establishing community orchards, working with schools, preserving woodlands and connecting people to nature. City of Trees are delivering on their promises, hoping to significantly contribute towards Greater Manchester becoming carbon neutral by 2038, thus avoiding detrimental destruction of wildlife and the entire ecosystem that supports life on earth. The UK’s Committee on Climate Change, an advisory government body have advised that the UK should aim to increase the volume of carbon stored in our forests and land and that tree planting in UK ‘must double to tackle climate change’.
City of trees have therefore delivered on a number of practical initiatives both across the region and nationally. With the hope of having 3 million trees planted, one for every person across Greater Manchester as well and bringing back around 2,000 hectares of unmanaged woodland back in full working order for the community to enjoy, City of Trees rely heavily on the support of volunteer, donators, fundraising events and corporate partners to help the cause and make a change.
The larger City of Trees projects involve working with landowners and volunteers; planting trees, creating new woodlands and bringing those wooded areas that have been neglected back to their restored glory. A fantastic successful project undertaken back in 2016 to 2017 was the Snipe Clough and Fitton Hill areas of Oldham programme, with over 600 volunteers involved, the project helped create a vibrant community woodland area consisting of 4,109 trees being planted and three orchards accumulating to 60 fruit trees. All this was created alongside a programme of activity including health walks encouraging physical exercise, and woodland management training. In addition, residents in the surrounding area also played a key part in not just the tree planting, but residents were also given training on how to care for the trees, growing fruit for future generations.
City of Trees also work with local community groups, creating eleven community orchards across the City of Salford. There was a fantastic total of 157 fruit trees planted across the city, including apple, pear, plum and cherry trees. Working alongside local residents, schoolchildren and members of the community including Monmouth Park in Salford benefitted from other improvements such as new benches and community seating that were part of the orchid.
Not only do City of Trees work with the wider community and local residents, but the charity works in a number of schools, planting trees, creating outdoor classrooms as well as engaging children to strengthen their relationship with trees, woods and wildlife. For instance the Rochdale programme resulted in 438 trees being planted in six of the schools and the creation of outdoor areas. City of Trees also held sessions at Touchstones museum in Rochdale around tree ID and folklore. The sessions helped to boost the children’s creativity.
Ecoscape UK are proud to be a member of the 100 trees club- Manchester City of Trees’ corporate membership scheme. As part of the 100 Trees club, Ecoscape UK are wholeheartedly committed to the cause through helping connect communities whether that be through tree planting, partaking in woodland management projects, staff fundraising days or organising a ‘Green Away Day’ helping to support existing projects on the ground. Ecoscape has pledged to donate 5p from every sales transaction in 2022 with the funds being used to plant more trees. Through hard work and dedicated support to the 100 Trees club, Ecoscape UK will help to improve environmental resilience through planting more trees in the Greater Manchester region, especially in urban areas consequently helping to lock up carbon, trap air pollution whilst helping to provide citizens with access to greenspace as well as an environmental education.