Planting more trees is key to the future of our planet


We are currently facing the harsh and disturbing reality of a more than one degree rise in global temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that global temperatures must not exceed 1.5 degrees.

It really annoys me to see facts and statements like this and it should annoy everyone. I am annoyed because it has been allowed to come to this point, this man’s hunger for the dollar bill has brought us to such a desperate situation.

However, the other reason why these statements irritate me is that they are negative, yes they are reality, but reading them can make us feel too insignificant and helpless to effect change, which is certainly not the case. It is us, as humans, who have created this situation and it is we, as humans, who can change it.

If we break the problem down to its simplest form, there is too much carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere. At the same time, there are not enough of them in our soils.

As always, nature provides us with everything we need. I can’t help but think that if some of the giant tech companies developed a new product that would capture carbon from our atmosphere and trap it for centuries in the ground, we’d all be rushing to buy one.

Irish Examiner gardening columnist Peter Dowdall. Photo: John Allen

Well, we don’t have to wait, such contraptions already exist and they are called trees. Maybe they’re not taken seriously by the powers that be because they don’t come in a nice shrink-wrapper, but can spawn free from bird droppings.

The solution to our climate crisis is trees, pure and simple. This will be the strong message from a panel of inspirational speakers at the upcoming 26th Annual Garden and Landscape Designer Association (GLDA) Design Seminar to be held online this month.

The world is facing a climate catastrophe, but highly respected Irish and international experts will deliver a timely and optimistic message in the upcoming live-streamed seminar entitled ‘Planning Trees, Planting Trees, Planetary Trees’ that will appeal to all who are interested in horticulture and landscaping. , gardens or the environment.

Speakers include rising British designer, Charlotte Harris, who along with Hugo Bugg won gold for their Chelsea Garden 2021 which depicted a pocket park with robust and resilient planting and aimed to highlight the importance of spaces beautiful, restorative greens in the places we need it most — our cities and towns.

Renowned tree expert Thomas Pakenham will tell the seminar that rather than feeling helpless in the face of the climate crisis, we can be proactive and plant more trees.

Thomas founded the Irish Tree Society in 1990 to promote the conservation, planting and care of trees. He has traveled the world documenting extraordinary trees and is the caretaker of Tullynally Estate, Castlepollard, Co Westmeath

The list of inspirational Irish and international experts also includes Dutch landscape architect Thijs Dolders, a committed user of trees in his designs, and Henrik Sjöman, a Swedish botanist and plant hunter who tests species in hopes of finding the ” plants of tomorrow”. .

Also speaking at the Saturday February 26 event, UCD Associate Professor of Geography Gerald Mills is particularly interested in the climates generated by urban areas and the potential for planning and design to create comfortable outdoor environments. and healthy. They will share their knowledge and show how, using creative design, we can add more trees to our landscape, streetscape and gardens. It is possible to double the tree cover in cities, but this is not achieved due to a sometimes negative perception of trees in urban areas.

Speakers will highlight how opportunities for urban forests in our parks, gardens, streets, plazas, waterfront corridors and rooftops can provide major benefits for community health, pollution reduction and flooding amelioration, while being havens for wildlife and biodiversity. Recent research in the UK has revealed that a single oak tree can support an astonishing 2,300 species.

The panel of experts will ask difficult but necessary questions and suggest positive actions. The seminar will hear that rather than feeling helpless and wondering what we can do as individuals, there is something truly beneficial we can do for the planet. Plant more trees.

That’s the thing with GLDA seminars, you always leave brimming with positivity, ready to change the world. So if you’ve had enough of the negative headlines and feel helpless, get the laptop ready and reserve your chair.

Tickets to watch the GLDA seminar live online on 26 February, with access to videos of the keynote speeches available on demand after the event, are on sale now at


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