Environmentalists Call for Carbon Capture and Storage – With Forests

CC BY 2.0. Amazonian rainforest/ Lloyd Alter

Greta Thunberg, Margaret Atwood, Michael Mann, Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, Bill McKibben, George Monbiot and more make the case.

We go on about wood here on TreeHugger, but often fail to see the forest for the trees. In fact, those forests could save us, by sucking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere faster than we are making it. Instead, we are chopping them down and, in many parts of the world, failing to replant them. Every thing we say about the wonders of wood construction are meaningless if we don't replace every tree we turn into CLT and NLT and DLT and every other form of wood we invent.

Writing in the Guardian, a long list of environmental luminaries, from Greta Thunberg to Brian Eno, have written an important letter calling for protecting and restoring ecosystems.

By defending, restoring and re-establishing forests, peatlands, mangroves, salt marshes, natural seabeds and other crucial ecosystems, large amounts of carbon can be removed from the air and stored. At the same time, the protection and restoration of these ecosystems can help minimise a sixth great extinction, while enhancing local people’s resilience against climate disaster. Defending the living world and defending the climate are, in many cases, one and the same. This potential has so far been largely overlooked.

The writers note that this can't be a substitute for decarbonization of industrial economies, but note that "natural climate solutions could help us hold the heating of the planet below."

Drax carbon capture and storage

Drax carbon capture and storage/ Wikipedia/CC BY 2.0

The funny thing about this is that so many people talk about CCS (carbon capture and storage) as a solution to climate change. But these were all kinds of expensive high tech solutions that Mike noted years ago were nothing more than delaying tactics; they wouldn't work, were too expensive and were nothing more than a way of saying "Don't bother us, we're working on it!"

Trees on Haida Gwaii

Trees on Haida Gwaii/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

But in fact, the most effective and inexpensive CCS device is right there in front of us – a tree.

Global forest loss

Global forest Loss/CC BY 1.0

Grace Jeffers reminds us that we are losing the forests far more quickly than we are planting them, and that we all play a role in this.

As our forests continue to be decimated, it is time for us designers to protect them by broadening our understanding of wood, the value of forests, and their intrinsic role in the survival of all species on Earth.