Updated: 16 hours ago
Climate change is arguably the greatest threat facing humanity today. According to the BBC, based on over 1 million people in over 50 countries, almost two thirds of respondents view it as a global emergency. In the last 100 years the global average surface temperature has increased by more than 0.9 °C resulting in the melting of sea ice, rising sea-levels, and an increase in the frequency of severe weather events.
As world leaders bicker amongst themselves trying to come up with some sort of ‘quick fix’, it can feel like the actions of individuals are ‘negligible’ or ‘meaningless’ in the global fight against climate change.
Here at Treekly, we want to change that. We want to give control back to those who’s futures will undoubtedly be affected by the warming climate and provide them with a platform to make a positive change for future generations.
How? We turn your footsteps into forests.
Yes, it really is that simple! We have teamed up with the incredible Eden Reforestation Projects who have successfully planted over 480 million trees in 8 countries. With researchers claiming reforestation has the greatest climate mitigation potential than any other natural climate solution, the power of trees cannot be overlooked. Reducing our current carbon dioxide emissions is not enough, we must actively seek to remove it from the atmosphere if we are keep warming within 1.5 °C.
Treekly’s forest is in Moraharivo, Madagascar where, in line with good reforestation practices, we plant native mangrove trees. These ‘ultimate giving trees’ are much more than bark and leaves. With only 10% of Madagascar’s original forests remaining today, these trees are crucial to the preservation of Madagascar’s unique wildlife and its ecosystems.
Mangroves have tangled roots which act as protection from harsh weather conditions. They rise above the ground giving them the nickname the “walking tree”.
Mangrove forests are found clustered across coastlines, lagoons and inlets. Essentially, they act as a ‘barrier’ between the coast and the shore. This unique feature of mangroves is vital to the upkeep of the surrounding ecosystems. Mangroves are the only tree in the world that thrive in saltwater. Their thick, tangled roots become submerged at high tides creating a sanctuary for marine life. In fact, around 75% of tropical fish are born in the safety of the mangrove roots. They act as protection against hurricanes and other harsh weather conditions. Not only that, but these trees also reduce flooding and coastal erosion more effectively than any man-made system.
Human activity has caused a sharp decline in Mangrove forests in Madagascar. It is estimated that Madagascar lost 21% of its mangroves between 1990 and 2010. This has led to red soil being washed out to sea, reducing the quality of the water. As a result, astronauts have noted that Madagascar looks like it is 'bleeding to death' as these 'rivers of blood' run through the island before reaching the sea.
Madagascar's 'rivers of blood' run through the island as a result of red soil being washed out to sea giving it the appearance of 'bleeding to death'. Source: NASA/R. Arnold
Mangrove roots are incredibly efficient at filtering nutrients and toxins out of water before it reaches the sea. Without these trees acting as natural ‘sieves’, the water quality at coastal areas and nearby coral reefs has declined significantly, reducing the health of coral reefs and the ecosystems dependent on them.
Mangroves’ unusual love of salty conditions has another benefit. When filtering out toxins, mangroves remove up to 90% of salt from seawater and excrete it through salt glands on the surface of their leaves. When dry, salt crystals form on the leaves which is why they have a salty taste if you lick them (I am not suggesting you do this!). This unique ability to desalinate seawater could help improve the quality of water for local communities, crops and livestock. In fact, mangroves are so effective at this, some desalination technologies have been engineered based on them.
As well as having a huge benefit to their local surroundings, mangroves, like other types of trees, absorb and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Mangroves are particularly important natural carbon sinks as they can store 2.5-6 times more carbon than terrestrial forests. Our partner, Eden, has done the maths. In the 25 years of its life, a single mangrove tree can remove 308kg of CO2 from the atmosphere. That works out to be around 12.3kg of CO2 removed by each mangrove tree per year. This is the equivalent amount of CO2 released from driving around 50 miles by car.
In the case of terrestrial trees, CO2 is released into the atmosphere when they die or from dead plant matter (rotting leaves). On the other hand, mangroves using their intertwined root system, trap carbon in waterlogged soil. This “blue carbon” can stay trapped there for thousands of years without being released into the atmosphere.
The benefits of reforestation don’t stop there. Unsurprisingly, most deforestation has been directly linked to extreme poverty and the destruction of communities. Our partner, Eden, employs local people to plant millions of trees every year. Through fair wage employment, local villages and communities can begin to thrive once again.
Our partner, Eden, employs locals to help with the reforestation projects, giving life back to impoverished communities. Source: Eden Reforestation Projects
So, if you’re looking for a way to offset your carbon footprint whilst also contributing to the health of the environment, your own health and wellbeing, and helping impoverished communities in Madagascar, this is where Treekly comes in.
Look out for the Treekly app, launching in March, which automatically tracks your steps. Hit the Treekly target of 5000 steps, 5 days a week, and each week we will plant one tree on your behalf.
Want to remove even more CO2 from the atmosphere? We offer one-off tree packs or monthly subscriptions allowing you to plant more and further offset your carbon footprint.
Available for both individuals and businesses, everyone can become a climate warrior and reduce their carbon footprint. So, start walking more and turn your footsteps into forests to save the planet!