Green MLA: Call it the Great Ulster Forest or whatever you prefer but let’s take the opportunity to plant more trees
According to a Chinese proverb, the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago.
The second best time is now.
Planting more native trees is never a bad idea.
Call it the Great Ulster Forest, relate it to the Decade of Centenaries, whatever. But let’s take any opportunity to plant more trees.
We know that we have just over a decade to avoid catastrophic climate breakdown and tackle the ecological crisis. It’s also apparent that we are not doing enough on a local level to meet climate commitments.
Native trees provide a home for our birds and wildlife. They absorb carbon and improve air quality. They reduce storm water run-off which may prevent flooding.
Yet, Northern Ireland has the least amount of woodland in the European Union with just 8% cover. The EU recommends 16% cover.
There is some good work happening on the part of voluntary and community groups such as the Belfast Metropolitan Residents Group and the National Trust with tree planning initiatives.
It’s time for the NI Executive to show their commitment to climate action and stop relying on community level projects. Call it what you want, have it celebrate what you want, but let’s tackle climate crisis and help our native birds and wildlife by planting more trees.
Rachel Woods, Green MLA, Holywood