When you listen to people talk about climate change and the damage that we have done to the environment it can be depressing. The evidence is all around us too. When you go to a beach and see the litter floating in the water, when you go through the countryside and see huge communications towers, and when you go to the mountains see that some have been cut away for mining. The world has been devastated by the impact of humans and although it is difficult to fix what we have done, it is not impossible. One man has started to do what he can to turn things in the right direction.
Angel worked in mining for many years. He made a lot of money in his work and in truth contributed to the demise of the environment in his role. He has now set out to reengineer landscapes that were once used for coal mining to turn them back into plush forests. He has been trying to do this since 2002.
In 2002 his efforts were simple. He tried to convince mining companies to pack rubble and plant grass, hoping that this would lead to tree growth in the area that was once used for mining. However, to his dismay, nothing grew. What he did next is what separates Angel from the ordinary person that wants to do good.
Most people give up the first time something doesn’t work. They assume it is a sign that it wasn’t meant to be or an indication that it was simply too difficult. Angel persisted with his aim. He hired Chris Barton and set up The Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative. The pair worked with regulators, the government, scientists, and engineers and created a consensus that trees should be planted on top of mining sites.
Angel and many others that he now works with know that there is far more money than in planting trees. Yet it is not for money that he pursues this goal. To date, Angel and his team have planted 187 million trees which is remarkable for one company.
Today it is estimated that are three trillion trees in the world. That means that Angel has contributed an additional 0.0001 to the number of trees in the world. While this is not a significant number in worldwide terms it is an amazing turnaround compared to the mining that was in those areas.
The importance of forests is now slowly being understood and people are fighting deforestation. Still, in some parts of the world, forested land is being sold for commercial gain. Brazil holds some of the densest areas of forestry in the world and it is making too many commercial agreements and giving away land that is of incredible importance to our ecosystem. If this continues then the efforts of one man or one company will not be enough to combat the damage of an entire nation.
We must work together to make sure our governments understand where our priorities lie and that they continue to fight for the causes we believe not the ones that line the pockets of big business. It is clear from Angel’s story that many people are now changing their views on what they can do to save the environment. Hopefully, this sends a signal to the larger powers of what can be done.
The entire world is in a sensitive position at the moment. The natural balance is close to a tipping point and unless we are careful we will ruin it beyond repair. We must do what we can to ensure there is a good world left for our future generations.