When we joined the amazing 1% For The Planet movement earlier this year, we were excited to be given a choice of recommended charities with whom to partner. The global climate is not just a topic for the mainstream press, it is a very real and serious conversation taking place in our industry and our offices. That’s why Trees For Cities was a resounding choice when we put the options to our team here at Modern Standard.
Since then of course, the discussion hasn’t gone away, which means the continued work of charities like this is working! You may even have seen a recent article from The Guardian newspaper that went viral, which reported on new research which suggested that a “worldwide planting programme could remove two-thirds of all the emissions that have been pumped into the atmosphere by human activities”, a figure the scientists describe as “mind-blowing”.
This coincides perfectly with a mid-year update on the latest news and activities from Trees For Cities.
What is Trees For Cities?
Trees For Cities are the only UK charity working at a national and international scale to improve lives by planting trees, as you may have already guessed, in cities. This is vital work to support the welfare of our planet and our own lives closer to home, especially when studies suggest that in UK cities like Birmingham, air pollution is shortening children’s lives by up 7 months and costing around £190 million to £470 million per year in annual health costs.
The charity aims to cultivate long-lasting change, by working to educate and inspire people to be more aware of the power of plant-life in cleaning our air, and so much more. They work with local communities to revitalise forgotten spaces, create healthier environments, and even forage for healthy food!
More than 80,000 volunteers and work-groups have planted over one million trees since 1993. In the process they have created thousands of green spaces in urban areas, including ‘Edible Playgrounds’, which offer children a multi-sensory opportunity to learn about growing and eating healthy foods. This multi-faceted approach represents and nurtures the important relationship that we have with our health and our planet.
They have also planted over 200,000 trees in 16 cities internationally, from Peru to Nepal. The effects of a warming climate, pollution and wildly interchangeable weather patterns can be the most damaging in these areas. As well as introducing greener environments to these cities, the charity also works to help give local populations greater skills to secure sustainable livelihoods. In 2018, they planted 11,500 in Africa alone.
What have they been up to lately?
In April they released this handy guide on making your garden friendly for bees – check out the guide. Bees were once the scorn of picnickers and sun-bathers but thankfully, a deeper understanding has exposed us to the crucial impact they have on our planet. In the US alone, more than $15 billion worth of crops are pollinated by honeybees each year.
Sadly, there are currently 35 different species of bees under risk of extinction in the UK, the delicacy with which their fate remains in our hands is certainly mirrored. So, why not follow the steps in their guide to make your garden a haven for bees? It needn’t be difficult and can start with simple changes like adding wildflowers to a window box or even leaving fallen fruit on the ground!
Speaking of guides, Trees For Cities have also released a handy and beautiful guide to growing your own healthy food – check it out here. With rising food costs and our bodies crying out for some veg, what better way to guarantee success than to grow your own!
The advice they share in the guide is friendly and fact-filled for everyone, from absolute beginners to seasoned-growers. You’ll receive all of the info and basic skills you need to sprout and nurture your crops, and eventually harvest them. One great inclusion is a guide to different weeds to help you keep you garden in good health.
This year the charity also hit a monumental milestone in its history by planting its one-millionth tree! Located in the grounds of St. Thomas’ hospital at the east end of Westminster Bridge, the millionth tree, a disease-resistant elm, was planted with the help of Sir Michael Palin – a tree lover and supporter of the charity since 1998.
They’ve also expanded their Edible Playgrounds program to over 100 schools across the UK. Cities such as Liverpool, Birmingham and Bradford now have greener and cleaner areas in some of their schools.
Lastly, London’s second most polluted school came one step closer to becoming an urban air haven thanks to Trees For Cities. St Paul’s CE Primary School is located in central Hammersmith, directly under the Hammersmith Flyover. Its pupils are exposed to high levels of noise pollution and fumes from the 100,000 vehicles that use the flyover every day. In 2017, the Mayor of London commissioned an air quality audit of fifty primary schools across the capital, and St Paul’s CE Primary School was named the second most polluted.
On the 14 June, after a campaign spearheaded by the school, and a project with Trees for Cities, the school is home to an urban woodland, providing a greener, healthier shelter for pupils to learn and play in.
Check out the Trees For Cities website today to find out more about the wonderful and important work being done to secure a cleaner future for our children. You can also sign up to volunteer or make a donation.