United Nations meets pledge goal for Billion Tree campaign

Six months after launching a “Billion Tree” campaign to fight climate change, the United Nations has gotten more than a billion tree-planting pledges from around the world, with around 14 million trees making it into the ground so far. “The challenge now is to tell the world to go dig holes and plant seedlings,” said Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize-winner who helped inspire the program by planting 30 million trees in Africa. “I’ve no doubt we will achieve our goal.” The pledges come from countries and individuals; Ethiopia, for instance, will plant 60 million trees this year, and Canada will plant 50 million over the next decade. The real achievement, says U.N. Environment Program head Achim Steiner, “is a billion statements by people across this planet saying time has run out for debating about whether to do something.” Alas, bubble-bursting critics point out, large-scale tree-planting will only help the climate cause if the location and types of trees are carefully considered.