Our environment is under increasing pressure. This is the pressing issue of our times, and needs to be addressed urgently to prevent catastrophic events. One step forward is by helping to restore our planet to what it once was. For example, in the UK only 11.8 per cent of land is covered woodland, much less than the European average of 44 per cent (see recent BBC news article on the topic here).
I will be paddling the full length of the Kennet and Avon Canal (90 miles) over 4 days to raise awareness to this problem and your kind donations will be sent directly to the Avon Needs Trees charity (www.avonneedstrees.org.uk).
What is Avon Needs Trees?
Avon Needs Trees is a newly registered charity (Charity Number 1184386) that aims to buy land throughout the Bristol - Avon catchment area and reforest it. We are supported by The Environment Agency, The Woodland Trust, The Bristol-Avon Rivers Trust, the local Wildlife Trust and the local Friends of the Earth groups. Importantly, in contrast to bigger charities they have no staff costs - admin costs will be kept to an absolute minimum.
Almost all of Avon's woodland has disappeared over the last few centuries. This is disastrous for many reasons but perhaps most pressingly because trees are essential for tackling climate change. Trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and protect the valuable soil beneath. By growing thousands of new trees we can take a significant step in the battle against a climate disaster.
Reforesting Avon has multiple other benefits. It will provide natural flood management which is much more cost-effective than engineered flood defences. All of the towns and cities in the area, including Chippenham, Bath, Bradford-on-Avon and Bristol are greatly at risk of flooding, particularly as climate change advances. Careful planting will also help enhance bio-diversity and protect our water quality by reducing nitrogen run off. In addition, land acquired will have open access to the public, providing valuable public space.