Let's Plant 1 Trillion Trees
To win the future we need to embrace bold ideas and innovative, long-term climate solutions. As we chart solutions to address climate concerns, we must remember that we owe it to future generations to be responsible stewards of our environment—as well as our economy. The Trillion Trees Act, which I’m proud to again reintroduce this Congress, is a solution designed to do just that.
Studies show that planting a trillion trees would sequester 205 gigatons of carbon, roughly two-thirds of all the man-made carbon emissions that have been created since the Industrial Revolution. Despite the marvels of modern technology, planting trees remains the largest, most cost-effective, and environmentally friendly method we have for sequestering carbon. Trees naturally remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their roots, bark, and branches, all the while filtering pollution and emitting pure oxygen. The Trillion Trees Act, led by my friend and colleague Rep. Bruce Westerman, the House Natural Resources Committee’s Lead Republican, will solidify the United States as a global leader of the World Economic Forum’s One Trillion Trees Initiative to conserve, restore, and grow a trillion trees worldwide.
The Trillion Trees Act is based on a three-pronged approach of tree regeneration, management, and utilization. This approach will help us plant more trees, protect our forests, and produce more wood products, from the simple Number 2 pencil to the building blocks of housing— creating American jobs as we cut pollutants. Among other provisions, the Trillion Trees Act provides funding to promote urban and rural reforestation, prioritizes work where forests can store more carbon, and accelerates projects that restore National Forests at high risk of wildfires. Unlike the Democrats’ progressive Green New Deal, the bipartisan Trillion Trees Act doesn’t punish American industry or workers. Instead, it offers a new, transferable tax credit that incentivizes sustainable residential and commercial buildings— encouraging us all to be part of the solution.
Our own Fort Worth streets and neighborhoods have already committed to delivering results for the next generation. Things have been really blooming across Fort Worth, and it’s not just because life in our community is returning to normal once again. The nonprofit Texas Blossoms has been beautifying our city with blossoming trees since 2014. Its story has deeper roots in our city, tracing back to a wish from the late local industrialist Charles Tandy, who wanted to honor his wife by planting thousands of cherry blossoms by the Trinity River. Years later, Jerry Barton, who I’m lucky to call a dear friend, heard the story. He decided the idea should not be lost, and as a commercial real estate broker long involved in the revitalization of Fort Worth’s eastside, knew the idea would probably turn out to be a good one. Jerry founded “Eastside Blossoms,” now called Texas Blossoms, so Tandy’s vision could endure—with some Texas tweaks: nearly 1,500 trees—not cherry blossoms, but varieties better adapted to the Texas heat—planted by Texas Blossoms now bloom across Fort Worth.
Just as the Trillion Trees Act encourages all Americans to responsibly use and manage our rich natural resources, the spirit of community service drives Texas Blossoms. Volunteers plant most of the trees, while local private industry assists with resources and funding. To date, the trees planted by Texas Blossoms have absorbed almost 14 tons of carbon dioxide and intercepted over 211,000 gallons of polluted rain runoff, showing the power of trees to protect our environment for future generations.
Climate change is an unfortunate reality. However, one crucial solution we should focus on to address climate change and ensure a low-carbon future is perhaps the simplest: trees.
Here in Fort Worth, the work continues every day to reduce our carbon footprint through tree planting. In Washington, the Trillion Trees Act should be the first priority on the conservation agenda. This bipartisan bill gives every community in America the chance to be a part of the solution. Our country must unite in its mission to make our air cleaner and our country greener. I know that Fort Worth will.