Many states in the US celebrated Arbor Day on Friday. It’s amazing that there is a public day dedicated to the importance of trees and conservation. There are any number of events where schools and other organisations take it upon themselves to plant trees, and to celebrate what our forests give to the planet.

Planting trees is a great way to help the environment. On our recent SAS Reef to Rainforest expedition, we had students plant trees in the rainforest near Kinabantangan River in Sabah, Malaysia. The Bornean rainforest is 130 million years old, but has been devastated by deforestation over the past 40 years.

Rainforest ecosystems have the highest levels of biodiversity of any terrestrial ecosystem. New species are being discovered even as so much vital habitat is torn away. Of course, the importance of trees and forests as carbon stores cannot be overstated as we try to prevent the planet from heating up to the point where we trigger massive biodiversity losses.

The nice thing about planting trees is that it physically connects you to an environmental solution. It was one of the highlights of the Reef to Rainforest expedition, and when we visit Kinabantangan again this Summer, and I will check how the team’s saplings are progressing.

So, planting trees is great. If you took part in an Arbor Day event and planted some trees, congratulations. Be proud of yourself. Take a moment.

Then ask yourself – what more can I do? What changes can I make to help the environment, because one tree, or one day a year might make a difference, but it’s not enough. It’s time for the tree huggers of the world to unite, and to start making changes to our lifestyles to make them just that little more sustainable. I’ve been cutting down on my plastics for some time now. I’ve even stopped drinking takeaway coffee if I forget my flask. It’s a small sacrifice, but it has an impact.

What can you do?

Get to it. 🙂