Let's plant Trees in the Desert!
Planting trees in the desert?
Exactly! Since summer 2012, Amici has been planting trees in the desert to compensate for the CO2 released during the life cycle of our products. To do this, we have chosen a biodynamic company in Egypt which has been specialising for over thirty years in reintroducing vegetation into the desert with trees, crops and farms.
Who plants trees in the desert for amici?
Sekem, the biodynamic company launched by Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish in 1977, in 70 hectares of pure desert, which has now become one of the most important biodynamic organisations on the planet. The story of Sekem is almost unbelievable because, at that time, no one would have thought it possible to "restore the lost fertility to the desert”.
Why the desert?
The desert is almost bare of plants and this makes it the ideal space for planting vegetation capable of absorbing CO2. If we were to plant trees in areas where there is already vegetation, the result would undoubtedly be excellent, but it would also be much easier and much less effective, because it would mean leaving the deserts to continue their journey.
What is the journey of the desert?
The Niger desert alone devours over 100,000 hectares of land covered by vegetation - consisting of woods, crops and steppe - every year: this is the journey of the deserts, growing! This is partly due to mistakes by man, and partly to the overheating of the planet. In addition to poverty, a shortage of food, the migration of populations and wars, it creates a colossal inability to absorb CO2. An extremely harmful vicious circle. As proven by the recent measurement of the CO2 in Alaska: 400 ppm!
A vicious circle between desert and CO2?
This is what most people don't seem to understand: we issue increasing quantities of CO2 of fossil origin, but an enormous part of this CO2 is reabsorbed by plants. Just think that wood is composed on average of 50% carbon, the same carbon which, when combusted, becomes CO2 by binding to oxygen. The vicious circle consists in the loss of huge forests capable of absorbing up to four tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year! This loss of forests is due in part to the overheating of the planet, caused partly by CO2: and this is the vicious circle. If the desert grows, the planet's capacity to trap CO2 falls: it's simple!
So is there a vicious synergy between desert and CO2?
Of course: we cannot imagine our society without CO2. We can reduce it and many of us are making an effort to do it, but there is no way that we can think of not producing it: too much energy for our comfortable life comes from carbon. And if the deserts continue to grow, there will be more and more CO2 in the air. This is why this desertification process is the real problem, and it is a problem that can be solved: you simply have to want it.
Planting trees in the desert.
But how much CO2 does someone like me release?
Personally I was horrified when I discovered that one litre of petrol, which weighs 770 grams, is transformed via combustion in more than 2.3 kilograms of CO2! That means that if you consume 1,000 litres of petrol a year, you produce more CO2 than can be trapped by half a hectare of growing woodland.
Why developing woods rather than mature woods?
Most of the CO2 trapped by trees becomes wood: if a plant has stopped growing and doesn't increase its woody mass, it absorbs much less CO2. Lots of people think that Amazonia is the lung of the planet, but in actual fact the Amazon rainforest is quite fully grown, so it traps much less CO2 per hectare than a growing wood would trap.
But once mature, does this wood stop absorbing CO2?
It doesn't actually stop, but it reduces its absorption capacity and another wood should be planted to offset this loss of absorption.
And what will amici do with the woods once they are mature?
Well, it will be a long time before that happens, but we think we're going to cut down the trees and compost all the wood that cannot be used. The composting process permanently binds the carbon trapped by the plants to the humus in the ground, making it more fertile and more organically "alive", in other words suitable for cultivation.
Can i participate actively in this ecointelligent programme?
By consuming Amici products, you are already taking part in the "trees in the desert" programme, because Amici plants as many trees as are necessary to offset all the CO2 produced during the life cycle of its products.