FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dr Jim Weale
Phone: +44 (0)20 8947 9685; Mobile: +44 (0)7768 002980; Email: email@example.com
Dr Weale and the team will be on-site at Glastonbury from 21 June.
BusyTrees at Glastonbury: a simple weapon to combat climate change
The BusyTrees campaign, which is fighting to combat climate change, reduce poverty and boost biodiversity, is demanding that world policymakers push agroforestry higher up the global political agenda.
The campaign launches this week at the UK’s Glastonbury music festival as part of
the United Nations’ International Year of Forests. It is urging people to sign a petition to be presented to policymakers at the next climate change summit (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa, in late November and early December this year.
“Agroforestry is a sustainable, climate-friendly technique that is all about growing more trees on farms. Policymakers need to take it more seriously,” said Paul Stapleton, Head of Communications at the World Agroforestry Centre, which is leading the campaign. “Local people benefit and it takes the pressure off the forests.”
“Many solutions to coping with climate change are complex and expensive, but agroforestry is simple, long-established and affordable. We could start making a difference right now if politicians and policymakers give agroforestry more support.”
Agroforestry combats climate change by reducing carbon dioxide in the air. It also fights poverty by providing poor farming communities with more produce to sell and to eat, and boosts biodiversity by providing more habitats for plants and animals.
The BusyTrees gang is spreading the word at this year’s Glastonbury festival. Drop by our tent in The Green Field (Q/05) and have a chat with our agroforestry experts, sign the petition and get involved with our fun, green activities.
To find out more about the BusyTrees campaign, visit www.busytrees.com.
High-resolution images for royalty-free use by news organisations are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/scriptoria/sets/72157626879592365/with/5852040303/.
Between now and 2030, the number of people on the Earth is expected to grow by more than 100 million a year. Almost all of that growth will be in developing countries, where pressure on land and water is already intense. The challenge the world faces is how to feed its people while protecting the natural resource base on which we all depend. Agroforestry is a simple and affordable solution that will help meet that challenge, both today and in the future.
Getting more trees on farms is not just an issue relevant to farmers in the developing world. It has a direct impact on everyone living in the developed world as well. Many key products, such as coffee, chocolate, nuts and a huge variety of fruits seen on our supermarket shelves are sourced from agroforestry farms. Many western consumers have the ability to make a huge difference just through the food they buy.
The BusyTrees campaign needs support from the developed world to ensure that agroforestry is made a political priority by global policy makers. Our petition will be presented to world leaders at November’s United Nations COP17 climate summit in Durban, South Africa. All we’re asking for is signatures to show international solidarity and enable this simple solution to take flight.
How agroforestry fights poverty
Growing trees allows poor farmers to diversify and rely less on field crops like maize. Trees also shield their crops from direct sunlight and provide free, organic fertiliser in the form of decomposing leaves (which can triple crop yields). It also stabilises their soil and replenishes it with nutrients, so the land remains productive well into the future.
Growing trees on farms also gives farmers new products to sell (such as fruit), grazing for livestock (such as goats), timber for building materials and wood for fuel. All of this provides extra income, which the poor can then spend on food and school fees for their children, helping to break the cycle of poverty and allowing them to become self-sufficient.
How agroforestry fights climate change
Agroforestry can help by reducing the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere – in fact, it’s estimated that investments in agroforestry over the next 50 years could remove 50 billion tonnes of additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Trees also makes it easier to keep animals and grow crops because the shade and water evaporation from their leaves help reduce daytime temperatures beneath them by 3°C.
How agroforestry fights forest and habitat loss
As the populations of developing countries grow, demand for farmland also grows and forests are cut down to make way for crops and provide timber and fuel. So not only do we lose the forests, we lose the plants and animals (or biodiversity) that live in them, and a whole host of other environmental benefits as well.
Agroforestry helps to turn this around by meeting the need for timber and fuel wood, sustaining the ecosystem and providing homes for wildlife. It also encourages the return of endangered species and attracts birds, bees and bats which help pollinate plants and spread seeds.