Climate Champions plant our first 10,000 trees! Plus World Environment Day! And climate champion–Shaelyn Wabegijig!
Climate Champions Plant Our First 10,000 Trees! World Environment Day! Climate Champion–Shaelyn Wabegijig!
CLIMATE CHAMPIONS’ FIRST 10,000 TREES PLANTED!
Hey, Everybody. Here’s the update we promised on the first Climate Champions, 10,000 tree reforestation campaign. The trees are going into the ground as part of the Fire Recovery in the Feather River Watershed project. The project aims to restore 4,343 acres of land that was burned during the 2021 Dixie Fire. This restoration of this Sierra mixed conifer forest will focus on planting trees native to the area in pre fire conditions.
The Sierra Nevada is a region with a strong reliance on wildfire to maintain ecological balance. Wildfires will continue to be a part of this ecosystem. A century of suppression, and removal of indigenous burning has created conditions in which these fires become more severe than ever imagined. Restoring these lands to a state which is resilient to future fires and climate driven affects is possible given reforestation plans that address hazardous fuels, habitat, watershed protection, and a tree density that is sustainable and resilient to these conditions.
An analysis of how forests burn is this: The lowest severity burns in the project are classified as “moderate” with perhaps a 50% or higher tree mortality rate, the majority of the project is burned at high severity, where 90-100% of all trees have died. The project aims to address these issues in a few ways; one is by removing the dead standing trees before they become an ecological hazard. Forests full of snags quickly grow an understory of brush due to increased sunlight; this snag and shrub component has been proven to increase both the intensity and severity of wildfires when occurring in the same area. This leads to a perpetual cycle of high severity wildfire in which healthy mature forests can never become reestablished.
With approximately 1.3 million acres of forests burned in the Feather River Watershed since 2020, we need to put our energy into reforesting areas with a higher likelihood of success. Planting within this project areas will be monitored and maintained by private land managers for a minimum of 75 years. This type of management will ensure that planted trees have the best likelihood of survival, and that plantations can be cultivated to ensure a well stocked forest at densities that are less likely to carry a high intensity crown fire.
Reforestation would prioritize planting shade intolerant species such as Jeffrey pine, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, Douglas fir, and incense cedar, over shade tolerant species such as white fir to re-establish forest structure prior to the exclusion of ecologically beneficial fire. Trees would be planted at approximately 130 trees per acre in differing planting arrangements including rows and clusters. Areas with potential for natural regeneration may be excluded from planting. All planted areas would have dead vegetation, including standing dead trees removed to reduce the fuel risk for future wildfire.
Why does reforesting the Feather River Watershed matter to us? Restoration of biodiversity. Wildlife species to bring back include the California Spotted owl, Northern Goshawk, Bald eagle, and Golden eagle, all require either old growth forests, or mature trees for nesting and/ or foraging. The amount of suitable old growth habitat is currently severely diminished, vital for biodiversity. Several more megafires with no restorative action would leave the region devoid of habitat. Not often thought of but just as importantly, not replanting is already having impacts on water quality and erosion in the North Fork Feather River, including mudslides and rock fall which deposit sediment into one California’s primary sources of drinking water.
Planting activities also bolster local economies by bringing in workforces that occupy hotels, eat at restaurants, and shop in stores. One project location centers around the historic community of Seneca, which was home to California’s oldest bar; the Seneca Gin Mill. The Gin Mill was destroyed in the Dixie fire, but local community efforts have rebuilt the structure in the historic fashion using logs milled on site. “Re-greening” Seneca will help preserve this piece of California history. We’re loading photographs of the project on theclimate.org so check us out, daily.
Thank you to you first 33 climate champions who are helping us restore the Feather River Watershed in the Sierra Nevadas of California! This is proof that a small group of people can make a massive impact in a short amount of time. So join us in this latest climate champions tree reforestation campaign. We’re at 9,000 trees. Just 1,000 to go. Go to www.theclimate.org and at the top of the page, click on Climate Champions and donate $50 or $100. Thank you!
HAPPY WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY, 2023!
Happy World Environment Day, everybody! World Environment Day was established in 1972 by the United Nations at the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment (5–16 June 1972), that had resulted from discussions on the integration of human interactions and the environment. One year later, in 1973 the first WED was held with the theme “Only One Earth”.
World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually on 5 June and encourages awareness and action for the protection of the environment. It is supported by many non-governmental organizations, businesses, government entities, and represents the primary United Nations outreach day supporting the environment.
This is the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day. It’s long been a platform for raising awareness on environmental issues as marine pollution, overpopulation, global warming, sustainable development and wildlife crime. It’s also a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, the program has provided a theme and forum for businesses, non governmental organizations, communities, governments and celebrities to advocate environmental causes.
This year, World Environment Day celebrations will be hosted in the nation of The Ivory Coast (Cote d’Ivoire). The 2023 theme? Solutions to Plastic Pollution. It is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matters. The steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution are the consequence of this action. It is time to accelerate this action and transition to a circular economy.
CLIMATE CHAMPION, SHAELYN WABEGIJIG
Shaelyn Wabegijig (Shaylin Wah Buh Ghee Jig) is an Indigenous climate activist who is Algonquin Anishinaabe (Uh nish ah nahbee), a member of Timiskaming (Tih miss kahming) First Nation and Caribou Clan. Currently, she resides in Victoria, British Columbia at University of Victoria where she is studying for her Master of Arts in Indigenous Governance. She is a current member of the Sacred Water Circle.
The Sacred Water Circle is a volunteer run, not for profit initiative that has brought together Indigenous and non- Indigenous people to work together for the benefit of water. The initiative leads with spirituality but also recognizes the necessity of working with science and policy to promote positive change in how we live with water.
Wabegijig is one of seven young Ontarians, backed by Ecojustice, who sued the Doug Ford government for weakening its 2030 climate target and violating Ontarians’ Charter rights. While the judge presiding on that case dismissed it last month, The court’s decision included “a damning indictment of the Ontario government’s inadequate and dangerous climate target, which puts people in the province on a collision course with the harmful and deadly impacts of climate change.”
She and the other group of seven young people are “undeterred” by the Ontario Superior Court decision to dismiss their climate case against the provincial government. Why does Shaelyn Wabegijig matter to us? She’s always felt a sense of responsibility to all inhabitants of Earth, and she’s had an unwavering determination to change the world since she was a child.