Not Enough Room on Earth For a Trillion Trees?! The World Ocean Observatory, Climate Champion, Adam Dieme!

by | Jan 6, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Not Enough Room on Earth For a Trillion Trees?! The World Ocean Observatory, Climate Champion, Adam Dieme!



I recently read an article that said, “We need to plant a trillion trees. Problem is there isn’t enough space on earth for them.” Bollocks! That’s ridiculous! To me, that headline, that article smacks of a Big Oil misinformation campaign. Look, I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I can tell you, I’ve done the math. Planting and growing an additional trillion trees will require –according to conventional forestry principles–an area about the size of the continental United States. When you look at it from that aspect, it is possible to say, “We don’t have a spare continent on which to plant a trillion trees.” 

That’s true. But that’s not how forests grow anyway—in continent-wide swaths. Trees grow in stands, in small forests. For example—using conventional forestry principles—20 acres of land will support 10K trees. There are thousands of 20-acre plots around the globe, spread across the six continents and Oceania. We only need 100M 20-acre plots to accomplish this goal. Holy crap, you may be thinking. That’s a lotta land! 

But stay with me on this. Planet Earth has about 126 billion acres of land on it. Of those 126 billion acres, 12.1B acres is arable land. Arable land is land capable of producing crops; suitable for farming; suited to the plow and for tillage. Land that can be or is cultivated.  Even though forests can grow on non-arable land—for example in mountainous terrain—I am sticking with arable land to make my point.  12.1 billion acres of arable land is just over 9.5% of all the land on the planet. 100 million 20-acre plots = only 2 billion acres, or just 16% of arable land. So bottom line? Is there enough room? Yes. Yes there is. Can we do it? Yes. Yes we can.



Here’s a cool organization. It’s called the WORLD OCEAN OBSERVATORY. It describes itself as “a major utility for ocean communication as a means to advance public awareness and political will.”  The W2O (as it calls itself) is dedicated to providing information and education about the health of the ocean. Its mission is to be the leading organization advocating for the health and sustainability of the ocean through an accessible worldwide network of communication. Through education, partnership, information exchange, public connection, and relentless communications, W2O is committed to building an expansive global community of Citizens of the Ocean to promote and conserve marine resources for the future of all mankind.

CITIZENS OF THE OCEAN is a socially-driven movement, a growing network of informed individuals motivated by a love of the ocean and an understanding that global connection is a powerful way to defend and sustain the ocean. Members of the group are joined together against the bankrupt values of the past, and united as a force for the future. The W2O’s COTP even has a pledge. It begins with, “I pledge to work for the sustainable ocean by… and continues with 12 action items. It ends with, “building the Citizens of the Ocean network by sharing this pledge with my family, neighbors, and friends worldwide.” Click on the link in the Deeper Dive section of this story at to read and take the pledge. Why does the World Ocean Observatory matter to us? It matters if you believe that informed citizens worldwide can unite to sustain the ocean through mitigation and change of human behavior on land and sea. And even if you don’t….

DEEPER DIVE: W2O, The Pledge



Across Africa desertification is one of the reasons blamed for deforestation but, in this area, along the sweeping expanse of the Casamance River, the trees are more likely to have been cut down for construction purposes like building houses, or to make charcoal. 48-year-old Adama Diémé, who grew up in Casamance in Senegal, went to work in Europe. He returned in 2020 to his hometown. There he was shocked that villages that used to be populated with hundreds of gigantic trees in his youth, now only a handful, if any, remained.  

In an interview with the BBC, he said, “In some villages, you can’t find one tree. They cut them but they don’t think about planting again.” Mr Diémé, who now works as a project manager for a Spanish non-governmental organization in Casamance and also volunteers as an agricultural trainer, is determined to change all that. He concocted a visionary project with an ambitious task of planting five million trees over the next five years. Cockamamie? Crazy? Not really. As long as he has help. And he does.

He’s been working hard to engage with communities across the region and to reach out to women, who he knew would be able to rise to the challenge of organizing the mass planting of seedlings. According to him, villages absent women are literally barren. But those with women are thriving, because of the hard work ethic of the women. What Diémé has done is to couple his passion to plant trees by helping women gain skills to become small-scale farmers and sell their produce at local markets. 

Mr Diémé’s project is known as Ununukolaal, which in the local language Jola means “Our Trees”. Up to 12 kinds are being planted, from palms and tamarinds to kapoks and lemon trees – the varieties depend on the needs of the community and the terrain. Over the last three years more than 142,000 seedlings have been tended and have taken root.

DEEPER DIVE: BBC, Upworthy, Project Ununukolaal