President Joe Biden used Earth Day to visit Seattle and sign an executive order that would protect the nation’s largest and oldest trees.
What they’re saying: “We’ve reached the point where the crisis on the environment has become so obvious,” said Biden in his Earth Day address. “We really have an opportunity to do things we couldn’t have done two, five or 10 years ago.”
“America’s forests are a key climate solution, absorbing carbon dioxide equivalent to more than 10% of U.S. annual greenhouse gas emissions,” reads a factsheet from the White House.
Details: The order directs federal land managers to define and inventory mature and older growth in the country within a year, according to The Associated Press.
- The Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Parks Service will also identify the threats to these trees, such as wildfire and climate change.
- Combating global deforestation and deploying nature-based solutions is also a part of the directive.
- According to The Washington Post, this order also addresses the major problem in tree planting — insufficient seeds and seedlings — and directs agencies to increase cone and seedling collection, as well as increase nursery capacity.
- Initiatives that aim at restoring the forests, with a required reforestation goal to be set in place by 2030, help address the bigger picture.
Yes, but: This order does not ban the logging of mature and old-growth trees. Some organizations like Food and Water Watch have indicated that Biden’s actions on protecting forests are not enough.
- “President Biden seems to think we’re celebrating the first Earth Day in 1970, rather than in depths of the climate crisis in 2022,” Thomas Meyer, the national organizing manager of Food and Water Watch, said in a statement, per ABC News.
- “Protecting forests without addressing the root cause of the climate crisis, namely the continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels, will do very little to slow global warming.”