People crowded at Weasley Memorial Hall this week learn how to support tree-planting efforts in Oxford.

The event was organised by Oxford Friends of the Earth (OxFOE), a branch of the UK-wide organisation working to rise awareness of the climate emergency.

Chris Church, OxFOEs campaigns director, told this paper: “We’re delighted by the attendance. Having more than 55 people [attend a meeting] in the middle of August shows how many people care about this issue. In our opinion the meeting was a great success.”

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The evening opened with a presentation from Guy Shrubsole, the author of Who owns England?, a book which revealed that in England only one per cent of the population owns more than haf of the country’s land.

But Mr Shrubsole does not dig into land ownership for purely academic reasons - as a Friends of the Earth activist he campaigns to double forest coverage in the UK, to tackle the climate emergency.

Currently only 13 per cent of the UK is covered with forest, while the EU average is 35 percent.

The British government spends less than £1 per person on trees per year- only about £60 million in a budget of over £800 billion is related to trees and forests.

Witney Gazette:

A recent study from a Swiss university suggests that planting a trillion trees worldwide is the cheapest and most effective way of dragging the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, as young trees naturally absorb the gas from the atmosphere and use it to build their structure.

Mr Shrubsole said the solutions that seems easy and plausible are often not employed.

He said: “As tonight’s turnout shows, we don’t have any problem with enthusiasm when it comes to planting trees. Seedlings are also not a problem. The main problem is where to plant them, so they would stay there for a long time”.

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He added: “We certainly don’t underestimate the challenges of planting trees in Oxfordshire. Land here is under a lot of pressure for houses and road development and farming. But there is still a lot of underused land that will be our first focus.

“We’re looking forward to work with landowners who are happy to plant more trees and understand the importance of it as a way for the UK to tackle climate change.”

OxFOE will hold Q&A sessions about its plans, including a large tree-planting event in November.

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