Irish Trees Planting forests

Dear Corporations… It’s Time to Act

Corporate Sustainability | 0 comments

Dear Corporations… It’s Time to Act

The Elephant in the Room

It is no secret that the environment is facing a crisis at this very moment.

With each passing day, more and more CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere, fossil fuels are extracted from the Earth, forests are cut down, plastic is created, waste is accumulating, and so much more.

In turn, weather events are becoming more severe, summers are getting warmer, oceans are rising as the ice melts, rainwater is no longer safe to drink, and microplastics are getting into everything and everyone.

Looking at it head-on, it seems like a daunting task with no end or real solution readily available. However, in our everyday lives, there are actions, both large and small, that people and businesses can take to ensure there is a future to work towards.

One of these ways is by investing back into the environment by planting trees. There are a plethora of benefits to planting native trees in Ireland, like sequestering CO2 back into the soil and wood, and therefore cleaning the air, supporting biodiversity in the area, and utilizing a solution with long-term use and benefits.

However, because of the time it takes for a tree to grow, planting trees is not enough to fight climate change, especially if the trees aren’t cared for or planted properly to ensure their survival.

To continue the fight, businesses can consider supporting programs that upkeep and protect new and existing trees, advocating for legislation and legal protections of the environment, reducing waste and consumption, funding mental health support programs, and just talking about it will raise awareness to encourage each individual to take action.

What’s the deal with planting trees?

As a child and growing up, one of the biggest courses of action to combat climate change taught to me and my fellow students was to plant trees.

When done correctly, and at the time we had the time to wait for the effect of trees, this solution is accurate and will lead to helping the environment. Not only are you putting time into giving back to the environment, but trees also play a very important role in the structure of a healthy ecosystem, clean air, trapping CO2, expanding living space, fueling biodiversity, and protecting the land from floods, drought,

Biodiversity –  Biodiversity can be looked at in 3 different lights; species richness, genetic diversity, and ecosystem diversity.1 When looking at planting trees, the presence of native trees in a habitat has an impact on the number of species in a given habitat, otherwise known as species richness, due to providing a home and a food source to these species.

Since trees are part of the food web in an ecosystem, removing them is removing an integral part,  leading to the decline in not only individuals in a population but whole species.

Genetic diversity is the overall diversity in the DNA between individuals of a species2. This is important for mutations and protections to be created against outside factors such as disease and climate change.

If the genetic diversity of an area is low, they are more susceptible to becoming extinct.2 Since Ireland is an island, it could already have harmful effects if a disease were to wipe through the environment because there isn’t a lot of opportunity to create high genetic diversity due to proximity and confined space, so protecting the genetic diversity that exists already is very important.

Ecosystem diversity talks about the diversity in the types of habitats on the planet, ranging from tropical forests to hydrothermal vents.1

Ireland’s ecosystem is very different from the ecosystems present in Africa for example, but they are just as important to maintain. Ireland’s habitats, being farther from the equator, are lower in biodiversity than tropical forests, meaning that it is even more crucial to be proactive in maintaining the biodiversity in the ecosystems.1

Taking all 3 aspects of biodiversity into consideration, it is evident that it is important due to the overall ecosystem health and protection it provides.

By planting native Irish trees, especially in conjunction with already existing ancient Irish woodlands, these Irish trees can add to and maintain the existing biodiversity.

While planting native Irish trees is important, the trees that are planted need to be carefully picked and purposefully planted. Planting a non-native tree to Ireland isn’t going to have the desired effect, and could even have adverse side effects like disrupting and ruining the existing ecosystem.

These sorts of species are called invasive species, in which the presence of them in an area can be harmful rather than helpful.4 Sure, these invasive trees do sequester carbon, but at the cost of taking over the area and causing the other players in an ecosystem to suffer.

An invasive tree in Ireland, and can be found in Irish woodlands here, is the Cherry Laurel. The Cherry Laurel is an evergreen oriental tree, and when planted it can grow to a very large size and doesn’t allow for anything to grow in the ground below its branches.

While the tree itself may be helping with carbon sequestration and was originally planted for oriental purposes, it isn’t allowing for the native life to thrive, causing it to be a damaging invasive species. Therefore, the new trees planted to fight climate change shouldn’t be non-native to Ireland trees.

Carbon sequestration – An additional function and benefit of planting native Irish trees is their ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration is the removal of carbon dioxide from the air and is done so by plants absorbing it, with the amount of carbon sequestered increasing with the size and health of the tree as the wood and size of the roots increase.3

Because a larger tree, therefore, sequesters more carbon, and trees don’t start very large, it is important that we view the planting of trees as not an immediate solution but a long-term one with sustained benefits as time goes on.

This process is important because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, meaning that large amounts of it in the atmosphere create a warming effect on the atmosphere. Think of it like a blanket in the atmosphere – the more CO2 present, the thicker the blanket, trapping the heat from the sun within the Earth’s atmosphere rather than releasing it like it usually would.

By removing CO2 from the atmosphere, the blanket becomes thinner, in turn cooling the atmosphere. Carbon sequestration can only remove so much, and to make the biggest impact there needs to be a very dramatic decrease in CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Trees do help, but it can not be the only solution.

How Can Corporations Help?

Multiple courses of action are key – planting native Irish trees is important for the environmental benefits they provide, but it isn’t enough for the amount of action and immediate change we need now.

Without simultaneous action, there will be no future for the trees to grow. It is widely known that corporations, especially those within the fossil fuel industry, have the largest hand in the game of environmental destruction. The act of extracting fossil fuels alone is harmful, confounded with the burn and usage of them in various avenues like energy and vehicle use makes the effects detrimental.

As important as it is for individuals to recycle, reduce their consumption, and use the most environmentally friendly method of transport available to them, it is just as important for corporations to make changes and get involved as well.

Every business should show leadership by looking for ways to invest in biodiversity, sustainability, reducing energy usage and waste, and consumption, especially the planting of trees and supporting the local ecosystems, but here are 4 ways to get involved further:

  1. Incorporate Sustainability into Your Business Model

Sustainability should be prioritized and brought to the forefront of an agenda at every board meeting.

With as crucial of an issue as this is, being sustainable should be a top priority. By taking steps to be a sustainable company, you are implementing changes that will have almost immediate effects on the environment.

For example, if one of the sustainability goals is to reduce waste, that can be implemented much quicker than a tree can have the impact of pulling CO2 from the atmosphere.

Additionally, by incorporating sustainability, your company can track how sustainable it is and hold itself accountable to be better.

It will allow for conversations to occur around sustainability, allowing for new solutions to be put in place. Businesses also have a hand in the political climate and can advocate for change in politics while backing up their advocacy with tangible action. This article has ideas on incorporating sustainability into your business model.

  • Support Mental Health Resources and Access to Mental Health Resources

The discourse around the climate crisis can be followed by a multitude of different feelings, most of them being impending doom, anxiety, and hopelessness.

Additionally, people experiencing traumatic natural disasters, community impacts, and experiencing the gradual increase of higher temperatures over a long period can compound these feelings immensely.

Over time, this can have a detrimental impact on mental health, especially when circumstances are spiraling for the worse with no solution implementation in sight.

Additionally, because the situation of the climate crisis is typically a subject people don’t want to talk about, it can cause isolation and these feelings to escalate further down a harmful path. Talking about mental health and acknowledging that it is just as important as physical health, is important.

However, not many people have access to consistent and reliable mental health resources. By funding programs that are helping people’s mental health through this, you are helping fund other long-term and short-term coping mechanisms to the crisis.

Even if the climate crisis was solved tomorrow, people’s mental health would still be heavily impacted, taking time to reverse those effects.

By engaging your teams and company in this discourse, you’re taking a course of action that will support them, and help them feel that there is true hope.

  • Talk about it! As often as you can, with anyone and everyone!

A lot of issues in society are typically swept under the rug to maintain the status quo; to shy away from facing discomfort and change.

This is true for climate change as well. People choose not to acknowledge its existence and would rather pretend it isn’t happening and go about their day-to-day lives. By talking about it, you are bringing the issue to light and acknowledging its existence.

It is much harder to ignore an issue that has been acknowledged as real and persistent, allowing people to try and find solutions and implement action to combat the issue.

Additionally, by talking about it it allows for people to think about it, possibly creating conversations around what should be done to combat it. It can positively impact people’s mental health, inspiring people to act and feel more hopeful about change.

Finally, as a business that is talking about and acknowledging the very real and persistent issue of climate change, you are letting your clients and workers know where you stand. According to Forbes, over half of the customers making purchases take the business’s values into account. By being transparent about your values, not only will your clients see and appreciate that but your workers as well.

  • Get connected with and incorporate nature into your day-to-day life

Contact theory in sociology, also known as the contact hypothesis in psychology, describes that when a person has more contact with individuals who are different than them (for example of a different race, ethnicity, gender, mindset, etc.), their prejudice and ignorance towards that group is challenged and shifts their mindset.

By being surrounded by people who only think and act like you, it is easy for fear and hatred to manifest toward people who are different. This fear and hatred can also be manifested as a lack of care for others, only wanting to protect those and what you know. This can be applied to nature and the care for nature as well.

Most of current society is very removed from nature, with green spaces in cities being few and far between, and therefore becoming virtually inaccessible. The less that someone is immersed in nature, the less likely they are to see its importance or care for it. Get connected and incorporate nature in your day-to-day life – own a plant or two, visit your local park, and plan trips to nature to plant native trees for your corporation.

By making the conscious effort to show care for life and nature, you’ll feel more compelled to join efforts that fight for its livelihood. Additionally, it helps reinforce and remember that we are not and cannot exist without nature. Without the presence of trees and ecosystems outside of humans, there would be no Earth as we know it. Care for it, cherish it, love it. There is no planet B.

The Ball is in Your Court, Corporations

The climate changes seasonally as the Earth spins around the Sun, but the climate change that we are experiencing is not caused by the position of the planet. This climate change is anthropogenic – human-induced. To fight this, humans must change their ways. Sure, individual people can make changes in their everyday lives, but that alone isn’t enough.

This isn’t an issue that can be “left to nature” to fix. If we were to leave this to nature to “take its course” it would lead to the end of humans and the Earth as we know it. The planet will continue on, but the 8 billion humans cannot be sustained with current consumption levels. Humans use up our yearly allocation of natural resources way before the year is done.

This is not sustainable. Too many corporations and businesses think that if they don’t damage nature directly, then it isn’t their problem to fix it. This is not the case – it is, it is everyone’s problem. Mobilizing corporate resources will deliver a better future, not only for their business and stakeholders but for the planet.

Corporations have a lot of power and influence over large groups of people, and they must take just as much of a stand as individual people do. Be the difference. Join the fight, because time is running out.

Researched, written, and published by Lyric Rosa-O’Hayer

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Sociology Student at the University of Oregon, USA.


1 – “Biodiversity Decline Online Textbook.” The Habitable Planet: A Systems Approach to  Environmental Science, 9 Aug. 2019, test-learnermedia.pantheonsite.io/series/the-habitable-planet-a-systems-approach-to-environmental-science/biodiversity-decline/online-textbook/.

2 – Minter, Melissa, et al. “What Is Genetic Diversity and Why Does It Matter?” Frontiers for Young Minds, 2021, kids.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/frym.2021.656168#ref2.

3 – National Battlefield, Antietam, et al. “Carbon Storage by Urban Forests (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, www.nps.gov/articles/000/uerla-trees-carbon-storage.htm#:~:text=Trees%20reduce%20the%20amount%20of,it%20in%20its%20accumulated%20tissue.

4 – Rutledge, Kim. “Invasive Species.” National Geographic, 2022, education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/invasive-species/.

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Researched, written, and published by Lyric Rosa-O’Hayer

Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Sociology Student at the University of Oregon, USA.

Irish Trees Planting Naul Dublin

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