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Climate change ecologist Thomas Crowther from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich has co-authored a study that shows the most effective way to combat climate change would be to plant one trillion trees across approximately 3.5 trillion acres. In an area that is roughly the size of the US, the study posits that the trees will have a faster and more direct impact on reducing the carbon emissions in the air by sucking up 830 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

While trees aren’t free, they’re a much more inexpensive solution than the other ideas being attempted like switching from an animal centered diet to veganism. According to Google, the cost of planting a tree can range from 10 cents to around $20 depending on the type of tree and age. As the younger trees are preferable, the price would be lower and the trans-planting easier. Younger trees suck up more oxygen than older trees so the new trees would prove an added benefit over existing forests. Other benefits include an expansion of biodiversity where forestation has caused extinctions and the cost.

It’s important to note that no solution is going to work unless there is a decrease in carbon emissions; that point has to be a non-negotiable in dealing with the escalations of climate change.

“None of this works without emissions cuts,” Crowther said.  His research discovered places in the US, China, Russia, Brazil, Canada, and Australia where up to 1.5 trillion trees could be planted without impeding people or farms growing food.

Planting trees has been the focus of a number of groups around the world working to plant trees in areas ranging from established forests to urban lots where blight has taken over. The increase in green spaces is crucial to the fight against climate change. While they’re definitely not the only ones working on planting more trees, the group One Tree Planted offers a simple swap –you give them one dollar and they plant one tree. The only thing we need to find is a trillion people dollars willing to help.

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