As if on cue to take the threat to the next level, the megafires came. Remember? These were no ordinary fires- global warming had leveled them up. They were monsters of destruction. As I write this right now in August 2020, California has over 750 active forest fires and five of them are in the top 6 all-time biggest. There’s a giant inferno five miles from my house. My neighbors are fleeing. My car is packed with keepsakes and heirlooms. We are ready to make it out the door in 60 seconds. The droughts, fires, and heat have shattered last year’s records, which shattered 2018’s records, which shattered 2017’s, which shattered 2016’s. This year broke all those records in a single week. Before fire season even got started.
There will be more than a million fire refugees this year.
Next year will be worse.
In the last three years Australia, California, the critical rainforests in the Amazon and Indonesia, even the frozen Arctic have all seen monstrous ongoing infernos. They mark the shift. Remember back before these fires, in 2016? There was doubt as to whether climate change still was yet to come. With the arrival of these colossal fires we now know:
Climate change is here now.
Record temperatures rise continually. In its 2019 infernos, Australia lost a billion animals! That’s too large a number for the human mind to even conceive . Species are now going extinct by the hundreds per day. Per day. This is a global 5-alarm fire.
When the megafires arrived I was still drilling for solutions. I had focused on the global hotspots of biodiversity and the big species who were in the most trouble – tigers, great apes, rhinos. I’d identified where their habitats overlapped with the hotspot forests. Yet the critical piece was still missing. Restoring their habitat is the only way to keep them from going extinct but planting by hand was not working. It was too slow, too labor intensive, and it has consistently failed to restore forests for 70 years now – in other words, since they started trying. Now at this last minute, with so many key species standing on the very brink of extinction, the question boiled down to this: how could we hope to restore habitats if it required planting billions of trees quickly?
I asked everyone I knew this question. Then someone mentioned, Why not drop tree seeds out of a plane? A spark happened! Planes wouldn’t work; too expensive, too unwieldy, too imprecise. But that spark lit the way and I followed. I discovered that in industrial agriculture software engineers had just successfully created machines that could plant seeds by the billions.
There was the answer. Drones. The technology had just arrived.
Drones are a game-changer. They’re cheap. They’re reliable. They’re precise. They’re automated. They can be radically scaled up. They can plant in places humans can’t. Most important of all, a single team can plant millions of seeds in a single week.
This vital new hope came together in the nick of time. Rainforests are in deadly trouble. Droneseeding was going to be viable within a year or two and we could take it to the rainforests.
So to find the first restoration site in the oldest rainforest in the world, I packed my bags and left for Sumatra.
Now in 2020, droneseeding is viable but there are still only a handful of droneseeding companies in the world. I encourage you to reach out to them as well. I don’t care about being first, or best, or biggest. I care about planting trees.
All we need to make this a reality is each other. The only way we can reforest the world is together. Our pilot project, the tiger habitat, is ready and waiting for us. Our partners are ready. The site is waiting. We need 12 drones.
With your help we can build this movement into an unstoppable community of givers, guardians, and champions for our planet.
With this movement we can reforest the world.