Catholics have been urged to plant trees in their local communities in an effort to tackle climate change.
The call comes from Catholic eco-theologian Dr Edward Echlin, who has welcomed a pledge from water companies to plant 11 million new trees by 2030 as part of efforts to make the industry carbon-neutral.
The firms will be planting trees on around 15,000 acres (6,000 hectares) of land across England, as well as supporting work to restore original woodland and improving habitats that store carbon. Sites will include land owned by utility companies as well as in towns and cities.
The Woodland Trust will work with the water companies to identify sites and manage the planting programme.
Dr Echlin described the scheme as a “wonderful initiative” and has urged the faithful to follow suit. “Tree planting is a great resource for carbon neutrality and climate stability,” he told The Catholic Universe. “Climate change is currently a great threat to the UK’s sustainable future. Trees also provide biodiversity and habitats.
“I encourage this wonderful initiative and think we should all pledge to plant trees in our own local area,” Dr Echlin, who is also an Honorary Fellow at Leeds Trinity University, added.
Government-appointed tree champion Sir William Worsley also welcomed the pledge. “Trees are carbon sinks, provide crucial habitats for precious wildlife, mitigate flood risk and provide a valuable renewable resource in timber.”
Picture: Undated handout photo issued by Yorkshire Water of tree planting above Gorpley reservoir in Calderdale. Water companies in England have pledged to plant 11 million new trees by 2030 as part of efforts to make the industry carbon-neutral. (Simon Dewhurst/Yorkshire Water/PA).