From Chad Hunter, Aspiration’s Head of Sustainability

The Aspiration community plants a lot of trees; over 28 million as of April 2024! Given that we’ve planted so many millions of trees, you might fairly ask the question…why have we done that?

The short answer is that it’s because planting trees is one of the most impactful things we can do to fight climate change…alongside a forest’s worth of other benefits.

As for the long answer…let’s dive in!

💡 Key Takeaways:

  • Deforestation is a large problem, but tree planting offers a solution: Primary forests are being lost at a rate of over 14 football fields per minute, but reforestation and conservation are powerful tools to combat climate change.

  • Trees provide a wide range of benefits: Trees don't just help with climate change – they aid communities, shelter biodiversity, and protect the environment in several ways.

  • Small individual actions can make a big difference: Consumers can contribute to protecting forests and planting trees through conscious consumption and direct support for reforestation efforts.

🙌 How to take action today:

  • Choose sustainable products: Look for certifications like FSC on wood and paper products, and consider reducing beef consumption as much of it is linked to deforestation in the Amazon.

  • Support tree-focused organizations: Join Aspiration and use our Plant Your Change feature to automatically support tree planting through your everyday spending. Or donate to reputable nonprofits like those listed below!

We Need To Plant More Trees

In 2022, the world lost over 14 football fields of primary forest every minute (Global Forest Watch 2023)*.

Stopping deforestation is one of the largest and fastest ways to slow climate change, along with the reforestation of areas that were previously cleared (Calvin et al. 2023).


The 5 Major Benefits of Trees

You likely have a vague recognition that trees are good for the environment, and that without them we’d have no oxygen to breathe. But beyond that (very) important fact, there are a wide range of other benefits trees bring to the table, including:

  • Slowing climate change

  • Boosting local communities

  • Providing homes for animals

  • Protecting the environment

  • Improving human well-being

1). Slowing climate change.

Trees are extraordinary allies in the fight against climate change. Major scientific studies, like the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, highlight forest conservation and reforestation as critical tools to slow the pace of global warming.

Taken together, reducing the conversion of natural ecosystems and restoring ecosystems has the largest potential to reduce emissions by 2030 (Calvin et al. 2023)! So every tree not cut down or planted makes a huge difference!

This is because trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it into their trunk, branches, and roots, keeping it from fueling global warming. Thus, trees can be a critical tool when we think about tackling the emissions of our own personal or organizational carbon footprints, especially from those difficult to reduce areas.

These trees take many years to grow and suck up the CO2, so planting trees today can help you fight emissions over your lifetime.


2). Boosting local communities and economies.

Tree planting projects go beyond their climate benefits and provide sustainable economic opportunities within local communities. These projects often translate to jobs in areas like planting, maintenance, and supporting sustainable forestry practices. This investment helps families and lifts the overall well-being of the community.


3). Providing homes for animals.

Forests are vital for biodiversity. Tree planting and forest restoration bring back essential habitats, allowing plants, animals, insects, and even fungi to thrive.

One of my favorite books is The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate―Discoveries from a Secret World by Peter Wohlleben which describes the incredible symbiotic relationship between trees and fungi.

For example, the fungal network acts as a communication system and trees can send warning signals about pests or drought through the fungi to other connected trees!

Amazing, right?!

4). Protecting the environment.

Trees bring a whole host of environmental benefits. These include;

  • Reducing erosion by stabilizing soil

  • Improving water quality by filtering runoff

  • Creating protective buffers from extreme weather events such as coastal floods

  • Enhancing air quality by removing pollutants from from the air

  • Providing shade for other plants and animals

5). Improving human well-being.

Even beyond the broader benefits to the planet, trees can be incredibly impactful for all of us in a very direct way. Yes, that includes you, reader!

Specifically, trees help us;

  • Beat the heat by providing shade and cooling buildings naturally

  • Reduce noise pollution by acting as natural sound barriers

  • Improve both our physical and mental health, such as boosting our immune systems and reducing stress


What It Takes to Plant Trees at Scale

Hopefully by now, I’ve convinced you we should slow deforestation and accelerate reforestation!

But how do we plant trees at scale?

There are two primary types of tree planting projects:

  • Reforestation means restoring existing forests that have been damaged or degraded

  • Afforestation means planting trees in areas that didn't have forests before

For both types of projects, it’s important that skilled experts and local communities are involved in the process. Tree planting projects need to carefully choose the right varieties for specific locations, considering the climate, soil health, and overall environmental needs. And they need to make sure local needs are being met, and that the people working on these projects are benefiting economically from the projects.

After the right types of young trees go in the ground, the hard work continues. They need to be monitored and protected to ensure they survive and thrive. Thankfully, technology is rapidly improving, with drones and satellite imagery helping to track progress.

Check out our tree planting page to better understand the details behind tree planting projects and the monitoring that happens over their lifetime to ensure they have an impact!

What YOU Can Do To Take Action Today

The best time to have planted a tree was 20 years ago. Luckily, the second best time is now.

Below are a few ways you can get involved and help accelerate reforestation and slow deforestation.

Accelerating reforestation through tree planting

Aspiration makes it simple to plant trees while you go about your normal life. Using our Plant Your Change feature, you can round-up your purchase to fund a tree planting through the projects we support. I have this enabled so I can help fight climate change every day. If this works well for you, give it a try!

Otherwise, see the other impactful organizations below.

You can also donate to or volunteer at these fantastic nonprofits dedicated to tree planting and reforestation:

Slowing deforestation

Deforestation happens largely because of the demand for goods or food that require cutting down trees.

When shopping, look for products carrying certifications like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) seal. This indicates that wood, paper, and other forest products came from responsibly managed forests where replanting and conservation are prioritized. 🛒

When considering what to eat, recognize that cattle ranching is a major driver of deforestation, especially in the Amazon rainforest. Reducing your beef consumption, even just by having a few meatless days a week, may decrease demand for products linked to these practices.


Wrapping Up

Trees are a critical part of solving climate change while also helping local communities and ensuring habitats are available for plants and animals. Stopping deforestation and accelerating reforestation is critical to a healthy Earth. Imagine the difference if everyone took even small steps.

If you’re ready to help us plant more trees, consider applying for the Aspiration Spend and Save account.

And if you’re an existing customer, try out the Plant Your Change program and see if it’s a fit for you! Plant Your Change lets you round up each transaction you make to help fund the planting of trees, which we think is pretty awesome.

(Remember that you can pause at anytime, and set a weekly maximum number of trees funded.)

Feedback welcome! 🙏

As always, I hope you found this insightful and actionable! To better provide you with useful content and insights on living sustainably, please share your feedback here on what you liked, didn’t like, found useful, or want to understand better.

Reach out to anytime!




Calvin, Katherine, Dipak Dasgupta, Gerhard Krinner, Aditi Mukherji, Peter W. Thorne, Christopher Trisos, José Romero, et al. 2023. “IPCC, 2023: Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Core Writing Team, H. Lee and J. Romero (Eds.)]. IPCC, Geneva, Switzerland.” First. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Global Forest Watch. 2023. “Global Deforestation Rates & Statistics by Country.” 2023.


*Based on 4.12 million hectares of primary forest being lost in 2022. This number was converted to football fields assuming each field is 120 yards long, including end zones, and 53.3 yards wide.

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