The Green Games and Trillion Trees Initiative develops innovative concepts and projects for sustainable IT and game developments. The future community platform and social networks will connect game developers, publishers and gamers together for global sustainability, climate and environmental goals. This will motivate and support especially species, climate and environmental protection actions as well as organizations. The actions, initiatives and projects also promote more environmentally friendly behaviour.
The founder of Change Games and Greening Deserts launched the first developments for the Trillion Trees Game in 2020 in Leipzig. The game is not just a simple tree planting game, AAA game or larger indie game development. It will be an online game and a platform with many games. People will be able to play mini-games and indie games directly in the game, and they can start other games outside directly through the game. If the games are played in the Trillion Trees Game or special actions and events are started in external connected games, real trees will be planted in the real world. It depends on how much and how long you play, extra tree points can be collected. Later, special tasks, actions, events, achievements and challenges will support special reforestation or forestation projects and conservation actions. Other tree planting, renewable energy projects, recycling actions and important environmental projects, organizations or even movements can then also be supported with appropriate support from the Green Games and Trillion Trees Game Community. Sponsors, grants, and innovative funding models from around the world can accelerate and improve the projects. So the platform and network can bring together not only the game industry and industry, but also some other important industries as well as climate, nature and environmental organizations. The media, culture, IT and global technology industries can benefit as well, especially industries like cleantech, greentech and green IT. Many additional jobs could be created.
Games change games. Game developers, publishers and gamers can be real game changers in relation to environment, innovation and ecological gaming.
The game will be realized with highest performance and quality standards such as modular game design, API connectivity, cross applications, green coding, energy efficient cloud streaming for many popular devices in the future. Accessibility, usability and different uses on the platform are considered and optimized over time like other services – such as energy efficient streaming or scaling for diverse devices like smartphones and tablets. More innovative details can be found in the game design papers and concept of Trillion Trees Game development. Experienced game developers are invited to integrate suitable developments. Meant are not only whole games, but also elements or parts like art, graphics, audio or music and sounds.
Game developers, publishers, game consumers or gamers and all branches have to do with game industry should overthink their real impacts on climate and environment. It is not just about energy efficiency, preventing or saving CO2 like many organizations or even institutions want to suggest. It’s about all the factors in relation, starting with first game developments and using resources and services. The impacts of video games on environment and climate change rise up by cloud gaming, game and video streaming plus all the media produced for platforms like Twitch or Youtube. Some games, esport gamers, streamers and let’s players wasting much resources and energy without really knowing their impact. Think about all the productions, supply chains, resources, main and side events, advertising, marketing, promotion, media streaming, etc… what the most people see is just the tip of the iceberg. That’s why Change Games started in 2017 the Green Games community which is now a global movement.
It would be good if more media, Global Game Jams and other game events would take more care of the important issues and points, for example on the topic of energy efficiency, recycling and the environment. The founder visited many events like Gamescom and Games Week in Berlin, also to educate and inform the industry – especially in the field of eSports and online gaming. Unfortunately, when it came to the point of environment and responsibility, there was often a lot of disinterest, misunderstanding or ignorance – who likes to admit mistakes. Mostly only the old typical arguments and problems came, which they try to cope with. It’s sad that nothing or so little has changed for the better over the years, things have even gotten worse, for example in terms of energy consumption. The game industry doesn’t have much time left to change course. Green Games consultants and game experts can help! Just ask, let’s support each other and use our work, services and projects directly or indirectly, like recommendations for other good services and solutions we have found over the years.
The game branch made a lot of extra money during the crisis, the energy and video game consumption was higher than ever before. Now it is time that the game branch or industry takes responsibility and starts finanlly to challenge the most serious problems like the energy consumption, reducing overproduction, improving the supply chains and work conditions by more sustainable production and working. The maybe most important issues in 2021 are carbon footprint of industries like fossil, media, tech, IT and game industry.
Game developers, gamers and publishers should understand the impacts of console, computer and video games on environment, climate change and global warming! Just a few examples for the energy consumption and inequalities. Online gaming in California consumes more energy than the entire population of Ghana or Ethiopia in Africa. Bitcoin mining more than Bangladesh or Nigeria. It’s not just about energy waste, ewaste or carbon footprint. 2021 e-waste is surging at 57.4 million tons with just 17.4% was recycled as per 2019 figures. E-waste impacts climate, environment, health and global warming. E-waste recycling emits emerging synthetic antioxidants. Recycling ewaste requires energy, resources, tech and IT again!
The video game industry is partwise responsible for generating mountains of toxic e-waste and plastics that leach hazardous chemicals into the ground and waters. 91% of worldwide plastics wasn’t recycled, billions of tons of plastic have been made and much of it has becoming trash, litter and microplastics. More than 99% of plastics are produced from chemicals derived from oil, natural gas and coal – which are dirty and non-renewable resources. Only 9% of all plastic waste has been recycled. A main problem is the use of too much plastics and plastic packaging. It is similar with other electronic equipment, gamer gear, high-end gaming PCs, notebooks and countless smartphones. So much models and overproduction of hardware over the half of humanity never can use or will be e-waste after short use. Too less people use their stuff over many years, repair or reuse it by upcycling. More game-related businesses should see these facts, chances and opportunities – not just the recycling.
To be more aware and to care more about we reported about these topics with the Green Games community. We want to integrate special cleantech and recycling programs on the Trillion Trees Game platform in future, for example renewable energy generation by solar and wind power. For example, you can then support local communities in your own region or other regions – such as reducing overconsumption or overproduction and improving renewable energy, recycling, repair and upcycling. This is particularly beneficial to poor countries such as in Africa, Asia or South America. Read more about climate change and environmental impacts of e-waste and video games on our social pages. We want build a special team for all major networks and platforms in the future. When we finally get proper support after many years, we can set this up in 2022, that is when active and financial support for the projects will be offered or proposed. Because to date, sustainability and environmental protection are not really promoted in the games industry.
The video game industry is bigger than the sports and movie industry combined! If there are no real regulations to reduce the bad impacts on climate, humanity will fail to stop the climate crisis. Green Games and Green IT could change that! Read more about on the social networks like Twitter. We will build a special team in future just for all the networks and platforms.
We invite all people with courage to join and support our ongoing project developments. Individual game developers and game studios are welcome to participate in a joint venture, for example with an extra team. In future spaces at the Urban Greening Camp there will be a lot of space, a lot of interesting work and of course a lot of fun. At the moment you can do a lot online and of course in your home office. With the right financial support, it would be no problem to quickly build appropriate teams, create the necessary equipment and infrastructure, and outsource tasks or services, such as those that are too complicated to do on-site or better done externally. The founder has years of experience as a clan and guild founder as well as project developer and event manager. He has assembled and led teams with over a hundred members! This was of course a lot of work and took good time, with financial support this is of course even better and faster. Change Games Entertainment and the Trillion Trees Game development will be continued as private initiative. International joint ventures with game developers and publishers will be developed, first teams can be started if there is enough interest and support.
Some information about actual developments and backgrounds
Change Games Entertainment launched the Greening Deserts and Trillion Trees Initiative with many innovative projects to improve conservation, environmental education, climate and environmental protection, species rescue, and species protection by building, expanding, and supporting biotope networks, wildlife reserves, national parks, and other nature-based habitats. Flower strips, wild meadows, parks, and groves in urban areas can be created through more urban greening and community gardening. It’s not just about planting trees in forests. Urban trees and urban forests are just as important a part of the greening process. Species diversity (biodiversity), species rescue and biodiversity play a particularly important role.
People should understand the true value of a single tree, especially in cities. In August the founder published a world innovation for urban greening with energy storage raised beds, the project development is called Energy Storage Tree. The Urban Greening Camp project started also Greening MENA, RooftopGreening.com and the Urban Greening Network for healthier and greener cities, many followed the good example. With the first Urban Greening Camp and vertical farming startup in Leipzig we will not just cultivate trees and save tree species by professional seed storage and plant breeding. We will develop also awesome applications, products, services and technologies – especially cleantech, greentech, energy efficient, resource saving and greening solutions. Better light setups and water managment, sustainable irrigation, development of new innovative fertilization, natural and smooth pesticides are another aspects. Read more on the project pages in future.
The mentioned and connected projects show how broadly Greening Deserts is positioned and which topics also play into the latest developments, especially into the current game development of the Trillion Trees Game platform. GreenGames.club, Play2Plant.org and TreeGame.org will support the future developments. There will be Green Games Forests in Africa and Europe, especially in regions that need more biodiversity and tree species that can contribute to better climate change adaptation. If you want to be a game changer and a part of the movement or just want to show support, contact us and support the Green Games community with useful contributions. Don’t hesitate contact and connect.trilliontreesgame.com.
Some inspirational thinking and writing:
Climate protection, nature conservation and environmental protection is also species protection.
Electronic and energy waste: environmental impacts, toxics and pollution by media, IT and video games industry are serious treats to life on planet Earth. Reduce climate impact with sustainable supply chains, cleantech, greentech and Green IT!
Greening Camps can reduce deforestation, land degradation, desertification and global warming through global greening, conservation as well as biodiversity enhancement, ecosystem restoration and ecological reforestation!
Some of the biggest world problems and challenges are to reduce the big waste of energy, money and resources, especially at mega events like COP26, E3 or Gamescom. The Green Games Community and upcoming green video game industry could change that!
We need more environmental awareness and sustainability, sustainable living and sustainable working, in all fields or areas. We need to create a world of understanding, acceptance, respect, tolerance, compassion and consciousness. – Oliver Gediminas Caplikas
Computer and video games represent one of the most important new media developments of this generation. Unlike many other forms of entertainment they offer players the opportunity to explore, be creative, learn through interaction and express themselves to others. It is vitally important that we protect and nurture this new art form so that it can reach its full potential. Like most new forms of artistic expression that have come before (music, novels, movies), the primary critics of video games are the people that do not play them. – Will Wright
Today, your cell phone has more computer power than all of NASA back in 1969, when it placed two astronauts on the moon. Video games, which consume enormous amounts of computer power to simulate 3-D situations, use more computer power than mainframe computers of the previous decade. The Sony PlayStation of today, which costs $300, has the power of a military supercomputer of 1997, which cost millions of dollars. – Michio Kaku
What if we started to live our real lives like gamers, lead our real businesses and communities like game designers, and think about solving real-world problems like computer and video game theorists? – Jane McGonigal
The founder of the Leipzig palm startup and Urban Greening Camp for greening and vertical farming developed a world innovation to improve urban habitats. This innovation called ‘Energy Storage Tree‘ can reduce costs of tree planting in cities and generally make urban greening more efficient and cost-effective. It involves innovative, mobile, modular, energy- and water-saving raised bed systems. Extensive concepts have been developed for initial energy storage raised bed systems. These mobile and modular raised bed systems for sustainable recreation, energy and water storage will make urban regions, large cities, small towns but also rural areas more livable. In fact, the raised beds can also be placed in village squares, tram or train stations and bus stops. Several innovations are combined in one general raised bed system and charging station. Energy and water storage enables sustainable and environmentally friendly operation. Ecological components, durability and low maintenance allows very efficient and long operation for decades – at least with minor corrections or repairs every few years. More details on the most important points will follow on the social and project pages. A comprehensive description of the basic concept and the standard variant were already published in August 2021.
The raised bed system is an energy storage station, a space or place to relax and recharge the batteries. The raised bed is equipped with small-growing tree species up to 5m. The special construction and processing of weather-resistant woods allow a long standing time, of course, it varies depending on the stand and location. The stability is increased by extra reinforced outer walls and inner walls with squared lumber in the corners, it is just taken usual measures for stabilization as it is common for raised bed construction. Due to the scalability, it can also be planted with many flowers, bushes, herbs and special shrubs or larger trees. The raised bed provides enough space and sufficient watering for the plants to grow well, also by good energy and atmosphere.
The standard dimensions for the standard design of the basic raised bed construction is 1.20×1.20×1.20m. The minimum basic or standard equipment consists of a mobile raised bed with foldable, robust and weather-resistant wooden benches or painted chipboard. If possible, the woods are treated with ecological or environmentally friendly varnishes or oils. The benches have a small angle of inclination towards the raised bed, so that rainwater can flow into the raised bed through latticed openings. All the inner sides of the raised bed are lined with pond liner and there are holes at the bottom as is common with large pots or planters. Below the raised bed there is an extra tray to catch rainwater. Excess water can drain down the side via drains a few inches above the bottom tray to prevent waterlogging in the raised bed, but at the same time water is available at the bottom for larger plants such as trees or shrubs. The lower compartment is accessible, the water can be drained at any time via a closable drain or water can be taken out for watering. The lowest side of the raised bed is extra reinforced with a solid plate, and is attached with rotating rollers with platforms made of metal or steel. Alternatively, a prefabricated rolling board can be attached at the bottom. These constructions provide extra stability and tilting of the raised bed becomes very unlikely, even with the simple standard variant, the raised bed stands firmly and stably. Due to the weight of the tree and the soil, the benches can be well loaded.
The extended standard variant contains three water reservoirs in the outer walls. One side has closable openings and extra compartments, the spaces between them are about 10-25cm wide, depending on the variant. The dimensions as well as designs are generally variable. Wide, high, rectangular or square raised beds can be made. Wide raised beds are suitable for shallow rooted plants and high ones for deep rooted plants. The benches or solar benches are set at about 50-60cm, so all people regardless of size can sit comfortably. Depending on the application, budget and location, smaller or larger raised bed systems are possible. Various casters can be attached or even replaced at the bottom of the solid top, depending on weight and size. Casters with locks and stoppers are available, or no casters for permanent and long-term installations. More details and sketches are in the utility model, concept and design papers.
Modular functions of the mobile raised bed allow a wide variation and a lot of additional applications. Lockable compartments and flaps provide access to spaces on the sides, for example, to perform cleaning, remove drains or add special fertilizer, mineral and water mixtures. The idea of give and take is harmoniously combined with the raised bed system. The spaces for the water storage tanks and lockable compartments for the modules are easily accessible and watertight. The modules such as adapters, energy storage, climate station and measuring devices are interchangeable – the latter are good for analyzing the tree or other plants, for example. The data can be retrieved, various devices and e-bikes can be charged via adapters. An expansion of the raised bed to include a mobile climate station for the city and regional climate would be conceivable, so like a connection to the power grid. The raised bed system will support the transition towards climate-neutral, greener and smarter cities and urban habitats. Sustainability and environmental awareness is additionally trained by the raised bed. The raised beds are also a meeting point for young people, pupils and students to get inspired by nature-based solutions and ideas. The raised bed system encourages raised bed construction at universities, schools and in school gardens.
Background on the sustainable and ecological developments
Ecological and recycled materials are preferred for raised bed construction. Inexpensive variants can even be realized with simple pallets or chipboard. These are previously oiled, painted or impregnated, as well as lined with pond liner so that they last for many years.
It took months and years to develop, studying raised beds and urban trees from around the world. The basic idea was born in 2017 and matured during the last months, the main reason and intention from the beginning was to make city tree planting more affordable, because especially in western countries like Germany a planting of a city tree can cost up to 3000 euros or even more – worldwide the price in big cities is at least around 1000 dollars. This was also one of the reasons to develop a mobile raised bed system which can reduce the price worldwide to far below 1000 dollars, depending on the country and material costs even below 300!
A raised bed for trees can of course also be realized with used barrels, rain barrels or IBC containers. This is especially suitable for communities and cities with little money, similar to poor regions in Africa or places with great poverty and poor soils. For this purpose, trees can even be kept for a few years in large sturdy garbage bags, as is done in some nurseries or tree plantations in developing countries.
The pattern of the simple standard variant of the raised bed system serves as a model for all cities in the world and is at the same time a good example for public use. More efficient and sustainable greening, resources and energy use is possible in the long run with different variants of the energy storage raised bed system. There is also some space under the raised bed, for example for stones. The concept and some design variants have been further developed by the Urban Greening Network project developer and founder of the new Leipzig palm startup since 2020. In August, final designs and excerpts from the general concept were published on various platforms and made available to the international community.
The Greening Deserts project LE Palms ala Leipziger Palmen is after months of preparation now in the startup phase 1. The foundation takes place in May and will go on until the end of July. The founder and initiator has worked very hard for a long time to successfully launch the new company, even though it was often not easy to continue working due to the crisis and many problems. After more than a year, it is finally time to launch the startup properly. There will be some actions and campaigns, such as the establishment of the platform including blog and store. Further actions will be announced every month, special developments and events will be published in time with corresponding articles and press releases. Social networks, photos and videos will underline the enterprise in the future, there will be sufficient info materials. Interested parties are invited to public actions and future events.
Active support and constructive feedback is always welcome. For this purpose, the official communication channels such as eMail and other contact possibilities via the networks and platforms can be used. The Urban Greening Camp and palm project will be a platform for cultural, socio-economic and scientific exchange. Active participants are welcome to join the innovative developments and connected projects. The nursery and inner-city market garden will cultivate not only palm trees but also other important plants such as medicinal, medicinal and medicinal plants. Endangered tree species and important flowering plants for bees are also included in the program. The Greening Deserts species conservation center, associated projects and plant breeding facilities, archive and future seed storage are part of the species conservation camp. The whole site with office is the European Center for Biodiversity and Species Conservation, it will connect further international libraries, archives, networks and organizations online and with a special biodiversity conservation computing network. Deep Learning and the future Internet (IoE) will play a central role. The Species Conservation and Biodiversity Center, the CES-RPP and Greening Camp project was launched and initiated by Oliver Gediminas Caplikas in recent years.
A brief introduction to the developments, services, products and important goals
The startup project mainly deals with garden products, palm and palm products such as date syrup, palm coffee, palm juice and palm sugar. Innovative developments and new markets are the passion of the startup. Every month new innovative products are introduced, interesting services are offered and research results are presented. After all, it’s not just about simple palm products, but about complex materials and substances. For example, palm leaves can be used to make insulating materials, paper products and pressed boards or building blocks. Since there are enough palm trees and surplus worldwide, many other useful products can also be established – see charcoal and coconut substrate from coconut shells. In addition, many of the products serve health and wellness. There will be much awesome product developments like palm coffee and palm juice with date palm syrup and palm sugar. The Palms Coffee project will focus on new coffee creations, so like ice palm coffee.
The Leipzig startup has set itself the goal in some areas to be one of the market leaders, by opening up completely new markets, this should not be a problem. Strong investors, international partners and sponsors are invited to participate in the startup, especially in the early phase. From 2022 onwards, this will only be possible to a limited extent, as there are already many international interested parties. We always welcome new people, because there is enough potential for so many areas. For example, for the beginning we can employ a temp and interns, active project and team leaders will be in the future are invited as well as botanists, gardeners, economic or scientific professions, also because there is enough work, interesting tasks and a lot to learn. Species conservation, education, climate protection, sustainability, ecological, socio-economic work or action and environmental protection are at the top of the agenda.
The international startup cultivates and brings hardy palm trees to European cities like Berlin, Paris and London. In May and June, LE Palms sponsored the first palm species to the Palmengarten in Leipzig, such as the Wagner palm Trachycarpus wagnerianus and Sabal dwarf palmetto, with more species to follow. As part of the species conservation program, other important species are also being introduced to Leipzig’s green spaces, especially endangered native species. Important grasses, herbs and wildflowers can be introduced together with other species protection and nature conservation projects of NABU and BUND, if they are interested in an exchange and cooperation. Raised crops and raised beds can also provide extra useful areas in public places and at paths.
The Urban Greening Camp project and LE Palms will design extra species protection raised beds, which will also serve as a refuge for particularly endangered species. Similar to the information boards at the Leipzig Zoo, the raised beds will provide a lot of useful information, also via digital interfaces like the QR code and virtual functions like via augmented reality apps. We look forward to creative minds and participation from Leipzig’s cultural landscape. We have all suffered long enough through the crisis and as the new President of America said, it is time to let people, nations and nature heal. We should work and grow together with nature, because any fight against nature will be lost sooner or later. We need more environmental awareness and sustainable work or life in so many areas, such as more sustainable work, production and especially more sustainable and ecological consumption. Species conservation and climate protection does not come by itself, it affects us all, in large as well as small ways.
Experienced arborists, biodiversity conservationists, botanists, environmentalists, tree experts, dentrologists, gardeners and similar professions are invited to participate in the project and future actions. We would like to organize a botanical event and meeting for species conservationists, botanists, botanical gardens and related organizations from all over the world in Leipzig, this was supposed to be prepared already in 2019 and realized in 2020, but was prevented by the crisis. More information about future actions will be published on Greening Deserts project pages.
Finally, some more good news and a quote from the founder
The Greening Deserts biodiversity conservation program, Greening Camps and Trillion Trees initiative for biodiversity conservation, species protection and climate change mitigation, ecological education and ecosystem restoration, environmental protection, sustainable greening and reforestation can reduce the effects of climate change, deforestation, droughts, desertification, floods, land degradation, mass extinctions, global warming and pollution worldwide.
Agroforestry, more flowering trees, food forests, mixed forests, pole crops, and diverse orchards with diverse fruits that are available to animals and humans alike can be combined with more sustainable agriculture and ecological forestry! AI, aquaponics, CleanTech, hydroponics, GreenTech, permaculture techniques and vertical farming, advanced scientific developments in these fields can help improve the whole society, economy and science.
Climate protection, nature conservation and environmental protection is also species protection – so it is also human protection. We need more environmental awareness and sustainability, more sustainable production, sustainable actions, living and working, in all areas or fields! We need to create a world of understanding, acceptance, respect, tolerance, compassion and awareness – otherwise there will be no peace in the world. – Oliver Gediminas Caplikas
Greening Deserts Critically Endangered Species Research and Protection Program (CES-RPP) started an extra project for endangered tree species to focus on the most important issue of global biodiversity conservation and establish more biodiversity in habitats and forests worldwide. This will also promote many other ecosystems, and stabilize as well as improve the atmosphere or air, biosphere, global climate and water cycle. The contribution of trees to the improvement of soil, life, air and water quality should be clear to everyone. There is as much life in a handful of soil from a rainforest as in hundreds of soccer fields, but not so much in fields and meadows. It depends also on the history and vegetation. The main focus of the special species protection project for critically endangered tree species is the building of special seed storage facilities (boxes and cabinets) and other innovative solutions in various areas. The exchange and sharing of experiences are particularly important. With the Urban Greening Camp we can store and preserve seeds professionally. In the field of Indoor Gardening and Vertical Farming we can cultivate many species of trees, especially for the European and Mediterranean regions. We can share seeds and plants with botanical gardens and professional nurseries around the world. Numerous international institutions, organizations, universities, biodiversity and plant scientists, and tree and forest specialists have already been informed about many of these aspects and projects in 2020.
This announcement and information of the new Greening Deserts project for critically endangered species can be shared worldwide. The project title is 1001+ Critically Endangered Tree Species Seed Storage and Tree Cultivation Project. The Trillion Trees Initiative will help to share the trees and seeds worldwide in the future, especially in regions where more biodiversity is needed or trees have become extinct or very rare. Some of the other Greening Deserts projects and special programs can also help establish many of the endangered tree species on which many other species depend. These special biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration, environmental greening, ecological reforestation and species protection projects can save millions of life forms worldwide. Healthy ecosystems like forests are habitat for countless organisms and can save many endangered insects, fungi and microbes. That’s why Greening Deserts species conservation projects will focus on biodiversity forests, drylands, grasslands and wetlands. Urban greening and biodiversity in cities will be supported by the upcoming greening, research and species protection camps.
Species conservationists, tree experts, botanists, tree growers, and all friends of nature are invited to join the project, for example by exchanging useful information or sharing constructive feedback and resources. Of course, other experts and scientists who are able to support the project can also join. Together with the CES-RPP, we can set a goal to recultivate and replant forests, typical tree landscapes, and regions with critically endangered tree species and key plant species worldwide. If we focus on cultivating and exchanging seedlings around the world, we can save many tree species from extinction. If all goes well, we can lift the critically endangered status of many trees and truly save them by cultivating plants and sharing seeds. Other important tasks are to show natural alternatives to pesticides, and to promote nature-based solutions and permaculture.
Botanical gardens, nurseries, tree experts, forestry companies and tree-related businesses should pay more attention to these factors. One big cause of the biodiversity loss and mass mortality is deforestation and too many monocultures. This issue is not only about the few established tree species in forestry, it is also about many other important plants and keystone species. With the endangered tree species that we want to cultivate and share worldwide, thousands of other species can be saved and protected. These trees and plants may even bring back other species that were thought to be extinct. Biodiverse forests, meadows and fields are the key to counteracting global species extinction on a large scale. Many of the critically endangered tree species play a particularly important role. On the pages of Greening Deserts and affiliated projects, you can read more about the real problems and good solutions in almost all areas, especially how to act in a truly efficient and sustainable way.
Environmental satellites, GIS systems, and satellite imagery of global vegetation can also help select the right trees for the right areas. Historical archives and plant databases can be used to find suitable tree species for those regions with low biodiversity, like in Europe and North Africa, where few tree species exist and many have been lost or forgotten—especially in relation to the approximately 60,000 tree species, of which about 10,000 are endangered and 1400 are critically endangered. That’s why Greening Deserts has set the goal of saving the most endangered tree species, while working together with interested species protection organizations, tree nurseries, botanical gardens and institutions in this area. It is not only about biodiversity hotspots, new forests and a few more tree species, but about many other plants, animals and ecosystems that used to have a greater biodiversity. Biodiversity in cities and urban regions is more important than many people think. Ecosystem and landscape experts can help to find good places for greening and reforestation, or even for completely new forests, such as in man-made deserts or urban concrete jungles. Urban greening and urban forests will play an increasingly important role over time, especially in relation to the issues of biodiversity, global greening, health and the urban cooling aspect.
Some cities are now already up to four degrees hotter than in the old days, i.e. the 1.5 or 2 degree target has long been exceeded in some regions! Many people around the world have died as a result of the droughts and heat waves of recent years. The passive effects of the climate crisis, such as environmental or natural disasters and pandemics are underestimated, especially when it comes to poverty. Experts estimate that over 100 million people will fall into poverty during the actual crises. All the more reason why we need holistic solutions to the climate crisis and global solidarity with these poor, sick and weak people. Healthy ecosystems and a healthy environment are the basis for the health of all life forms. Adapting to climate change and strengthening cultures is important not only for humans but for animal and plant species. Only together with nature we can overcome the crises. Nature-based solutions play an increasingly important role. One can see the Corona crisis as part of the climate crisis, especially since the virus was originated in a region of damaged or polluted environment in China. Many people think the virus came from a wet market with endangered species in Wuhan, but some scientists think it started to spread by wild animals like bats. The chance of a spread of zoonotic viruses that can be transmitted between animals and humans is higher in damaged ecosystems.
Climate protection and environmental protection is also species protection—and therefore human protection. Species recovery, species conservation, and biodiversity with species protection camps and special protection programs like the Trillion Trees Initiative can reduce global species extinction with appropriate international support. The camps primarily serve to restore near-natural ecosystems. Global greening can accelerate the peace-building process and reduce climate change effects like global warming and air pollution. Environmental awareness, ethical and social principles, sustainable production and work, and human rights and indigenous rights are very important for future development. For years, we have been informing organizations and institutions about Greening Deserts projects. Requests for funding and support of these important developments and projects have been sent several times.
The global extinction of species, lack of biodiversity and species protection or too little species rescue in many areas also increasingly affects human health. The current crisis and drought years have clearly shown everyone how quickly ecosystems can collapse or become unbalanced. The important role of missing tree species, especially in tree-poor regions of Europe and the Mediterranean, is greatly underestimated. Several hundred other species can depend on each individual tree species! Since many thousands of tree species are critically endangered and only rarely present, hundreds of thousands of species that depend on these trees are missing. This is one reason behind the extinction of numerous species. Trees fulfill important functions and are key elements of ecosystems and cycles. Climate and weather systems are also significantly influenced and stabilized by trees and forests, as well as all associated plants.
One unfortunately still hears many limited arguments or opinions in agriculture and forestry. Agroforestry, food forests, flowering trees and more trees with fruits for animals and humans are possible to combine more sustainable agriculture and ecological forestry! AI, aquaponics, cleantech, hydroponics, greentech, permaculture techniques and vertical farming, scientific developments or achievements can also help improve all these areas or sectors. Many of the long discussed conflicts are really unnecessary, especially the land use conflict. Think about all the space in the air, underground, underwater and on waters. A lot of things are possible at the same time if one is creative, willing to compromise and understanding. Often there is simply a lack of awareness and will. If all nations plant a few billion trees during the next years we could reach the goal of a trillion trees extra for planet Earth easily. If the most of the humans plant a few hundred trees in their life the humanity could plant another trillion trees in just one generation – it could be so easy if all humans would act together. In the meanwhile we will push the trillion trees initiatives with good actions, examples and projects. Many people and organizations were informed about the Greening Deserts sustainable developments, innovative ideas and outstanding projects.
Here are some of the main projects: Afforestation.org, Artenschutzcamp, Desert Bamboo Africa, Climate Adaption EU, Ecosystem Restoration Network, Eichenpark, Energy Storage Park, Greening Coasts, Greening Drones, Greenhouse Ship, Green Ring Africa, Great Green Wall North Africa, Hemp Papers, LE Palms, Palm Coffee, Recycling Ship, Reforestation Europe, Rice Straw Paper, Rooftop Greening, Seeding Balloon, School Forests, Species Protection Europe, Transparent Solar, Trillion Trees Africa, Trillion Trees Foundation, Urban Greening Network,.. tbc..
The first Urban Greening Camp and species protection camp will be located in Leipzig, Germany. It will be also an biodiversity center and international biodiversity conservation platform. The state of Saxony is a relatively central region in Europe. Effective logistics, sustainable working and sustainable packaging as well as shipping should not be a problem. The founder and initiator Oliver Gediminas Caplikas is working hard on the concepts and projects, at the moment he prepares a new location and the launch of a new startup. The startup project mainly deals with palms and palm products. More about the new project development in the next article and press release. Many interesting developments, information and projects on the topics have been published in scientific networks and on various platforms during the last years. Read more on Greening Deserts official project pages.
Constructive feedback and real support is always welcome. Feel free to contact and to connect by the social networks or other official channels. Sustainable joint ventures, investments, partnerships and sponsorships are always welcome.
You can download the complete article as PDF, it is the second edit of February. Greening_Deserts_species_protection_projects_for_critically_endangered_species
Since 2018, new records have been set in terms of droughts, hottest months and driest years in centuries. The drought, heat and pests have been affecting the forests more and more since 2019 and unfortunately there is no improvement in sight in 2020 either. In Germany there was the most severe forest damage in over 200 years. Fires and storms have greater effects, because of the large amount of damaged wood and the tree damage, there are more problems with pests and fungal attack. Fine dust and environmental toxins from agriculture give many plants and animals the rest, especially insects such as bees suffer from environmental destruction. Air pollution, insecticides and pesticides are not only a danger for bees, they also endanger many other species, especially in areas of agriculture and livestock farms. Many of the typical trees and forests in forestry are monocultures and conifers such as douglas firs, spruces, pines, larches and firs – unfortunately they do not offer much nectar. Almost 80 percent of the conifers were felled because of damage. At just under 70 percent, the proportion of damaged wood in 2019 was more than three times as high as in 2010. As already described in the article on the Leipzig Oak Park of Diversity project, even strong tree species such as oaks are affected. Whether from pests, powdery mildew or drought stress, the plants suffer very badly from drought. Like many deciduous trees, oaks are deep-rooted, which draw water from the lower soil layers. What they don’t need themselves, they release closer to the surface. This makes oak a good soil regulator, for example through its pronounced symbioses with microorganisms and fungi. Oaks and other robust trees suffer from climate change, as do many people and animals. Damage to trees and forests is not only caused by fire, drought and heat waves, but also by fungus, pests, snow breaks, storms, floods and environmental toxins – as well as air and water pollution.
There are around four billion hectares of forest on earth. There are around 60,000 tree species worldwide and over 10,000 of them are threatened with extinction. According to an assessment by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), more than half of European tree species are endangered. Of the approximately 450 tree species, 265 do not occur on any other continent. More than 150 species are threatened, 66 species are at the highest level of endangerment and therefore close to extinction. In total, more than 28,000 animal and plant species are listed as endangered worldwide. These are data and statistics from recent years and some of the figures are already out of date, especially after the massive droughts and forest fires. It can be assumed that many more species are now threatened and in some regions even extinct.
According to climate research, long-term studies and weather experts, extreme drought is becoming normal in Europe in summer. In spring there is also a lack of water for healthy plant growth in many places around the world. The soils and forests can hold less water because the important reservoirs are not only dried out but damaged, i.e. the storage capacity is reduced and in some cases reduced for years. If middle and deeper soil layers harden, humus layers decay to dust or are destroyed, even a lot of rain does not help at first. It then takes years of moderate rain and much plant growth until these soil layers are loosened and watered again. Trees, hedges and other plants that can form complex, strong and deep roots need a few years to loosen middle and deep soil layers. Many plants lose branches, leaves and fruit during a drought or extreme drought. The proportion of trees with significant crown thinning increased to about 35 percent in 2019. If the trees and plants are generally weakened, they are more susceptible to parasites and other pests such as bark beetles, jewel beetles and processionary moth. In most cases, the damaged wood cannot remain in the forest. Much of this wood is not suitable for wood processing or high-quality products for the construction and furniture industries. Often the only option left is to process it into inferior wood products such as chipboard or wood pellets. A lot of damaged wood has been coming onto the market since 2018 and the price of wood has collapsed dramatically, the forecasts for 2021 and 2022 do not look any better. There is currently so much wood per year that would normally be enough for three years or more. The forest and wood industries are recording massive losses, and even cheap oak is already being sold as firewood. Forest companies and forest owners will have to work for a long time to compensate and repair the damage of recent years.
Future challenges, conflicts, wars and crises because of the worldwide water availability and water supply
The water reserves in the soil are becoming increasingly scarce, the soils are becoming drier overall. It has been relatively dry in Germany since 2015. The past two years exceeded the previous record drought of 1976. At that time it was exceptionally dry for five years and some tree species were replaced or supplemented by drought-resistant species such as hornbeam, service tree and field maple. But the adaptation of forests to the crisis and forest restructuring makes no sense if the groundwater will levels sink, lakes, rivers and water reservoirs partially dry up. Dry periods in winter are also a big problem, because when there is no snow there is much less water due to the melting of snow. The problem has been known for a long time, for example the lack of water supply due to the disappearance of glaciers and large areas of snow or ice. When mountains and oceans absorb more sun, the planet heats up even faster, especially at the North Pole. Fires and very hot times in northern areas of Russia also accelerate the thawing of the permafrost soil. Similar to the largest share of the greenhouse gas methane from agriculture or livestock farming, methane is released by the decomposition of the thawed biomass. As this happens in a very short time, the atmosphere, biosphere and weather systems cannot simply compensate for this, resulting in extreme climate changes and an increase in extreme weather conditions. For some years now, climate researchers have been able to prove the connection between extreme drought and severe flooding. In the meantime, there have been several fires, droughts and floods of the century, not only in Germany and Europe – but unfortunately also in Africa, America, Asia and India.
According to various surveys, around 80 percent are very concerned about the persistent drought. In France, Poland, the Czech Republic and other European countries, the spring was marked by low rainfall this year. French forests are very much endangered by the drought years and the hot summer of 2019. It was one of the deadliest heat waves in all of Europe, killing thousands of humans. The harmful effects of the droughts can be clearly seen on satellite images, many brown and gray fields in Europe and many large cities such as Berlin are affected. It affects especially regions in the north and east, in principle all federal states are affected. The cities in particular need more greenery, as they can heat up much more as the surrounding area. What you see more and more often are dry meadows, trees and bushes. The parks and water areas are therefore just as important as the greening of roofs and facades. The soil moisture, the total groundwater level and the groundwater levels in different regions of Germany are too low, at least in relation to normal amounts of precipitation and water levels. In April 2020, there was far too little rainfall in almost all federal states; the states of Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia were particularly affected. The soil moisture in the topsoil and total soil is simply too little for many plants. Due to the lack of water available to plants, drought stress or water stress quickly occurs. The photosynthesis of the plants and the growth decrease. If the usable soil water continues to fall, plant water stress occurs and the plants begin to dry up.
The drought monitor of the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research showed that the total soil in large parts of Germany was characterized by extreme to extraordinary drought in April and midsummer 2020. Similar to the drought monitor from the Environmental Research Center in Leipzig, there is also a research project in Switzerland called Drought CH or Trockenheit.ch, where information on the current situation is shown. The colleagues also summarize a lot of interesting data from the last few years. Such information is becoming more and more important, especially if conflicts over water resources increase in the future, whether in the energy industry for cooling or in agriculture for agricultural irrigation. It affects many European countries. If the water reserves become increasingly scarce, conflicts of use over water resources can be intensified considerably. The use of water, water resources and water management must become more economical or more sustainable so that there is not another water crisis in the next few years. Using ponds, water towers and underground water reservoirs to collect rainwater makes more and more sense, especially when you consider that around 80 percent of all irrigation throughout Germany is done with groundwater. An increasing demand for water from agriculture contrasts with other usage interests and problems, such as the public supply of drinking water, over 70 percent of which is obtained from groundwater. In addition, forests consume a lot of groundwater in dry times, this can affect rivers and other waters. The drought year 2018 and 2019 severely dried out many soils and water reservoirs, to compensate this it takes many years of rain above the usual annual average. Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony are the federal states with the lowest rainfall. Specific figures can be found on the relevant weather portals and statistics pages.
Forest dieback, desertification and expanding deserts in Europe
Due to the third year of drought in a row, there will also be considerable problems for the plant world in winter and spring 2020, as many soils and plants will not be able to recover so easily under these extreme conditions. The garden, park and forest maintenance is therefore more important than ever this year, every citizen should lend a hand in his spare time, even if it are just a few buckets of water for the tree in front of the door or some irrigation for bushes, hedges or trees at the streets. Unfortunately, awareness of sustainable use and the problem of water waste is still not taken seriously. The production of one kilo of beef requires around 15,000 liters of water, pork almost 6,000 and chicken 4,300 liters. The average water footprint in Germany is 3,900 liters per person per day. This figure includes the amount of water that is used for the production of consumed food and goods in one’s own country, but also the water that is needed, for example, for the manufacture of clothing or electrical appliances abroad. This also applies to ‘more ecological’ electric cars, which unfortunately are still made with a lot of coal, plastic and oil. The coal electricity for car production and rail traffic alone is astronomical.
2019 was the hottest year in the history of Europe, according to scientific findings, with the drought year 2018 and the drought summer 2020, it is now the worst drought in a row for 250 years. The droughts and heat waves of recent years clearly show that the climate crisis is having a significant impact on our lives, the environment, consumption and our economy. An adaptation of the plants to the more extreme climate occurs naturally, but should be supported and improved by sustainable strategies of climate change adaptation. This should not only apply to crops or to livestock, but also especially to endangered species. The selfish nature, way of life and work in certain areas of society and industry, such as fossil energy, monotonous agriculture and forestry, is harming the environment. Selfishness, ignorance and little will to change in the direction of sustainability, nature and environmental protection have produced a destructive chemical industry, energy industry, aviation, shipping, heavy industry, monoculture agriculture and monotonous forestry.
The biodiversity, soil and water quality have suffered extremely, valuable landscapes and habitats have been destroyed or have been lost due to rigorous greed for profit and environmental degradation. If things continue like this, even regardless of the climate crisis, there will soon be no more fertile land, only dust and desert. Greening Deserts Climate analyses and long-term studies, in coordination with international climate researchers and climate models, have repeatedly confirmed an increase in extreme weather conditions – even before the drought years or floods of the century, as in Europe and India in 2018 and 2019. There have been several warnings that extreme droughts and floods will become more frequent in Europe, initially in southern Europe and, with further drought years, also in central Europe. This has now even been confirmed in a study by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig. Now all we need are realistic solutions and feasibility studies to counteract these extremely rapid changes. A wind of change is blowing.
Usually the jet stream with the high and low pressure areas moves from west to east and brings Central Europe a mix of sun, clouds and rain. However, with the accelerated climate change, the high pressure areas tend to persist for weeks over some European regions in summer. As a result, there are long heat waves and droughts, in the low-pressure areas there are more frequent heavy rain and floods. Various temperature and heat records have been set over the years, in 2020 there were many cold summer nights and very large temperature fluctuations. Due to the many dry and windy days, the drought has increased overall. The logging caused by wind and storm damage amounted to 18.5 million cubic meters in 2018. That is four times as much compared to the previous year. There are many forest fires because the soil and top layers with branches, leaves or needles are very dry. The risk of fire is also very high for agriculture, especially when dry fields catch fire, for example from careless drivers and smokers or from broken glass. A field fire, forest fire or forest fire is no fun because it can spread to settlements.
In many German cities there is a state of emergency, as the asphalt and concrete deserts often heat up more than the surrounding areas can quickly reach heat records of over 40 degrees. Many people, animals and plants die. In the Frankfurt metropolitan area, thousands of dead trees will probably have to be felled due to the weeks of drought and heat in the midsummer 2020. Particularly in the driest areas of Germany, many villages and towns are affected by the tree death. Due to the drought stress and plant water stress that has damaged and weakened the plants over the years, a relatively short heat phase is enough to give the plants the rest, then often watering them does not help. On the contrary, too much water at once can even damage the plants, for example if the plant cannot absorb much water due to a large part of dried up leaves, there is then a risk of accelerated root rot at the high temperatures, which can occur more often with tap water and dried out roots. If many of the deeper soil layers have completely dried out, the water cannot drain off properly, and waterlogging then forms in some places. Gardeners and plant experts know the problem. So if possible use rainwater and then not too much at once, preferably over a large area and spread over a few evenings. If the soil is not too hard, you can put drainage in some places with a pointed stick. If the soil is slightly damp overall, the rainwater can then penetrate better into deeper layers and root areas.
Climate change knows no borders, large parts of Europe are affected by drought and water scarcity. We need an adaptation and improvement of the water management or regulation as soon as possible in order to secure the public drinking water and industrial water supply in the long term. The fear of the consequences of a third year of drought is great, especially if the water table drops, entire rivers and lakes dry up. The drought threatens historical gardens and even well-known parks, the drought also has an indirect effect on all plant growth in the area. Only if the spread of healthy and relatively wild nature is promoted by favorable conditions nature as a whole can recover and regenerate. In the case of monoculture agriculture and monotonous forestry, this is difficult, but not impossible. Some consequences can only be felt years later, as environmental and weather systems sometimes react very slowly. It is similar to the nitrate or slurry problem, where in some extreme cases the groundwater wil be polluted over the years.
Really serious consequences for agriculture are still to come, probably in the years 2025 to 2030. From 2013 to 2015 there have been massive changes in global weather systems and cycles. Many of these changes also occur gradually and over long periods of time, so they cannot be seen as clearly as the consequences of a drought summer. So that you can really change something sustainably and positively, you should think in time windows of over 10 years or even decades. It is frightening to see even natural mixed forests which are suffering from climate change. The drought years even have a strong impact on humid areas, as the groundwater level often falls due to the long dry periods. Wetlands and bogs can dry out, which increases the likelihood of bog and forest fires. In addition, there are the problems of peat extraction and the drainage of landscapes for agriculture. The diverse forest conversion and the expansion of wetlands such as floodplains and moors must finally be given priority. Many nature reserves, national parks, natural regions and near-natural landscape protection areas should be expanded and connected, if possible for example with flower strips and wild meadows. Protected areas in nature and landscape protection should also be expanded and include urban regions and larger city parks or city forests. Special wilderness biotopes for a relatively free development of really ’natural nature’ should be made possible in the protected areas. Because nature is not the same as nature, at least according to the understanding of society and people.
Soil quality and healthier soils through more ecological forestry and sustainable agriculture, as well as better water management, are important to mitigate the negative consequences and effects of climate change. The already often mentioned building up of humus, cultivation of deep-rooting plants, soil improvement and green manure plants can contribute significantly to soil formation and improvement of the overall soil. Protective layers with ground cover and wildflower meadows can protect the soil in particularly hot and dry times. The principle applies, just let it grow and support nature in the development of biodiversity with natural seeds. Naturally with suitable species depending on the region and vegetation zone, i.e. suitable plants of / for mountainous areas, wetlands, grasslands, meadows and forests. To do this, one should think more about aquatic plants and then use them to improve water bodies. Because a large part of the rivers and lakes in Germany is in a precarious state, at least when it comes to the ecological aspect, neighboring agriculture, shipping and biodiversity. Without ecosystem services, human life on earth would not be possible. Worldwide, around 60% of the ecosystem services examined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment are in a critical state; they are at great risk from environmental pollution and environmental damage.
We all have to help make whole landscapes more diverse and resistant to climate extremes, including urban regions and cities – for this purpose, among other things, the Urban Greening Camp project started. More urban greening, solar and water surfaces as well as lighter surfaces can cool down urban areas, so-called for near-natural recreation areas and biological diversity. Agriculture based on solidarity and community gardens are also good solutions that can bring more biodiversity and community profits.
Here are a few more suggestions for improvement.
Professional advice and recommendation to good addresses and contacts in the above areas for corresponding consideration is possible, for this you can simply contact the author of this article by email.
Greening Deserts analyses and research projects have been dealing with climate change and extreme weather conditions such as exceptional heat, drought and floods since 2016. Despite all the optimism, the prognosis for the coming years does not look rosy. It takes a lot of effort, motivation and support to be able to work and live normally throughout the crisis. Cohesion is more important than ever in these times, egoism and ignorance only make things worse. We need more solidarity and courage, whether through useful information, the exchange of experiences or other meaningful actions. Simply going out into the streets unfortunately does not bring as much as taking part in constructive actions and actively participating in constructive actions for species protection, climate protection, nature conservation and environmental protection. For example planting trees, watering urban trees and plants, sowing wildflowers and caring for parks and meadows. Leaving this to others like the green space authorities or city cleaning is not a solution. In some countries or regions the corona crisis can result in massive financial problems and financial crises. There will be a lack of funds and resources for many of important environmental tasks or work in future. We all need to hold together in relation to the health of us all and the environment. Healthy ecosystems are the basis for a healthy life.
The global economic crisis and COVID-19 recession (Great Lockdown) will occupy society and the economy for many years to come. In principle there are several crises, e.g. the education crisis, health crisis, cultural crisis and social crisis. Greening Deserts articles also deal with these topics, especially in relation to the effects, consequences and causes of climate change. Many potential solutions are offered, but most of them can only be solved together – some of the suggestions have already been implemented personally or privately. I hope that many will follow. Good additions, ideas and suggestions for improvement are of course always welcome. @ feedback.greeningdeserts.com. Your friend of nature, Oliver Gediminas Caplikas. The next article deals with climate change adaptation and urban greening on many levels, for example with vertical farming. Heat-resistant and drought-tolerant plant species as well as special climate change woody plants will play an important role. Some of the plants are even drought-resistant or have a high ‘drought resistance’.