According to the newspaper Le Matin, the municipality of the city of Lausanne has a tradition of planting a tree when a baby is born, something it has been doing for 17 years.
The “one tree one child” programme is intended to create a connection between the city’s residents and local forests and promote environmentalism.
While planting a tree will have a positive impact on the environment it won’t achieve carbon neutrality. An average resident of Switzerland will release around 357 tonnes of CO2 equivalent gas1 into the atmosphere over their lifetime. Neutralizing this would require planting around 357 trees per newborn1. Based on the current birth rate, a plantation area the size of the city would be needed every 6 years1.
Nyon based forester Scott Poynton thinks getting people out in the forest is the first step towards saving them. Viewed through this lens, Lausanne’s “one tree one child” programme is a great first step.
1 Average emission per capita in 2014 was 4.312 tonnes. Average life expectancy in 2016 was 82.90 years in Switzerland. An average lifetime carbon footprint = 357 tonnes. Trees per hectare 1,500. Newborns per hectare = 4.2. Newborns per year 1,700. Hectares per year = 7,140 (71,400 every 10 years – 71.4 km2). Lausanne area 41.37 km2. An area the size of Lausanne would be required every 6 years. Source data: Worldbank, Worldbank, NCSU.