Denmark’s ‘tree telethon’ raises funds for forests

16 September 2019

In Denmark, a star-studded Saturday night show on TV2 raised enough money to reach more than 90 percent of its goal: to plant one million trees in the fight against climate change.

The public broadcaster teamed up with the Danish Society for Nature Conservation and the Growing Trees Network Foundation for the event, which has been billed as the world’s first-ever climate telethon. Other partners include WWF and the Danish Nature Fund, which will use 20 percent of the €2.4 million raised by the event to protect existing forests in both Denmark and Uganda.

“I think it is amazing to see how throughout Denmark we have created a focus on climate and the importance of trees for our globe,” said TV 2 channel manager Lotte Lindegaard. “Of course, this is not done with tree planting alone. We must also work to preserve the existing forest, but this is literally a shovel in the right direction.”

The event was held at the Gisselfeld Klosters Skove forest, about an hour away from Copenhagen, where Danes have invested in conservation with features that welcome humans to contemplate nature. A new Camp Adventure Tower there, designed by Effekt, adds to a setting named by Time Magazine in August as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Places for 2019.

Yet as lovely as the setting was, it served to illustrate the point of the program hosted by Puk Elgaard and Mikkel Kryger. They were aided in their mission by comedian Andreas Bo, tennis player Frederik Federlein, former elite soldier B.S. Christiansen, and musicians Medina, Nicklas Sahl and Anne Dorte Michelsen.

For every 20 kroner donated, the program will be able to plant one tree with a set-aside for forest preservation. Organizers said the event raised enough money to plant 914,233 trees, with money donated by individuals and companies alike. The telethon partners, along with city governments and other groups, will help to determine where the trees are going and plan for their planting.

Organizers said the project was important because forests are one of the most effective means of absorbing CO2, and much needed to achieve global climate emissions targets and protect biodiversity.

“In popular terms, the forests are the lungs of the earth,” said the Growing Trees Network Foundation, citing data from the United Nations climate reports.  “At the same time, they protect our groundwater reservoirs, create new habitats for plants and wildlife, and new areas of recreation for citizens.”

The show may be over but organizers are still accepting donations at this link.

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