Trees: one of our best weapons against climate breakdown

This month, Greenhouse PR launched a seminal new research paper, revealing that planting trees in an area the size of the United States is one of our most effective ways to combat the climate crisis.

The landmark study was developed by The Crowther Lab – a network of the next generation of leading global climate scientists, specialising in ecology. The lab enhances climate predictions by pairing top-down satellite data with the largest set of ground-sourced data. Its research is focused on both understanding and addressing climate change.

It is the first study to quantify how many trees the Earth can support, where they could exist and how much carbon they could store, finding that there is potential to increase the world’s forest land by a third, without affecting existing cities or agriculture.

Once mature, these new forests could store 205 billion tonnes of carbon, about two thirds of the 300 billion tonnes of extra carbon that exists in the atmosphere today.

Launching the paper

  • Greenhouse translated the scientific paper into an impactful, digestible narrative that would work for global media and among the general public, while maintaining the essence of the research.
  • We implemented a targeted programme of engagement to garner support for the paper before its release – securing comments from WWF, Christiana Figueres and Rene Castro, the Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
  • We developed all media and social assets, including maps, infographics and a content schedule.
  • Engaged extensively with key social media accounts to secure endorsement from UN Environment, Friends of the Earth and Christiana Figueres.
  • Developed and implemented a social media advertising strategy to boost content and discussion among key audiences.
  • Undertook extensive global media outreach to secure international coverage.

Results

We secured widespread coverage across every continent. Around 700 pieces of media coverage were published, including more than 100 national titles, spanning over 100 countries. The coverage was viewed over 12 million times and received more than 300,000 shares, and we’re still counting.

The team secured front page coverage of The Guardian and The Guardian Weekly and it was the top story on theguardian.com, generating 72,000 social shares. Other highlights include appearing on the BBC homepage, The Today Programme, The Independent, The i, National Geographic, TIME Magazine, CNN, Asahi Shimbun and New Scientist.

Targeted organic social media outreach led to the story being discussed by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and George Monbiot and shared by Greta Thunberg, Caitlin Moran and even Jermaine Clement from the Flight of the Conchords. The hashtag #TreePotential reached 4.8m people in five days since launch.

Tom Elliot, Managing Director, Crowther Lab, said “Communicating science in a way that is relatable and inspires action is not easy, but Greenhouse were instrumental in getting this vital message to a truly global audience.

“Whilst their knowledge in relation to the media landscape is outstanding, they’ve also demonstrated a fantastic ability to grow our network and deliver much needed attention towards restoration organisations all around the world. Thank you!”

The vast international interest in the story led to a number of outlets including The Guardian and the BBC writing editorials and follow up articles on the topic, which gave the story an additional boost of coverage in the following week.

It was a momentous launch, which led to the research paper being classed in the top 5% for all  scientific research papers, according to the website Altmetric.

The UK government’s Environment Department also responded to the story and recognised the need to plant more trees.

If you’re an organisation that’s providing the world with the science and data to help make more people aware of the impact and solutions for the climate crisis, we would love to support you with communications. Click here to get in contact.

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