Two East Dulwich schoolboys are giving up their free time to hug 100 trees in a bid to prevent deforestation.
Thomas Pickles, 11, and his eight-year-old brother Daniel are planning to hug 100 trees this weekend to raise funds to help save rainforests and fight climate change.
The money the boys raise through sponsorship on their JustGiving page will be donated to a Catford-based conservation charity, Rainforest Trust UK.
Thomas and Daniel, who are pupils at Rosemead Preparatory School in Dulwich, have chosen to complete their tree-hugging challenge this Saturday (October 30) – the day before the start of the COP26 Climate Talks – to draw attention to the impact of deforestation on the climate.
Thomas said: “We’ve learnt at school that climate change is the biggest problem we will face in our lifetimes and we want to grow up in a world which is safe for everyone.
“We want to raise as much money as we can to protect rainforests, which are really important for storing carbon and stopping climate change.”
Daniel said: “I love animals and want to help protect their rainforest homes.
“A lot of wild animals are becoming extinct because forests are being cut down and they have nowhere to live. Please support our tree-hugging to help save them.”
The boys’ parents, Anna and Martin Pickles, are “fully supportive” of their sons’ tree-hugging efforts.
Mrs Pickles said: “The boys already know that climate change is the biggest threat facing our planet, and they really wanted to do something practical to help.
“Saving rainforests is one of the most effective ways to fight climate change, and hugging trees seems a great way to show how important they are for the planet and future generations – and great outdoor exercise too.”
Chris Redston, the Executive Director of Rainforest Trust UK, said: “Tropical deforestation causes about 15 per cent of all net global carbon emissions, which is the same as every bus, train, car, plane, ship and truck on the planet combined.
“Rainforests are currently being destroyed at a rate of about 70,000 acres a day, mainly through deliberate burning and clearing for cattle ranches, soy plantations and palm oil.
“We are extremely grateful to Thomas and Daniel for stepping up to hug trees and protect the rainforests– they are true climate heroes.”
Rainforest Trust UK’s Hug 100 Trees campaign is supported by Springwatch presenter Michaela Strachan.
The 55-year-old said: “We’ve all missed hugs in the last eighteen months, so let’s celebrate hugging by doing Rainforest Trust UK’s Hug 100 Trees challenge.
“The natural environment has been such a huge source of comfort and brought so many of us peace and calm in our recent uncertain and chaotic lives. So let’s get tree hugging for the planet.”
If you would like to support Thomas and Daniel’s Hug 100 Trees campaign, you can donate online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ThomasAndDanielPickles.