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Carbon Sink: What it is and why we need it

December 12, 2022

10,000 years ago, 57% of the world was covered by forests. That's 6 billion hectares. 1/3rd of that is now gone, and further deforestation is not going to stop any time soon.

In the story of planet Earth, every forested area always takes on the role of a carbon sink. In the story of global warming, it’s these carbon sinks that can quell or slow down climate change and protect our precious planet.

What Is a Carbon Sink? 

Human activities produce inordinate amounts of carbon dioxide every single day. Whether it be from all the industries that chug out smoke or the millions of vehicles used everywhere in the world. 

Part of this CO2 sits in the atmosphere and raises the global temperature, and another part of it is captured by the various carbon sinks on the planet. 

Carbon sinks can be natural or man-made and accumulate and store some of the carbon dioxide or other carbon-containing chemical compounds. This carbon dioxide is thus removed from the atmosphere, and with it their effect on global warming.

You might not be surprised to learn that vegetation, that is, any trees, plants, or shrubbery out there, are all carbon sinks. But those aren't the only carbon sinks in the world we should be paying attention to. The ocean (and the vegetation inside the oceans) is another major carbon sink, which is why a lot of the fishes and other aquatic life are in danger. When the ocean captures carbon dioxide, it acidifies seawater which adversely affects marine life. 

Humans have also built artificial carbon sinks or carbon capture machines. They take in the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it through intricate chemical reactions into solid carbonates. These can be then stored indefinitely or used by industries. 

What Does a Carbon Sink Do?

As you can imagine, carbon sinks are extremely useful in mitigating the effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide and methane, both of which contribute to global warming.

Increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere isn't good in any way. So the point is to build more carbon sinks, artificial or natural, so that this extra carbon dioxide can be captured and converted into life-giving oxygen or other solid carbonates that won't affect Earth's ecology. 

There are many ways to do this, and governments around the world are actively working towards increasing forested areas by planting trees and putting in other eco-friendly measures like reducing, reusing, and recycling mandates. 

Bamboo, hemp, and other fast-growing plants are the best way to replant deforested areas. This is because they grow extremely fast, and they can be used to produce a wide variety of consumer goods in a very sustainable fashion. 

What Can You Do to Contribute? 

There are many things you can do to contribute to worldwide reforesting and replanting efforts.

One way of course is for  you to make sure that you are careful every time you purchase an item, ensuring that it's sustainable and made from recycled materials. Also, buying sustainable fashion, rather than fast fashion, helps in this regard. 

Reusing items as much as possible, recycling as much of your waste as possible, and reducing consumption in general, are also great ways to contribute. 

If you are interested in replanting trees, then we have an easy solution for you. No need to get your hiking shoes on and start digging holes in the ground to plant saplings on the weekends or in your free time. 

All you need to do is open up a bank account with bunq, and we will take care of the rest for you in collaboration with Eden Reforestation Projects. Every time you spend €100, we plant a tree. 

The trees planted capture 308kg of carbon throughout their estimated 25-year growth life. If you spend €1000/month with bunq, in less than 2 years, you will become fully CO2-free*! 

That means that you aren't going to contribute to global warming any longer! By November 2021, 5 million trees were planted by bunq and bunq customers. Next goal - 10 million trees and beyond. 

Join bunq Today and Make a Difference

The time for action is now. If you are going to be using a bank in any case, then why not choose bunq, the fully digital and climate-neutral bank? This way, you can help contribute to boosting one carbon sink at a time.

We are constantly measuring our carbon footprint on the planet and trying to mitigate it by planting trees and through other measures. And we are helping you to do the same. It's time you made the switch - join bunq today

* Based on the average yearly carbon footprint of a European citizen and the average number of trees planted each year by an Easy Green user. Learn more here.

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