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"Alexa, grow a tree"

Updated: Apr 17, 2022

You can plant a tree by just sitting on your couch and using the voice command “Alexa, grow a tree.” In light of Earth Month, Amazon announced a new feature for Alexa users. Costing users only one dollar per tree, the company will donate all money to the organization One Tree Planted. The organization will plant trees ranging from places in North America to the Pacific.

“Trees play a vital role in maintaining a healthy climate. That’s why we are making it simple for Alexa customers to help support reforestation efforts by donating a tree just by using their voice,” Amazon said on their website.

Following its climate pledge, Amazon has been trying to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040. Despite this, the carbon emissions have been going up following quarantine, in which people ordered and returned more items than before. Emissions rose to 19% in 2020.The company has to work twice as hard and make significant changes if they want to catch up to their goal.

“We believe that every action and donation, big or small, matters when it comes to supporting a more sustainable future. That’s why we are committed to helping customers easily plant trees,” Amazon said in their announcement.

However, this project might not be the best way to target climate change and carbon emissions. As soon as the project was announced there was some skepticism surrounding it. According to Forrest Fleischman, a professor at the University of Minnesota, we should be focusing on protecting land rather than cutting down trees and then replanting them. In addition, we should be targeting the problem of carbon emissions in the first place. Moreover, there has been research that the ‘one dollar for one tree’ type programs are ineffective and can have net negative results. If done improperly, the sudden addition of trees can cause local ecosystems to go off balance.

The individual would have a larger impact on the community by making long term changes in their life, such as carpooling or going solar, over simply donating a dollar to plant one tree.

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