The One-Trillion Tree Empire

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
16 November, 2018

New Zealand was never home to a great empire for one simple reason. We don’t have enough trees.

Historians have often credited Rome’s massive deforestation of the Mediterranean to its success as an empire. During Rome’s five centuries of power, it used wood and coal for everything from housing to fuel to its massive military.

At one point, the Roman Empire had a population of 56.8 million people. From recollection, the history books never had anything on ‘Romanbuild’ because Rome didn’t have a housing crisis.

Rome also didn’t have a 20-year 100% renewable program because it was already predominantly using wood (a renewable energy source) to fuel energy consumption within the empire.

Finally, wood was used extensively to arm the Roman Empire’s massive 645,000 strong army.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones is a clever man. He’s acknowledged New Zealand’s mistake.

His One Billion Trees Programme is a start, but it doesn’t go far enough if we want a chance to grow into the size of the Roman Empire. New Zealand needs a One Trillion Trees Programme.

Think of all the things you can do with all that wood. 

More trees mean more houses. Houses built of wood are more earthquake resistant, they are green (literally, if you keep the leaves), and they smell nice if you choose the right trees (pine or cedar, perhaps). Everyone loves a polished wood floor, too. The housing crisis would be fixed in a short 20 to 30 years.

An additional 999 billion trees would help our agricultural industry grow tremendously over the following decades. New Zealand would become the world’s leading wooden furniture, bird house and rocking chair exporter. Think of the contribution trees would make to GDP.

Trees can be used for more than just building infrastructure; they can be used to build warships, too. New Zealand could have a world-leading Navy on top of a world-leading furniture manufacturing industry. Wooden boats and wooden chairs are just the beginning. Building a Trojan Sheep to invade Australia would be the next step.

Planting billions of trees will of course be a difficult job. But it will be made easier if you fuel your workers with wood-fired pizza.

Finally, with more trees you can make more paper diaries. And Jones could use one of them to record his 61 undocumented meetings about the Provincial Growth Fund.

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