MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — When the U.S. put efforts to mitigate climate change on the back burner, Ryan Beaupain a 12-year-old activist in Manhattan Beach, decided to take action in his own neighborhood by raising money to plant more trees.

“It’s more calming, more calm than being surrounded by cement,” Ryan said.

While trees can create a picturesque view, they also remove carbon dioxide from the air, provide shade, and can block colder winds, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. Those benefits can also help mitigate climate change impacts in the areas they are planted in. That’s why Ryan created a GoFundMe campaign last year that ultimately raised more than $6,000 to plant four trees in Polliwog Park and another four trees in a nearby elementary school.

“It was very satisfying, I have to say, because it shows all that effort over those months being put, basically, into the ground and showing me results,” Ryan said.

As the Biden administration begins to take a renewed view on climate change by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, setting goals to be carbon pollution-free within our power sector by 2035, and to reach net-zero by 2050, Eric Strauss the executive director for the Loyola Marymount University Center for Urban Resilience shared that while these goals are ambitious, it could bring us closer to seeing real change.

“We impact the climate with a thousand decisions we make every day. What kind of a garden space will we have outside our door? How much carbon will we use to heat or cool our house? What are the decisions we make in our consumption patterns? All of these have collective influence,” Strauss said.

Now, when Ryan sees the trees planted in the park, he’s reminded of how ambition can bring positive change.

“It’s kind of cute, the tree right now. But it’s going to grow to be huge some day and it feels good knowing that I did something for the world and tried my best,” he said.

While Ryan has vowed to plant more trees within his lifetime, he’s hoping his effort also will inspire others to consider their own contributions in their communities.