Retire Successfully Retirementor, Jeunesse Park, asks us to imagine life without trees.
The fact is there wouldn’t be life. We evolved thanks to the oxygen boost from green plants through the awesome process of photosynthesis.
We have a deep-rooted connection with trees, the longest living organisms and one of the planet’s greatest resources, yet we have eliminated 80% of our world’s forests, and continue destroying a football field size of forest every 2 seconds, at our peril.
Deforestation and forest degradation make up 17% of world carbon emissions (more than the entire world’s transportation sector), intensifying climate disruption and the dystopian future we are hurtling towards.
What about the 70% of world’s plants and animals that live in forests and are losing their habitats, leading to species extinction? Besides being a biodiversity tragedy, we are losing vital medicines we don’t yet know exist.
September is Arbor Month in South Africa, and whilst trees should inspire us daily, it is a time to focus on these life-giving wonders that we rely on, but often take for granted.
If you still need convincing consider that:
- Trees help to maintain a balance for our global climate, absorbing carbon dioxide and are thus a powerful ally against life threatening climate change
- Locally trees buffer the wind and provide shade
- Well located trees cool or warm our homes
- Trees reduce air and noise pollution
- They improve water quality and control run off, helping to prevent erosion and regulate flooding
- Trees provide food and building materials
- They enhance landscapes and increase property values
- Trees feed, house and nurture countless creatures and counter desertification
- City trees give relief from heat islands and save money spent on storm water management.
Studies continually show that there are many more health, sociological, psychological and economic reasons we need trees to thrive.
Another study that looked at the health and social benefits of urban forestry showed how living in green suburbs helped to mitigate crime, respiratory diseases and even teenage pregnancy.
There is no excuse not to plant more trees. India recently broke its own world record with 1.5 million volunteers planting 66 million trees in just 12 hours!