Trees to feel good and live longer

One of the oldest living things on earth, trees, contribute to our health, wellbeing and longevity.

IMG-20150818-WA0004Imagine growing up without trees. No shade to sit under when the sun beats down, no rustling leaves, no birds, nothing to soften the noise of traffic or of your neighbours, no protection from the wind and dust, nothing to stop any remaining top soil from washing away when it rains, no fruit to pick, no branches to climb, swing on and hide in, no privacy.

When we think about the many ways trees benefit our lives, most of us focus on the number of products we derive from trees – energy, shelter, paper, fibre, oils, medicine, fruit and nuts. We may also recognise the aesthetic and visual benefits of trees. However, few of us ever pause and acknowledge that trees provide more than just products and ornamental beauty; many of us continue to take trees for granted, treating them with a familiarity that makes us forget the importance of our inter-connection with them.

Trees, in fact, offer an almost endless list of environmental and economic benefits. Indeed, it is because of trees and plants that humans and other creatures evolved on this planet. Did you know that a large tree can provide enough oxygen for the daily requirements of ten people? In fact, trees are described as earth’s ‘lungs’, integral to the stability of our climate, biodiversity and general health of the environment.

In the most recent scientific study, it was once again found that urban trees are seriously good for you. Scientists precisely quantified the amount of green space in a given residential area, 530 000 trees kept by the city of Toronto, and combined that with health records for over 30,000 Toronto residents. The study reported on not only individual
self-perceptions of health, but also heart conditions, prevalence of cancer, diabetes, mental health problems and much more.

Here are a few of their findings:climbing-trees1

  • having 10 more trees in a city block improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annualpersonal income of $10,000 or being 7 years younger.
  • an increase of 11 trees per city block was comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $20,000 or being 1.4 years younger.

September is Arbour (Arbor) Month – plant a tree in your community and pass on all these benefits.

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