We talk a lot about saving paper, turning off paper statements and not printing ATM receipts — all of which are positive things. We also point out how all these actions can help reduce greenhouse gases* (GHG) and prevent fraud. But I thought I'd take a moment to re-focus on the root of why we make those suggestions...trees.
There are several reasons trees are important to all of us and make the planet a better place: They function as the lungs of the planet by taking ("breathing") carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air and then releasing ("exhaling") oxygen that we in turn can breathe. They also offer shade from the sun and shelter from the rain.
But there are other reasons as well, which Steve Nix, a forestry consultant, reminds us of in his article.
Aside from all the practical things, trees are also beautiful. According to the World Resources Institute, there are approximately 100,000 known species of trees that exist throughout the world today. Some of my favorite varieties are aspen, maple, oak, and cherry. But I have a special fondness for Coastal Redwoods.
While once found across the northern hemisphere, Coastal Redwoods now only exist along a 500-mile coastal strip in northern California and southern Oregon. And just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, stands one of the world's famous forests — Northern California's Muir Woods National Monument. Thanks to the leadership of a few conservationists (PDF) more than 100 years ago, locals and visitors can enjoy these towering trees today.
Save a Tree, Plant a Tree
The Arbor Day Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to planting trees, recognizes the importance of trees.
As we rapidly approach the season of giving, please consider giving the gift of a tree or making a donation to the foundation in the name of someone special.
The National Park Service claims most of the mature trees in Muir Woods are between 600 to 800 years old. Some of these ancient redwoods stand 258 feet tall, which is equivalent to a six-foot person stacked head to toe 45 times.
Spending time among these giants is a terrific way to re-connect with nature. It's also wonderful to know that someone was visionary enough to promote their preservation. If you visit Muir Woods, you can stroll along meandering paths through the trees or take hikes that lead toward the Pacific Ocean.
There's a symbiotic relationship between trees and people — one which I find intriguing and very much worth celebrating. After all, as Nix states in his article, "Trees are...the ground troops on an environmental frontline. Our existing forest and the trees we plant work in tandem to make a better world."
*When gasoline, oil, or other fossil fuels are burnedthe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is raised. Carbon dioxidehas been identified as a likely contributor to climate change. I wrote more about this in an earlier post.