A single tree will absorb nearly a ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Trees help to shade your home, adding to efficiency, as well as help cool communities. They also filter air, decreasing health risks to pollution. They also help us connect to nature. While you're at it, plant a garden and grow your own vegetables.
Just think a bit about what trees do for us:
- They absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide and other pollutants giving us clean air to breathe.
- Picture the views of trees you enjoy at home and the office.
- Their shade prevents too much exposure to the sun.
- They reduce soil erosion, polluted storm water run-off and thus save you contributing to expensive mechanical water control.
- You pay lower heating bills because the trees in your area help cool your house
- They help raise the quality of life and the value of your neighborhood.
And when you plant one tree, just look at the return you get on your investment:
Over the course of 50 years, a single tree can generate $31,250 of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, recycle $37,500 worth of water, and control $31,500 worth of soil erosion. (Arbor Day Foundation)
That's pretty good by any standards, right?
Why is it Important to Plant Trees Today?
Although things are improving because people are more aware, we are still faced with problems. Global warning and climate change result in violent weather changes and natural disasters... Katrina and Tsunami are just two examples.
The loss of millions of acres of forest every year and with that the extinction of thousands of plants and animals...
Soil erosion on the mountainsides of Haiti, Honduras and the Philippines, plus the effects of tropical storms, are killing children and crippling families who have been dependent on these lands for centuries...
And we know that Chesapeake Bay islands have disappeared under the rising water levels over the past 50 years.
When you plant a tree it offsets this damage and redresses the balance of a healthy Earth.
The following are some statistics and examples on just how important trees are in a community setting.
"The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day."—U.S. Department of Agriculture
"Landscaping can reduce air conditioning costs by up to 50 percent, by shading the windows and walls of a home." — American Public Power Association
"If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%." —Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research
"A mature tree can often have an appraised value of between $1,000 and $10,000." —Council of Tree and Landscape Appraisers
"In one study, 83% of realtors believe that mature trees have a "strong or moderate impact" on the salability of homes listed for under $150,000; on homes over $250,000, this perception increases to 98%." —Arbor National Mortgage & American Forests
"Landscaping, especially with trees, can increase property values as much as 20 percent."—Management Information Services/ICMA
"One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people."—U.S. Department of Agriculture
"There are about 60-to 200- million spaces along our city streets where trees could be planted. This translates to the potential to absorb 33 million more tons of CO2 every year, and saving $4 billion in energy costs."—National Wildlife Federation
"Trees properly placed around buildings can reduce air conditioning needs by 30 percent and can save 20 - 50 percent in energy used for heating."—USDA Forest Service
"Trees can be a stimulus to economic development, attracting new business and tourism. Commercial retail areas are more attractive to shoppers, apartments rent more quickly, tenants stay longer, and space in a wooded setting is more valuable to sell or rent."—The Arbor Day Foundation
"Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property's value."—USDA Forest Service
"The planting of trees means improved water quality, resulting in less runoff and erosion. This allows more recharging of the ground water supply. Wooded areas help prevent the transport of sediment and chemicals into streams."—USDA Forest Service
"In laboratory research, visual exposure to settings with trees has produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension."—Dr. Roger S. Ulrich Texas A&M University
"Nationally, the 60 million street trees have an average value of $525 per tree."—Management Information Services
To help locate New York City's heritage trees, the City Department of Parks and Recreation conducted a program called the "Great Tree Search." New Yorkers looked for trees of unusual size and age, those linked with historic landmarks, and trees of unusual species or location. On Arbor Day, they held a big party to celebrate New York City's Great Trees.
After a tornado destroyed more than 800 trees in Cardington, Ohio, citizens organized a tree restoration committee which solicited donations and memorials. Volunteers who learned of the tree planting through local newspaper articles appeared on Arbor Day to wrap trunks, water, mulch, and stake 40 large trees which were planted along major streets.