Trees are the lungs of the Earth

Trees are the lungs of the Earth

Trees are versatile and provide many essential benefits for life on Earth – including creating oxygen, providing shade, wind breaks, preventing soil erosion, and filter water through their root system and more. Trees are a renewable energy source and source or raw material for building, furniture, paper and more. Trees feed us with their fruit and provide sap for making syrup. They also provide shelter for birds and animals. In fact, approximately 80% of animal, plant, and insect species live in forests.

In addition to the food grown on trees, hundreds of millions of humans rely on forests for basic survival for firewood and shelter materials. Trees also provide employment. Over 80 million people work in jobs that are related to trees and tree products.

Still an estimated 18 million acres of trees are destroyed annually. This puts many species at risk of extinction as their habitat is lost. It also impacts the atmosphere as those trees no longer provide oxygen generation, no longer keep areas cool from their shade, no longer block soil erosion from wind and water. There are many different reasons for deforestation and they vary from place to place. For example, many areas of rain forest have been cut down to make way for palm oil and soy plantations. In America, many woodlands are raised and replaced with new housing neighborhoods. Globally, 40% of all timber is used to make paper products.

So what can you do to help? Plant a tree is a great way to start. Other small and easy steps include:

  • reducing your paper use – for example don’t print unneeded emails or excess pages, use scrap paper for lists, notes, etc.
  • increase recycling of paper and cardboard
  • buy products made from recycled content. Many great products are made from recycled content – check labels to find them
  • avoid products made with palm oil. A majority of palm oil production is done on land where forests – especially rainforests – have been cleared. Palm oil is an ingredient in many food products so check labels and consider alternative products. Some palm oil is sustainably produced and products that carry a sustainable palm oil certificate such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
  • consider buying existing furniture, rather than new. Older furniture is often inexpensive and better made than inexpensive new versions. Wood furniture can be refurbished / refinished for a new look.
  • get educated and spread the word – if we all do a little it will add up to big changes.

You can also support organizations that fight deforestation. Visit their websites to learn more, make donations, or volunteer. Organizations that focus on sustainability and preventing deforestation include:

Remember, not all logging is harmful. . Sustainable forest management doesn’t mean never cutting trees down. Fires are actually necessary for certain trees to produce seedlings. When you know a little more about the , it becomes easier to understand what you read or hear about our natural world and our relationship with them. There is wonderful information on all of the organizations’ websites listed above.

Finally, get out an enjoy nature. Don’t wait for Earth Day. Every day can be Earth day. Studies show being in nature provides health benefits including stress reduction, improving mood, lowers blood pressure, and provides fun and enjoyment.

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