As a species, there’s no other living creature on Earth that can challenge man. More than any other breathing organism, he has shaped the planet according to his will and often uncalled-for wishes. We may have the best technology now more than ever. But our appetite for destruction has also multiplied by leaps and bounds. And this is no more apparent than in the case of trees.
Take, for instance, the case for Amazon. The rainforests are dubbed “the lungs of the planet.” And that’s because they produce roughly 20% of the planet’s oxygen. The largest of them all is the Amazon. At first, subsistence farmers were the cause of the deforestation of the Amazon. Today, a more sinister agenda is eating Amazon’s forest: large-scale agriculture and the cattle industries. The result? It’s estimated overone million square kilometersof the rainforest have vanished, an area encompassing Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, to name some countries.
All this destruction happened not by coincidence but by design. Indeed, it’s high time we take a look at why we need more trees before it’s too late. Check out the five reasons below to know why it matters most, not just for us but for our children’s children.
Pure Air for Everyone
You can live for days without food but just a few minutes without air. That’s how vital air is to everyone on the planet. Forests, for one, take away carbon from the atmosphere. In a sense, they are carbon sinks that flush the toxin out of the system.
Carbon dioxide is the major contributor to the greenhouse effect. Over 80% of these harmful gases are carbon. Worse, the fossil fuels we use (oil, coal, natural gas) every day in our cars and at home are the main culprit is the proliferation of carbon in the atmosphere.
Fortunately, trees absorb carbon purifying our air in the process, absorbing as much as a third of global emissions worldwide yearly. However, deforestation puts all that back. Forest loss in 2019 alone is equivalent to putting 400 million cars more on the road.
Best of all, trees produce oxygen, the air we need to breathe. This why sustainable development programs matter most. By ensuring trees that are cut down for development are replaced, an enterprise plays a huge role in helping Mother Earth survive. And ultimately thrive.
Housing the Planet’s Species
You would not want to throw your treasure away, would you? But with the deforestation of our forests, we are doing just that.
Take note, about 50% of all the planet’s animals and plants thrive in rainforests. And thanks to rainforests, we are sourcing a quarter of our prescription medicines from rainforest plants. So, by encroaching and destroying these forest habitats, we are losing our advantage and creating a huge problem for us.
A glorious example is the current pandemic. COVID-19 virus, as a zoonotic virus, has been traced to animal sources. It is worth noting that three out of every four infectious diseases affecting man are from animal sources. The good news is that greater biodiversity in our forests should provide a “dilution effect” of the disease in the animal hosts, protecting humanity. But deforestation could prevent all that from happening.
Cooling Our Cities
Haven’t you noticed how our cities have become hotter and hotter? The year 2019 alone has been recorded as the hottest, something that may be trumped by 2020 or 2021.
But not if trees can’t help it. Trees are also the planet’s air-conditioning mechanism. By providing shade and blocking sunlight, they are able to cool the planet. Shaded surfaces are way cooler by as much as 20 to 45Â°F than places without shade, EPA data shows.
Quite simply, more trees mean you won’t have to spend so much on your air conditioning. And that means you get to have improved air quality indoor (IAQ) and outdoor. By reducing your building’s energy demand, you minimize the carbon footprint of the structure.
It is estimated we need as much as 40% canopy cover to counter the heating effect brought down by concrete in our cities. That’s just reasonable. More than half of the world’s population are in the cities.
Flood and Water Pollution Protection
Trees protect us. Without trees, landslides and flash floods would have a greater occurrence. Why? That’s because trees stabilize the soil by absorbing water. We’re not talking a few cups. It’s estimated a mature tree absorbs as many as 1,500 to 2,000 water gallons per year.
And if that were not enough, about 57 million Americans rely on water forests in getting their clean water. That’s because trees filter pollutants from storms and harmful chemicals.
Last but not least, trees relieve our stress. Imagine how much worse our planet is without trees. There will be more droughts, more destruction in storms, more pandemics, and more floods. It would be a world in chaos.
But trees can calm and soothe you like no other. Cities with urban nature fare better than those that don’t have one. Even better, spending time outdoors with trees can bring a host of health benefits to you. Top of that list is a stronger immune system. That’s telling you, we need not lesser trees now more than ever.
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