Yale University researchers using satellite data estimated that the Earth has about 3 trillion trees (say that with your pinky finger at the corner of your mouth).
Initially, that looks like a sufficiently infinite amount of trees. But we need trees more than they need us. Trees provide shelter, food, the whole climate change contribution, a place for play. You don’t have to like trees to accrue the benefits. It’s been said that just passing by trees can lift your spirits. An additional ten trees on the nature strip/footpath/sidewalk/street equate to a 1% increase in how healthy nearby residents felt. One percent you say? Well the authors somehow calculated that that very 1% calculates to being 7 years younger or receiving a $10K salary bonus. Beauty cream? Pthwww, a walk to the park please.
As urban dwellers, we have Ebenezer Howard to thank for the verdancy. Back in 1898, Ebenezer was discontented with the squalor existing in large metropolitan areas: crowded living conditions, air pollution and inadequate water supply. He envisioned The Garden City, a layout which amalgamated the advantages of urban and country life. “Human-society and the beauty of nature are meant to be enjoyed together.” Among other things, his vision planted the seeds of trees in the urban environment: the greenbelt, parklands, street trees, focal gardens. The Garden City stressed the importance of residents having daily and significant exposure to nature. Of the three trillion trees on this planet, I’m not sure how many are in urban cores. But I’m sure glad that they’re there.
The title of this post should really be, what have you done for a tree lately? We should be a steward for at least 420 trees. Go out and hug one, now. And bring some water…
(Photo by Vivian Romero)