Plant a Tree this Earth Day

There is no better symbol synonymous with what Earth Day represents than the mighty tree. If you want to help the environment, here is a small but significant contribution you can make: Plant a tree.

We don’t appreciate trees enough. Trees produce oxygen and create a habitat for insects, birds and different animals. We use their sap in resin and wax that’s present in our plastics and household appliances. We harvest syrup, paper and even ferment beers from the tree’s fruits and sap.

Planting trees combats climate change due to their cooling effects.

So this Earth Day, place a tree in your back or front yard. Given the current hazards of global warming, if we judged the worth of our cities not by the number of buildings, but by the quantity of trees produced, we would be in a better place.

The reason is that trees are essential for human health, not just for the oxygen that they produce, but also in the number of benefits they bring. Trees, like all other plants, are a carbon sink in that they catch carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and convert it for energy to produce oxygen. They cool areas through photosynthesis, with shade and their soil’s retention of water.

The salience of this point is that urban areas are rife with carbon-monoxide-spewing cars, which cause a variety of problems ranging from children’s mental health, to respiratory issues from air pollution and the heat the carbon monoxide creates—being a greenhouse gas and all. The latter fact is dangerous during the summer months, which exacerbates the sweltering climate a few degrees higher than it should be, making it a hazard for seniors and infants.

Planting trees in the city can mitigate these effects since they trap and absorb the noxious gases and harmful particle matter from cars. Trees also provide shade, food, and are a cost-effective method for cooling down the summers that are sure to be hotter as the years go by.

So, if you have some dirt, do yourself and the Earth a favor: Plant a tree.

Flower for Earth Day

Lily pad flower outside of the House of Dreams on Berry College campus (Rome, Ga.).

Diana Ward | Avant-Youth


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