Chances are that as part and parcel of our standard education, every single one of us has been told that trees are important and should be respected. Which is something we come to believe and understand during childhood, though then seem to forget entirely during adolescence and our teenage years. It simply becomes the kind of thing that doesn’t really warrant a great deal of thought from most people trees exist, but most just simply ignore them. But it’s only when you start to think about a world without trees that you begin to get an idea of just how important they really are.
Given modern conservation efforts, chances are it’s never going to happen. Back in the 1980s though, the way in which deforestation was accelerating at a terrifying pace meant that if things didn’t change, there’s a good chance the generation that follows that of our kids would grow up in a world with absolutely no trees left whatsoever! A pretty unthinkable and unlikely prospect, but one that we were definitely on the road towards just a couple of decades ago.
The positive news being that these days, we’ve made a serious amount of progress, in terms of both awareness and practical efforts to at least begin repairing the damage. We might still hear stories every day of rainforest destruction on an incredible scale taking place each and every day, but for the most part we do tend to be somewhat more responsible and thoughtful, when it comes to the way we use and replace trees. Deforestation remains a big problem, but is at least a problem we are now aware ofâ€¦rather than simply ignoring.
But aside from the obvious material things we rely on trees for which is of course many of the things our lives are built around what are the other reasons why trees deserve our thoughts and respect? Why is it of such importance to ensure that every generation fully understands and acknowledges the critical role trees play in our world?
Well, first of all there is the way in which trees are just about as environmentally friendly as it gets. For one thing, you probably already know that trees pump out vast quantities of oxygen, while at the same time sucking up all that carbon dioxide we don’t need quite as much of. The more trees out there, the better the quality of the air we breathe – it really is as simple as that!
They can also pull pollutants out of the air at the most spectacular rate, contributing to safer and cleaner air for the towns and cities we live in. A recent study was carried out on this effect, which focused on the greater London area. Incredibly, the trees in this area alone have the ability to remove between 850 and 2,000 tonnes of pollutants from the air each year!
Not only this, but the way in which trees provide welcome shade during the warmer months of the year can also directly contribute to reduced energy use. The more effective the shading, the less you’re likely to need powered air-conditioning to cool the building and thus the better for both the environment and your pocket at the same time.
And on top of all this, the fact that trees develop enormous root networks below the surface of the soil makes them absolutely ideal for helping reduce and remove excess surface water. Roughly translated, trees play an active role in flood prevention as a bonus!
Health and Wildlife Benefits
In terms of benefits for wildlife, there’s really no need to begin listing the hundreds of thousands of animal species that depend on trees worldwide. You get rid of the trees, you get rid of the places these animals need in order to survive, which in turn means you annihilate species to the point of extinction. If you care about animals, you absolutely have to care about trees at the same time.
On top of this, so many modern medications we rely on one of which being aspirin actually derive from the extracts of various trees. Not only this, but extensive trials have proven that trees in their own right can be uniquely calming and relaxing for human beings. By doing something as simple as taking a stroll through a forest or public park, clinical trials have shown that doing so can be just as effective as taking certain prescription medicines for the treatment of stress and anxiety.
All without the obvious side effects and dangers of resorting to prescription medication!
The list goes on, but even these few simple examples fully illustrate why trees are so deserving of our respect and thought. And once again, it’s worth bearing in mind that we haven’t even begun to get into the millions of everyday products we rely on, which wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for the wood provided by trees that we often take for granted.