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Trees! … are the largest and longest living organisms on Earth. Planting trees replenishes a critical renewable resource and may be the most natural and cost effective way to balance CO2 in our atmosphere, while making oxygen and purifying ground water.
The average American household produces about 150 pounds of CO2 per day, almost twice the European average and five times the global average. But North Carolina State University experts claim one large tree can absorb a ton of CO2 by the age of 40, make oxygen for four people and lift and discharge 100 gallons of water into the air daily. Trees add to property value, provide for thousands of products, support microorganisms in the soil, and give shade and wind protection, saving over $2 billion per year in cooling and heating costs in the US, alone.
Several organizations are planting trees around America, assisted by individuals and communities. Dan Lambe, Vice President of Programs for the Arbor Day Foundation inspires people to plant and nurture trees while recognizing their vital importance and multiple benefits. Their ten-dollar membership gives you 10 seedlings and access to more affordable trees.
Lambe: Trees are the lungs of the world. They really are helping to clean our air and help fight global warming and climate change on a daily basis. What people don’t always think about is the many benefits that trees bring to a community; environmental benefits, social benefits, health benefits. There’s been a tremendous amount of research out there showing how strategically placed shade trees will reduce energy costs for homes, for schools, for businesses, showing that trees around retail stores and shops actually increase the amount of money spent by consumers and shoppers. And, of course you can’t put a price tag on the quality of life impact when cities and towns have strong, well-managed trees in their community. The important thing is planting the right tree in the right place. You don’t want to plant a palm tree in Michigan. You don’t want to plant a tall growing tree underneath a utility line. You want it to last and add value to your home or neighborhood for years to come. We encourage people to reach out to their city foresters, to their community forestry programs, to local nurseries to insure that those trees will survive and last.
Although a third of the US is still covered by forests, many developing countries have few or no trees remaining. Dave Deppner, director of Maryland based Trees for the Future, started planting in the Peace Corps. 37 years later, his non- profit has planted over 50 million trees in 57 countries, often tens of thousands a day, for about ten cents each. He says planting trees in deforested tropical climates, in a sustainable manner, establishes dozens of tangible benefits for local people and pays global dividends.
Deppner: For a typical American family, its necessary to plant about 3,700 trees to mitigate your carbon footprint. But if you think about it, around the world with all the deforestation that’s gone on, you’ve got thousands and thousands and thousands of people lined up waiting for a chance to get some trees they can plant. Trees growing in the humid tropics grow about three times as fast as they do in our more temperate climate. That means that the trees start sequestering carbon dioxide far earlier and sequester about three times as much per year which makes the value of these trees, as far as global warming, far more important. And wherever you take it out of the atmosphere, its helping reduce the threat of climate change.
State Forest Service programs provide seedlings to landowners for about a buck each. Colorado Forester Lindsay Gartner says her program grows 2 million seedlings, annually, for landowners who qualify for the conservation-based program.
Gartner: And most states have programs like this. It’s a good way for average individuals to offset their carbon footprint and in a real tangible way that they can see that they’re helping the cause of global warming. It’s a natural renewable resource that’s available for everybody.
Lambe: The best time to plant the tree was 20 years ago. The second best time to plant the tree is today. The benefits of those trees will pay back the community and the individuals for many, many years to come.
Local nurseries, state programs and online organizations make it possible to plant trees affordably, to offset your part… of the carbon imbalance. 8
Good Dirt Radio reports on sustainable, money saving solutions for a healthier world. We urge you to find issues you care about and get involved: ideas are free at: gooddirtradio.org
I’m Tami Graham and I’m Tom Bartels. Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio… digging up good news, for a change.