Trees. Gorgeous and calming, providing homes for birds and other life, they also help clean the air of carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. And, if planted in a city or in your backyard, will cool during the summer and warm in the winter.
So here’s a brief list of tips to consider about helping save the planet with trees. I’ve been putting them together for the Earth Hero app (Version 2 with actions coming soon.), and thought I would share them with you here as well. Because I love trees and the life they harbor.
Tips (see references at the end):
–Deciduous trees planted where they will shade your house in the summer can cool your house by as much as 35%, says the Arbor Day foundation, thus requiring less electricity to cool your house – and less emissions.
–Plan how your plant your trees – if you’re lucky, you can shade your air-conditioning unit, which goes a long way to saving on your electric bill. See the Arbor Day website (below) for how to plan your landscape.
–If in the north (or very south) of the planet, you can also plant trees for winter warmth – conifers especially can block cold wind but, if planted a bit away from the house, can leave the sunshine radiating onto your house to warm it. Deciduous trees can be planted closer to your house as they will lose their leaves during winter and let the sun through.
–Planting trees 8-20 feet from your house (depending on the size of the tree) keeps roots from ruining your foundation.
–Consider planting a fruit tree to provide further carbon benefit – in a tasty form, but keep it back from your house to keep pests from being interested in building a shelter nearby.
–Volunteer to plant a tree (how about trees, plural?) in your community. There are often community or national organizations that arrange tree-planting days. It’s a great way to get to know like-minded people.
–Large trees can absorb up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, and they live for decades, so it adds up!
–Tree roots help control erosion.
–Finally, we’ve heard about the urban heat island effect. Trees and other green infrastructure markedly reduce the higher temperatures in a city that result from the sun radiating onto the concrete buildings and tar roads. Temperatures can be reduced by 2-15 degrees Celsius.
–Do some research online and see if your city or community provides trees at low cost for planting – they have often already determined which trees work best in your neighborhood. And, if not, they may provide other incentives.
–The presence, or lack thereof, of trees in a city also can be a climate justice issue, as wealthier neighborhoods tend to plant and maintain a lot of trees, whereas poor neighborhoods don’t have those upfront resources, and instead individuals have to pay higher utility costs or endure higher heat.
So volunteer – plant a tree(s)! Or volunteer to help your city in tree-planning and other similar activities.