Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A tree hugger? Well, maybe

Image by George Hodan
What is it with all these tree huggers? They make anyone who cares about the environment look like a radical whacko, don't you think?

I admit it; when I launched the blog 4.5 years ago, I was offended when someone would roll their eyes and refer to me as a tree hugger. I wanted to scream, "I am not a tree hugger! I just want people to start caring for the environment by using their common sense."

Let me tell you a secret -- common sense to one person can mean something totally different to another. As can the term "tree hugger." That being said, let me give you a few good reasons for all of us to seek that title:
  • Trees are the "lungs of the earth." Without them, we no longer have enough oxygen to survive.
  • Trees improve the quality of the air by lowering air temperatures (through transpiration).
  • Trees remove pollution particles as they cling to leaves.
  • Trees reduce energy demands and emissions from power plants.
  • Trees remove gaseous pollutants.
Since they've now found a way to measure the amount of air pollution affected by trees, it has been estimated that in Minneapolis, 384 tons of air pollutants are removed by 979,000 trees each year. The planting of one million trees in Sacramento saved the city approximately $10 million in annual energy costs.

Weighing in other factors, like reduced health care costs, a software program called i-Tree Eco can crunch the numbers for communities across the nation. In Treasure Valley, Idaho, for example, they discovered that the trees annually reduced ozone by 275 tons, which is calculated to be about $750,000. This is equivalent to the emissions from 684,000 cars or 66,000 homes.

The contributions and benefits of just one single tree can be determined through the i-Tree suite. For some, the bottom line is saving money. Every tree planted can help achieve that goal.

With the advent of spring upon us, why not consider heeding the advice of J. Sterling Morton, founder of Arbor Day? His advice? 

Plant trees! 

And then, go ahead . . . hug one or two. It'll feel good.

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