For Tree People

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I am a tree person. I am constantly looking for ways to describe the stately beauty of a tree, so I love the words of William Blake:

The tree, which moves some to tears of joy, is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the person of imagination, nature is imagination itself.

I have always loved trees and found comfort under their spreading branches. Apparently, I am not alone in my love of trees. A website called treepeople.org agrees with me about the eternal value of trees.

If you’re interested in the more practical side of tree-loving, treepeople.org suggests these fourteen reasons to plant, care for, and defend a tree’s standing. Some of them might surprise you.

Trees combat climate change
In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.

Trees clean the air
Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide, ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

Trees provide oxygen
In one year, an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.

Trees conserve energy
Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent.

Trees save water and help prevent soil erosion
Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week.Β On hillsides or stream slopes, trees slow runoff and hold soil in place.

Trees provide food and create economic opportunity
An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on the tiniest urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food for birds and wildlife. Fruit harvested from community orchards can be sold, thus providing income.

Trees heal
Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster and with less complications. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue.

Trees reduce violence
Neighborhoods and homes that are barren have shown to have a greater incidence of violence in and out of the home than their greener counterparts. Trees and landscaping help to reduce the level of fear.

Trees mark the seasons
Is it winter, spring, summer or fall? Look at the trees.

Trees add unity
Trees as landmarks can give a neighborhood a new identity and encourage civic pride.

Trees provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife
Sycamore and oak are among the many urban species that provide excellent urban homes for birds, bees, possums and squirrels.

Trees block things
Trees can mask concrete walls or parking lots, and unsightly views. They muffle sound from nearby streets and freeways, and create an eye-soothing canopy of green. Trees absorb dust and wind and reduce glare.

Trees provide wood
In suburban and rural areas, trees can be selectively harvested for fuel and craft wood.

Trees are teachers and playmates
Whether as houses for children or creative and spiritual inspiration for adults, trees have provided the space for human retreat throughout the ages.
Listen to the trees as they sway in the wind.
Their leaves are telling secrets. Their bark sings songs of olden days as it grows around the trunks. And their roots give names to all things.

― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

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