I am running as fast as I can toward the back left corner of a wide open green field. The sun is beaming down, the sky is a clear blue, and I can see my favorite tree in the distance. The entrance to ascend the tree is hidden among a few smaller trees and bushes. I push my way past their branches and reach the old tire swing that marks the easiest path for climbing into the tree. I quickly ascend into the oak tree's sturdy and welcoming branches, pulling and climbing my way up as high as I can go to the perfect perching spot. I sit and look out over the field, the houses, sheds, and barns that dot my granny's property. I am secure and at peace in this tree.
I have always loved climbing trees. To this day, I still love climbing trees and do so whenever the chance arises. There is something about the way the bark feels against my hands that wakes something up inside of me. Perhaps it's that inner tom boy or maybe it's the physical connection to nature and the trust I feel knowing that the branches will hold me up.
Actually, trees just amaze me in general. I believe they are one of the most interesting life forms on this planet. They provide a spectacular red, orange, and yellow display in the fall. They withstand freezing temperatures, brutal winds, and get covered in ice in the winter. Somehow they still bring forth new leaves in the spring. They are patient, and they consistently and miraculously obey their cycle.
Our saving grace
The most interesting thing I have learned about trees recently is that they are the the best "technology" for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere thus reversing the effects of global warming. Of course, cutting carbon emissions is the fastest way to do this, but of the techniques explored in a study from Oxford, trees rank number one for effectiveness and cost.
Where are all the trees going?
The scary part about this fact is that we are currently losing our world's forests at an alarming rate. Somewhere between 46 and 58 thousand square miles is being lost each year. That's roughly the size of 36 football fields per minute! Most of the deforestation is occurring in the rain forests of the world such as those in Indonesia and Brazil with the primary driving factor being agriculture. A workable solution to deforestation on the commercial and governmental level is to carefully manage the cutting of trees by balancing it with roughly an equal number of new trees being planted to replace the old ones.
How can I help?
There are Small Acts you can take as well toward combating deforestation, helping reduce the effects of global warming, and even prevent the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere.
- Purchase one of these Arbor Foundation Cards. They have them for a variety of occasions. The purchase of one card equals one tree planted!
- If you're feeling very inspired you can organize an Arbor Day Foundation Tree Planting Project
- Spend $10 and save 1 tonne of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, not to mention protecting existing forests and habitats.
- Practice Small Acts that reduce your own carbon footprint such as walking, biking, carpooling, using public transportation, eliminating food waste in your home, turning off lights and electronics when not in use, and so many more.
We're in it together
We've got a long way to go to change our habits and reverse the damage we, as humans, have caused to our planet. This damage, if not reversed, will ultimately be a detriment to our own health and well-being. Luckily, every Small Act we practice counts towards that shift, and I have hope that we can make this change in our habits and behavior together.