There are more than 60,000 different types of trees in the world. Which one is your favorite? Remember it well, because it might not be around for much longer!
While there are an estimated 3.04 trillion trees in the world, we lose about 27 soccer fields worth of trees every minute. That said, you can play a part in changing that! The internet is banding together to plant 20 million trees by the end of the year, and if you want to help out, all you have to do is visit teamtrees.org where you can plant a tree for just 1$.
And if you don’t have a dollar to spare, then get the word out by sharing this video! There are 7.7 billion people on the planet, 130 million people are born every year, which is about roughly 250 births a minute.
This means that on any given day, there could be about 350,000 people celebrating a birthday. So yes, we’re talking about planting a lot of trees. But we could certainly use them!
Why? How much do you like breathing?
Trees and plants produce the air we breathe. But if that’s not good enough for you, they’re also natural heaters, air conditioners, noise reducers, mood improvers, flood preventers, and property value increasers.
Oh, and they also absorb harmful carbon emissions that are warming our planet and endangering our lives. Given the state of our environment, how many trees will be enough to save us?
To put it in perspective, you would need one trillion, five hundred and forty-five billion trees to absorb all the emissions that were produced in 2010. But could we reach that goal if everyone planted a tree on their birthday?
With the average global lifespan at 72 years old. That means that everyone plants, give or take, 72 trees in their lifetime.
Assuming our population stays about the same, and we don’t pollute any more than we do now, it would take two-and-a-half generations of continuous birthday tree planting to finally plant 1.5 trillion trees… Even if that timeline was possible, this massive tree planting effort would require a land area the size of Asia, Europe and Australia combined!
But that’s no reason to be discouraged. There are more trees on the planet now than there were 30 years ago. And studies show that there’s enough suitable land on Earth to increase the number of trees by a third without it impacting our agriculture or cities.
But while a massive tree-planting project could erase almost 100 years of carbon emissions, it would also take 100 years to grow all these forests to a suitable size. But with the world’s population expected to be at 11 billion in 100 years, now might be a good time to start planting.
Right now, roughly half of the world’s population lives in cities, and that figure is expected to rise to about 70% by 2050. This means that cities will have to expand, and develop the surrounding countryside. This means fewer trees and even more greenhouse gases.
We’re going to need a lot of trees if we hope to build large, sustainable cities. Just one tree can produce enough oxygen for four people; while 100 million trees can absorb 18 million tons of carbon dioxide, and save $4 billion a year in air conditioning costs.
Urban density has a huge impact on the local temperature. In cities with a million people or more, it can be as high as 12°C (22°F) hotter than out in the country, because pavement and concrete are natural heat absorbers.
But trees are a welcome relief, not only by offering shade, but they also release water vapor from their leaves.
Trees are effective against cold weather too. As natural windbreakers, they can reduce heating costs for families by as much as 25%!
So with their natural climate control abilities, and their ability to soften the noise of dense city traffic, you can probably guess why trees are natural stress relievers as well! But despite all these benefits, you can have too much of a good thing.
To protect themselves against environmental stresses like insect infestations and extreme heat, trees release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can react with other chemicals in the air to produce methane and ozone. So in their own little way, too many trees can also pose a risk to the environment.
Now, it’s highly unlikely for everyone on Earth to plant a tree on their birthday. But something that isn’t unlikely is planting 20 million trees. Once again you can go to teamtrees.org where every dollar you donate means 1 tree will be planted.
Right now, we’re losing 7.3 million hectares (18.7 million acres) of forest every year, which is an area roughly the size of Panama; while a lot of massive tree-planting projects are being stymied by political or economic conflicts, not to mention geographic limitations!
But as long as you have a backyard, a handful of seeds, and the right climate, you can make a big difference by planting just one small tree. So give it a try!
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