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Tag Archive | "trees"



From the Editors of E – The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: How is that being around trees and other plants can help us feel good?

  — Amy Mola, Greenville, SC

Trees are known to improve air quality by capturing six common air pollutants and toxic gases: ground-level ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and lead. In fact, a single tree can absorb 10 pounds of air pollutants per year. In a study published in 2014, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms. The researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year.

“We found that, in general, the greater the tree cover, the greater the pollution removal, and the greater the removal and population density, the greater the value of human health benefits,” says Dave Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service.

More recently a 2015 study from the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) in Barcelona, Spain found that children exposed to more greenery—as measured by satellite imagery of their schools and neighborhoods—demonstrated better attention skills and memory development. While the association was partly mediated by reductions in air pollution, Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, one of the study’s authors, noted that he and the study’s other researchers don’t think it’s all air pollution: “I think it’s also some kind of direct effect… you see quite a beneficial effect of green space on mental health.”

Numerous recent studies have focused on the positive effects that exposure to trees and nature has on our mental health. A recent study published in the journal Nature combined satellite imagery, individual tree data, and health surveys from 31,109 residents of the greater Toronto, Canada area, and found that people who live in areas with higher street tree density report better health perception compared with their peers living in areas with lower street tree density.

“People have sort of neglected the psychological benefits of the environment,” says Marc G. Berman, an author of the study and professor of psychology at the University of Chicago. “I’m very interested in how the physical environment affects the brain and behavior.”

Such studies correlate to the “biophilia hypothesis” associated with German-born American psychoanalyst Erich Fromm and Harvard evolutionary biologist Edward O. Wilson. The hypothesis proposes that humans have evolutionary biological and psychological needs attached with the natural world. According to the book, The Biophilia Hypothesis, co-edited by Wilson and Yale social ecology professor Stephen R. Kellert, relentless environmental destruction could have a significant impact on our psychological and spiritual quality of life.

“Why do people bring flowers to the hospital all the time? Is it just superficial? Is it just a nice gesture, nice but not important? I would suggest that it is a much deeper recognition of the healing effects associated with affirming life,” Kellert told Yale 360. With over 80 percent of Americans living in urban areas, this newer research implies an indispensable need for growth and implementation in urban tree planting, urban greening and biophilic design in educational institutions and places of business for enriched physical and mental health.

EarthTalk® is produced by Doug Moss & Roddy Scheer and is a registered trademark of Earth Action Network Inc. View past columns at: www.earthtalk.org. Or e-mail us your question: earthtalk@emagazine.com. 

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City receives tree planting grant

The Michigan Forestry and Park Association announced last month that the City of Cedar Springs has received a Community Tree Planting great from Consumers Energy in the amount of $2,900.

According the city’s interim DPW supervisor Al Kensil, they will plant 30 trees—15 Maple, 10 Pear, and 5 Dogwood trees. Some of them will replace the Ash trees they removed on Main Street due to the emerald ash borer. “They were dying,” he explained.

Others will be planted at Veterans Park and various areas around the city.

They will pick up the trees on Monday, October 29, and must have them planted by November 16. The grant will be awarded once the project is completed.

Consumers Energy serves 1.8 million customers in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.

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Celebrate National Arbor Day by planting trees!

Get 10 free shade trees when you join the Arbor Day Foundation

National Arbor Day is April 29 this year, and the best way to celebrate is by planting trees. The Arbor Day Foundation is making it easy for everyone to celebrate the tree planters’ holiday. Everyone who joins the Foundation in April will receive 10 free shade trees.

National Arbor Day and Michigan’s Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April, which is April 29 this year.

By joining the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation in April, you will receive the following trees: red oak, sugar maple, weeping willow, baldcypress, thornless honeylocust, pin oak, river birch, tuliptree, silver maple and red maple. The free trees are part of the Foundation’s Trees for America campaign.

“These trees will provide shade in the summer and magnificent color throughout the fall,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. “By the simple act of planting trees, a person can make a positive impact on the earth and a deep, meaningful connection to nature. When you plant a tree, you’re giving a gift for future generations.”

The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting in April or May with enclosed planting instructions. The 6- to 12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge.

To become a member of the Foundation and receive the free trees, send a $10 contribution to TEN FREE SHADE TREES, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Avenue, Nebraska City, NE 68410, by April 30, 2011, or visit www.arborday.org/april.

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