OK , I admit it, I’m a tree hugger! I absolutely love our walks in the New Forest, picking out the different types of trees, and taking in their grandeur. I like to think how long they have been there, the changing times they have seen and I find them absolutely breathtaking in their regal beauty and splendour.
A sense of calmness descends on when I am in the forest, and I swear I can hear the trees breathing as I walk among them.
If I had to name a favourite, it would probably be the Oak. Oak trees are one of the UK’s best known species and one of the most loved trees in the world, being a symbol of strength, morale, resistance and knowledge. It grows slowly, and is often associated with honor, nobility and wisdom because of its size and longevity. Oaks are known to live for over 300 years. They can support over 280 species of insects, and provide food for many birds and other animals.
But all trees are important. They are vital to life. Not just for humans but for all life on earth. Being the largest plants on the planet, they give us the oxygen we need to breathe, they store carbon, stabilise the soil and give life to animals. And that’s even before we start thinking about giving us materials for making tools and shelter.
Trees improve soil and water conservation, they moderate local climate by providing shade for life to grow, they regulate temperature extremes and increase wildlife preservation by providing a habitat and home for much of our wildlife.
Without trees out climate would be drastically altered both now and in the future. Trees act as water pumps, they suck water from the soil and deposit it into the atmosphere by transforming it from liquid to vapour. In this way, trees contribute to cloud formation and rain.
Trees also prevent flooding by trapping water rather than letting it torrent into lakes and rivers, and by acting as a natural buffer in coastal communities from storm surges. They keep soil in place that would otherwise wash away in rain, and their root structures help microbial communities thrive.
Without trees, formerly forested areas would become drier and more prone to extreme droughts. When rain did come, flooding would be disastrous. Massive erosion would impact oceans, smothering coral reefs and other marine habitats. Islands stripped of trees would lose their barriers to the ocean, and would be washed away.
Even without all this, life on earth could not exist if we didn’t have trees, being as they produce most of the oxygen that we need. Without trees, we could not survive because the air would be filthy and unsuitable for breathing.
But trees are endangered all over the world and in desperate need of immediate conservation action. Think for a moment of those terrifying pictures of the Amazon forests annihilating hundreds of thousands of acres of forest that dominated the news in 2019. The burning has not stopped, even though coronavirus has far surpassed the fires in news worthiness since then.
So trees are life! But, what can we do as individuals to try and protect and ultimately save them? Here are a few ideas but please feel free to give me your own in the comments:
Go paperless : Ask that your bills and correspondence are sent by email instead.
Only buy paper products that use alternative sources to tree pulp such as bamboo which is a sustainable resource. Bamboo and sugarcane are grasses (not hardwoods) and they can grow extremely quickly with very little light and water.
Use your printer less. Store information on your computer or phone. Get a portable hard drive to back-up your files. And always print double-sided.
When buying wood products, look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified. FSC is a third-party council that sets standards for forest products that have been sourced in an environmentally-friendly, socially responsible and economically viable manner.
Invest in a Kindle instead of buying new paperback books. If you can’t bear to say goodbye to paper books, borrow from the library, buy used, or arrange a book swap at the work or with friends and family.
Read newspapers and magazines online. Most offer a better yearly online subscription rate than buying the paper version.
Send cards by email rather than the paper version. E-cards are great and most are free!
Re-use gift bags and gift wrap or give your gift in a re-usable bag.
Plant trees. Volunteer to plant trees or donate to tree planting organisations. Some online companies are even offering to plant a tree for every order received!
Use a reusable mug for takeaways coffees or if you can’t, give the paper up back to the coffee company to recycle .
Buy used wood furniture instead of brand new. You’ll save trees and money!
Don’t use paper towels in public bathrooms. Use the hand dryer.
Buy recycled kitchen paper towels instead of ones made from tree pulp.
Educate your children on tree conservation. Pass along your tree conservation tips to your family, friends and colleagues.
Trees have always been a wonderful part of my life and I want them to be still here for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. Can you imagine a life without trees? No, I can’t either so let’s do our utmost to do what we can to make sure that never happens. 🌳If you liked this post please read: 50 Small Ways to Make a Big Difference 20 Sustainable & Ethical Companies To Try Reasons to Think About Becoming a Vegetarian