By Brian Merchant, Planet Green
When was a last time you stopped to give thanks to a tree? They do, after all, purify the air, provide shade, induce evapotranspiration, reduce stormwater runoff, cool the climate, aid in energy conservation, and amp up property values–all right in your very own neighborhood. And while trees that line your street provide all of those nifty services–many of which just so happen to be integral to our survival–they remain largely under-appreciated.
How often do you stroll by a tree-lined street, after all, and think “Thanks guys. Keep up the photosynthesis.” And not that you should be doing explicitly that, or saying something like that out loud (especially if you have neighborhood watch in your community), but a fundamental sense of appreciation of trees is indeed important in some senses, especially in urban areas.
Trees play a larger role in enhancing air quality and generally have a more powerful correlation with human health and well-being in dense urban areas; put simply, they’re far fewer in number in such places. Take, for example, New York City. The city is so tree-starved that Mayor Bloomberg announced an initiative to plant one million trees in vacant areas.
But community awareness must be kept high if such productive initiatives are to continue into the future. And one group that’s taken to keeping the importance of trees in the limelight is the nonprofit Root for Trees. Their mission, according to their website, is to use “art and creative campaigns to raise environmental consciousness. Our mission is to create a connection between people and nature. The intention is to reconnect city dwellers to their natural roots by calling their attention to one of nature’s most majestic symbols.”
To accomplish this, the group has a number of initiatives in place, including creating signage to remind folks of the value of trees. Anyhow, the group is on the rise, and is just getting started in their arboreal activism–especially if you live in New York, this is a group to watch.