Growing Green for Earth Month: The Power of Trees in Restoring Our Planet
When it comes to our planet, Mother Earth is sending a very powerful message, urging us to take action. Nature is suffering, with oceans choked with plastic waste and extreme heat triggering devastating wildfires and floods that impact millions of people across the globe.
The need for immediate action against climate change has never been more important. And although the topic can be seriously overwhelming, the truth is we can't wait. It's time to answer the call and take steps towards a more sustainable and resilient future for ourselves and future generations. Because if not now, then when?
As we strive to raise awareness about the pressing issue of climate change and the need to do more to safeguard our planet, the month of April takes on special significance as Earth Month.
In a nutshell, Earth Month serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of environmental stewardship and sustainable practices in our daily lives. From what we eat to what we wear and how we shave, our day-to-day choices have never been so important.
How are trees connected to Earth Month?
Because trees play a crucial role in combating climate change and sustaining life on Earth, we delve into the 12 benefits of trees and why these majestic giants, standing tall and proud, are the lungs of our planet's ecosystem.
So let's dive in and discover the story of Earth Month and the incredible power of trees in restoring our planet.
From Earth Day to Earth Month
From its humble beginnings as a grassroots movement in 1970, Earth Day has left an indelible mark in history, serving as a catalyst for environmental action and driving positive change around the world.
What began as a small-scale event organised by passionate individuals concerned about environmental issues has grown into a global phenomenon observed annually on April 22nd.
Earth Day is a day for people around the world to come together and participate in various activities, events, and initiatives aimed at raising awareness and promoting actions to address environmental issues such as deforestation, pollution, the plastic catastrophe, and loss of biodiversity.
Activities held on Earth Day may include tree planting, clean-up campaigns and educational programs.
But because one day just isn’t enough, Earth Day has evolved into Earth Month.
The expansion of Earth Day into Earth Month reflects the growing recognition of the need for sustained efforts to address complex environmental challenges, and the desire to create a long-lasting impact beyond a single day. It allows for a more comprehensive approach to environmental engagement, empowering individuals and communities to take action, make positive changes in their lifestyles, and advocate for policies that support environmental protection and sustainability throughout the entire month of April.
Which brands are participating in Earth Month 2023?
Because climate change is on everyone's mind, many brands around the world are pushing Earth Month up the priority tree.
To celebrate Earth Month, Netflix has curated a collection of over 170 shows that focus on sustainability stories and the natural wonders that shape our planet. Tune in to discover everything from cooking shows to dramas, family titles, nature documentaries and climate fiction that fall under their “One World, Infinite Wonder” special.
The Netflix Earth Month collection reflects the fragility of our planet, but also how we can help it heal. To find out more, visit netflix.com/earthmonth.
When it comes to sustainable beauty, Lush is known for its iconic smell and for being an advocate for driving change. 90% of its packaging is now being recycled, including plastic and paper that’s 100% PCR. Half of its products need no packaging at all, and its Naked shop in Manchester is England’s first plastic packaging-free cosmetics shop. This Earth Day, Lush is donating 100% of the profits of their Charity Pot products to local charities and initiatives around the world.
On the other side of the globe, Make My Shave is the Australian-based, female-founded women’s razor brand championing a new era of shave care. Make My Shave provides a beautiful and more sustainable alternative to plastic disposable razors. Their female razor blends quality and function while planting trees across Australia. Alongside their sustainable packaging and recycling program, 5% of every razor subscription (both Starter Kit and Refill Kits) goes towards reforestation initiatives.
Only for Earth Month, new customers can save 20% on their first Starter Kit. To find out more visit makemyshave.com.au
12 reasons why trees are essential for our planet
1. Oxygen Production:
Trees are the original environmentalists and are often referred to as the "lungs of the Earth" because they tirelessly absorb carbon dioxide, purify the air, and release vital oxygen needed to sustain life on our planet.
While the amount of oxygen a tree produces can vary depending on its species, age, size, and environmental conditions, on average, a mature tree can produce enough oxygen to meet the needs of between two to ten people per year.
Fun fact: Did you know that trees do not release oxygen constantly throughout the day and night?
During daylight hours, trees utilise sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water to perform photosynthesis and produce oxygen as a byproduct. However, during nighttime or when there is limited sunlight, trees switch to respiration, where they consume oxygen and release carbon dioxide, similar to the respiration process that occurs in humans and animals.
2. Carbon Sequestration:
The accumulation of excess carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere is a huge and pressing concern, as it contributes to the ongoing challenge of climate change. The relentless rise in CO2 emissions is altering our planet's delicate balance, causing shifts in weather patterns, disrupting ecosystems, and threatening the future of our planet.
Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, through the process of carbon sequestration.
Trees act as natural carbon sinks. They absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the air. By their very nature, trees help to mitigate the impacts of climate change by reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
3. Climate Regulation:
Trees play a crucial role in regulating local and global climates. Not only do our beautiful leafy friends provide shade, which helps to cool the environment and reduce the urban heat island effect, but trees also release moisture through a process called transpiration, which helps to regulate humidity and precipitation patterns.
The connection between biodiversity and trees is critical for maintaining healthy and functioning ecosystems.
Biodiversity provides essential ecosystem services, such as pollination, nutrient cycling, water purification, and pest control, which are vital for human well-being and the sustainability of ecosystems.
Trees, as keystone species in many ecosystems, play a pivotal role in supporting and maintaining biodiversity, making them a key component of conservation efforts and sustainable land management practices.
They provide food, shelter, and nesting sites for a diverse array of wildlife including the endangered koala.
5. Soil Conservation:
Tree roots help to hold the soil together, preventing erosion and protecting against the loss of fertile topsoil.
The canopy of trees also acts as a natural buffer, reducing the impact of heavy rainfall on the soil surface. Tree canopies intercept rainfall, reducing the speed and force of raindrops hitting the soil, which can help prevent soil compaction and erosion. Additionally, the leaves of trees act as a natural mulch, covering the soil surface and reducing evaporation, which helps to retain moisture in the soil and prevent erosion.
Trees also contribute to soil conservation by improving soil fertility. As trees shed leaves and branches, they provide organic matter that decomposes and enriches the soil with nutrients. This enhances soil fertility, supporting the growth of other plants and promoting healthy soil ecosystems.
6. Water Quality:
When it comes to maintaining water quality, trees play an important role.
They help to filter pollutants from the air and rainwater, reducing the impact of pollution on rivers, lakes, and groundwater sources.
Tree roots also have the ability to absorb and store excess nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, reducing nutrient pollution in water bodies. Additionally, trees provide shade, regulate water temperature, and enhance riparian buffers, which are critical for protecting water quality.
7. Renewable Resource:
Trees are a renewable resource that can be sustainably harvested for timber, paper, and other wood-based products.
Responsible forestry practices can ensure a continuous supply of wood while protecting forest ecosystems.
According to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests, The two major global forest certification bodies are the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) schemes and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Both the PEFC and FSC are internationally recognised forest certification networks that provide recognition of regional and national standards that meet their criteria for sustainable forest management.
8. Aesthetics and Liveability:
If you’ve been lucky enough to spend time in nature, you will know just how important trees are for the planet.
They enhance the aesthetic appeal of landscapes, providing shade, beauty, and a sense of serenity. Think of the vast beauty of Sydney’s Blue Mountains or Queensland’s National Parks that overflow with spectacular waterfalls, lush rainforest and invaluable ancient trees.
Trees in urban areas also help to improve air quality, reduce noise pollution, and create cooler microclimates, making cities more liveable. Think of the life that Hyde Park brings to Sydney, Edinburgh Gardens to Melbourne and Kings Park brings to Perth!
9. Cultural Heritage:
In Australia, Bushland refers to the diverse range of natural vegetation types, including forests, woodlands, and heathlands, that are characteristic of Australia's unique landscapes.
Australia's bushland has deep cultural significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have a spiritual connection to the land and its natural resources.
Many Indigenous communities rely on bushland for their cultural practices, traditional food sources, and medicinal plants.
Preserving Australia's bushland is crucial for protecting the important cultural heritage and traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples.
10. Health and Well-being:
There is no doubt that the consequences of climate change are now playing out in real-time.
In addition to the physical risks of climate change, with the devastating effects of bushfires and flooding, the impact of climate change also affects mental health and the fabric of our communities.
Spending time in nature and being around trees has been shown to have numerous health benefits and a profound influence on our well-being.
Trees contribute to cleaner air by absorbing pollutants and releasing oxygen, which supports respiratory health and can reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses.
In addition to providing beautiful backdrops for activities such as walking, hiking and camping, research has also shown that exposure to nature and green spaces, including trees, can have a positive impact on mental health, reducing stress, anxiety and depression, and promoting overall well-being.
11. Medicine and Pharmaceuticals:
Trees play a crucial role in the medical industry, offering a plethora of natural benefits handed down from our beautiful Mother Earth.
Many pharmaceuticals are derived from tree species. The bark of the Pacific yew tree contains a compound called Taxol, which has been used in the treatment of breast, lung, and ovarian cancer.
A tree species that are native to Australia and has made significant contributions to modern medicine and continues to be a valuable resource in the field of healthcare, is the tea tree - otherwise known as Melaleuca alternifolia.
The essential oil derived from the leaves of the tea tree has powerful antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties, making it a key ingredient in many medicinal and skincare products. Tea tree oil is commonly used in topical treatments for skin conditions such as acne, fungal infections, and insect bites. It is also used in mouthwashes, toothpaste, and other oral care products due to its powerful antibacterial properties.
12. Future Generations:
Trees are essential for the health and well-being of future generations.
By protecting and preserving trees today, we are ensuring that future generations will continue to enjoy the countless benefits that trees provide, including clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment.
Trees are the ultimate multitaskers, casting shade on hot days, rustling in the breeze like nature's orchestra, and showing off their vibrant colours in the fall. Trees are living history books, with their rings revealing tales of time passed. They're nature's playground, inviting us to climb their branches, swing from their vines, and hide in their leafy canopies.
Trees are the green lungs of the Earth, a source of inspiration, awe, and wonder that reminds us of the beauty and majesty of the natural world.
As we celebrate Earth Month, let us recognise the importance of trees and take action to protect and preserve these essential natural resources for present and future generations to come. Because no tree means no me.
Together, we can make a positive impact on our planet and ensure a healthier and more sustainable future.
So what else can you do to protect the planet this Earth Month?
- Support brands that are truly dedicated to making a positive impact on the planet. If they promote sustainability but aren’t clear on their policies, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask.
- Choose brands and products that do not support testing on animals.
- Choose brands that do more than just sell products - do they provide a 1 for 1 program, use sustainable packaging, or donate a portion of profits to environmental causes?
- Reduce personal and office consumption through the 3 R's — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Reduce your overall plastic consumption - swap the plastic water bottle and go reusable, ditch disposable razors and switch to Make My Shave
- Attend a beach cleanup, or plan your own
- Decide to lead a more sustainable lifestyle
Because if not now, then when?