One of the greatest things you can do for your environment, besides picking up trash and recycling, is planting trees. While cleaning up the area is also a really important way to help the environment, at the end of the day, it’s basically us humans taking back the negative effects that we cast on the earth. When we plant trees though, we give the earth something positive! There’s a small, but a prominent difference between the two, so I highly suggest that if you ever get the chance to contribute positively to the environment (as opposed to removing something negative), do take the opportunity!
Tree Plantation Drive, Islamabad
On the 23rd of July, the Student Society that I am a part of arranged a tree plantation drive. After gathering funds from students, orders were placed for trees. Just to give you an idea of how it all went about, we collected a minimum of Rs 100/ person (about 1 USD) and the saplings we could purchase ranged from:
Fruit Trees: Rs 100
Alistonia: Rs 100
China Sapium: Rs 80
Sukh Chain: Rs 150
Jacaranda: Rs 150-400
Amla: Rs 1000
We decided not to go for fruit trees as they require a lot of work and instead opted for cheap and sturdy types like Sukh Chain. After all, we wouldn’t be able to go check up on the plants or be able to provide them with the regular care they would need.After all, what could you expect from medical students? I think the fact that we managed to gather quite a bit of money, purchase plants, arrange this trip and also plant the saplings was quite an accomplishment. It was a really warm and humid day. It had been raining all evening the previous day and also showered a bit in the morning, but by the time it was noon, it was back to the old hot weather of summer with the added humidity.
While going around and helping plant saplings and tie them to a support, I couldn’t help but wonder how amazing it would look to pass by this place, maybe ten or twenty years from now, and see a whole forest of trees? And how would it feel knowing that we had planted them? It would probably be a great feeling and I think it gives a heavy weight to one of my new favorite quotes, a Chinese proverb:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
Another question that pops up in my mind is: what exactly are the benefits of trees? We all know that trees are really important for the environment and that they help us breathe by producing oxygen and getting rid of carbon dioxide, but what else do they do? Why are trees also considered a natural resource? How does planting trees end up helping an entire community, or even the entire country?
5 Benefits of Planting Trees
- Trees provide an aesthetic that is not only pleasing but also calming. Having trees in the area helps to reduce stress levels, not just by appearing pleasant, but also by serving as a sound barrier. Planting trees around highways or other loud areas, such as an airport, can help filter out the noise and keep residential areas quiet.
- Trees don’t only filter out noise, but they can also filter out dust, smog, and other heavy particles in the air along with carbon dioxide. Planting trees around industrial areas and factories is an overall win-win strategy that can help contain a lot of pollution around these industries and also keep the surrounding communities safe.
- Wait, you know what else trees can filter? Sunlight and heat. By absorbing sunlight and providing shade, trees are able to reduce the heat absorbed by concrete and pavements and thus overall reduce the temperature of an area, compared to an open concrete lot that spends the entire day cooking. Planting trees around these parking lots and sidewalks is a great way to bring down the temperature induced by the unnatural floor we construct on the earth.
- Trees also hold on to the soil that they are settled in and prevent it from sloughing off during heavy rains and monsoons, a concept known as erosion. By keeping the soil down, the trees prevent important nutrients from being flushed away and also prevent flooding from happening further downstream thanks to the added soil in the muddy water. It also helps to prevent the soil from sedimenting into places that soil is not supposed to be in, such as at the bottom of dams, reducing the overall volume of water storage.
- Last but not least, trees are a habitat for various birds and animals. By giving more trees to the environment, we are giving these creatures safe places to live in and eat from. As a result, the natural wildlife of an area can flourish and we can keep our furry neighbors safe from extinction!
Regardless of the reason that you plant a tree, it doesn’t change the feeling of accomplishment that you get at the end. Please consider planting trees in your area (if possible) or joining plantation drives in your cities. It’s well worth the effort!