Here's 5 Reasons Why Australia's Urban Environment Needs More Trees
Urbanisation and the changing climate is a challenge on a global scale that affects the health and well-being of people, animals and our planet. Research in the past 30 years has demonstrated how trees in our landscapes benefit people and the environment.
The Australian Government's climate action goal is to reduce emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030 (Paris Agreement). Corporates and individuals are stepping up their carbon offsetting endeavours to protect the environment.
What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting entails an active participation in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to attenuate personal carbon footprint or to offset an emission made elsewhere. Many corporates offer carbon offsets for purchase, which is than used to neutralise the environmental damage caused by the manufacturing process and the use of their products. Other offsetting endeavours are voluntary, and taken up by non-profit organisations, as well as, individuals and local communities.
Other than being mindful of their carbon footprint, Australians are opting for a simple and effective way of offsetting emissions by planting more trees. This is largely because trees have quantifiable environmental, social and economic benefits unmatched by other offsetting techniques.
Why trees are seminal in bolstering the environment of urban Australia
1. Trees purify the air sustainably
Did you know ozone is reduced by 3-7% with every 10% increase in urban canopy?
This means planting more trees and letting mature trees grow significantly improves air quality in urban Australia. This is because trees remove excess carbon and other greenhouse gases from the air and store it as cellulose in the bark, branches and leaves through a process known as sequestration. Furthermore, research has shown a 60% reduction in particulate matter from car exhausts in streets lined with trees. Therefore planting more trees in urban landscapes is a simple and cost-effective strategy to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality.
2. Trees have a positive impact on mental health
The presence of greenery is known to alleviate many lifestyle problems like asthma, hypertension and other stress-related issues. This is because trees filter out polluted air, reduce incidences of smog and provide a calm setting to regain your mental composure.
According to a Harvard study, greenery prompts more physical activities and social interaction, leading to a marked decrease in depression and stress in teens and young adults (about 11%). It's important to note that the study linked vegetation density and mental health, but vegetation density was not simply limited to trees.
If you've been waiting to engage in more eco-friendly activities, this is your impetus to create the garden you've always wanted and enjoy the tranquility of your space.
3. Trees, greenery and longevity
Another Harvard study published in Environmental Health Perspectives reported that trees and greenery had a positive effect on the lives of 111,000 women over 8 years. The researchers found that women who lived near vegetation-dense areas had a 12% lower non-accidental death rate than those who lived in areas with less green cover. The increase in life span was linked to reduced respiratory diseases and incidences of cancer.
4. Trees shield us from UV rays
Approximately two in three Australians are likely to be diagnosed with skin-cancer by the time they're 70. According to the Cancer Council of Australia, skin cancers account for 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers each year. Skin cancer is caused when skin cells are damaged from exposure to the UV rays of the sun.
Therefore planting more trees on streets, playgrounds and backyards can reduce exposure to UV B rays by 50% and subsequently decrease the skin cancer risk in Australians.
5. Trees help to conserve energy
According to Rob McDonald, lead scientist for global cities at Nature Conservancy, trees play a predominant part in keeping temperatures down and prompting rainfall in major U.S. cities. A study of 245 cities around the world published by the Nature Conservancy in October 2016 found that urban trees can reduce summer temperatures by as much as 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Did you know that planting a minimum of three trees around a single family home can reduce summer air conditioning needs by at least 50%. By reducing the energy demands in our houses, we can also reduce emission of carbon dioxide and hydrofluorocarbons, which are responsible for climate change.
The environmental benefits of trees can't be undermined, especially in a rapidly urbanizing country like Australia. Four years ago, Sydney and Melbourne were flagged as cities with the least green cover in Australia, which makes it even more important to increase trees in urban landscapes. Remember, trees have a crucial role in the environmental, social, and economical sustainability of urban environments by reducing pollution, facilitating social interactions and producing jobs in active offsetting projects.
Join us to green up urban Australia! We're proud to provide nature lovers and health conscious Australians with high-quality trees to help minimise the impacts of rapid urbanisation and create a sustainable future today.