HOW PLANTING TREES CAN HELP REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
When you plant trees, you don't just make your property or your community nicer. You also directly reduce your carbon footprint. To a large extent, trees eat carbon dioxide. However, in addition to that benefit, you can also plant trees in a way to help you save energy and generate even less carbon.
NATURAL CARBON EATERS
Every living thing on earth is made up of four basic elements -- carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. They make up about 96 percent of your body, and they make up most of a tree's roots, trunk, branches and leaves as well. We get our carbon by eating it through our mouths. Trees, on the other hand, breathe it in the way that we breathe in oxygen. When a tree breaths, it inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen -- the exact opposite of what humans do. This natural process helps to clean the air.
When you plant trees, you are directly cleaning the air. As a tree matures, it can consume 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year as it turns that CO2 into parts of itself. It also releases enough oxygen to supply your needs for two years. These two effects help to give the earth a healthier climate.
Beyond the basic biology of trees, they also reduce your carbon footprint in multiple ways. Here are some of the many environmental benefits of planting trees:
If you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint, planting trees is one of the most effective ways to do it. Along the way, you also beautify your house or office as well as potentially increase its value by as much as 20 percent. A nicer home, a better environment and more money in your wallet -- if those aren't reasons to plant trees, what is?
- A mature tree helps to reduce runoff in urban setting. As rainwater falls, much of it gets picked up by trees, preventing it from ending up in storm drains. On average, a mature tree can absorb up to 1,000 gallons of rainfall that would otherwise need to be pumped and filtered, requiring additional energy.
- Trees absorb ozone, which is an potent greenhouse gas. While ozone is helpful high up in the stratosphere, terrestrial production of the growth magnifies global climate change. Technically, this benefit doesn't reduce your carbon footprint, but its impact is the same.
- The shade for a single tree can save the same amount of energy as what 10 room-size air conditioners need to run for 20 hours a day.
- Using trees to provide windbreaks around your house can reduce your heating bill -- and the attendant energy consumption -- by 20 to 50 percent per year.
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