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How Planting Trees Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Joseph Coppolino | Aug 10, 2019 | 3 min read

Why Planting Trees Helps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

There are many ways you can reduce the size of your carbon footprint: bike to work, adopt a sustainable diet, turn down your thermostat, recycle. All of which are great. But there is one way to reduce your emissions and also make your property and community more beautiful, improve water quality, and provide numerous economic and social benefits... planting trees!

Wondering how? Here are just a few ways in which trees can help to flatten carbon emissions:

1 Tree sequesters 48lbs of carbon dioxide per year

1. Trees Absorb Carbon

Every living thing on Earth is made up of four basic elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Those four elements make up about 96% of your body, and most of a tree's roots, trunk, branches, and leaves.

While we humans get most of our carbon from food, trees breathe it in (just like we breathe in oxygen). But when a tree breathes, it inhales carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen — the exact opposite of humans. And as a tree matures, it can consume 22lbs of carbon dioxide per year (among other greenhouse gases like ozone), and release enough oxygen for you to breathe for 2 years!

Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen in its stead also helps limit global warming, providing for a cleaner, healthier climate.

By planting trees, you can help clean the air and fight climate change!

Trees in the city

2. Trees Help to Save Energy

Trees are important in helping to save energy by providing shadein urban environments, as they can lower temperatures in cities. According the to EPA, the shade from trees, in combination with the water vapor they release, can reduce peak temperatures by as much as 20–45°F (11–25°C) compared to unshaded areas.

And when shade is cast onto an office building or home, internal temperatures can drop 8–10°F. Some estimates say the shade from a single tree can save the same amount of energy it takes to power 10 room-sized air conditioners for 20 hours a day!

And a tree's energy saving abilities don't stop during the winter. Trees provide important windbreaks around buildings to reduce heat loss by as much as 50%, lowering heating costs and energy consumption — and saving you money!

This reduction in energy goes a long way when it comes to shrinking your carbon footprint, because over 1/3 of U.S. carbon emissions are caused by the production of electricity.

Central park in New York

3. Benefits of Trees: Beyond Carbon Offsets

Helping to reduce and offset carbon emissions is only one aspect of how trees help improve our lives. Some of the other benefits of trees are:

  • Trees can absorb and retain water. As rainwater falls, much of it gets picked up by trees, preventing it from overwhelming storm drains. On average, a mature tree in a city can absorb up to 1,000 gallons of rainfall every year that would otherwise need to be pumped and filtered. In New York City, urban trees help retain nearly 900 million gallons of rainwater annually, saving the city more than $35 million dollars in stormwater management costs.
  • Trees also provide social and economic, such as creating jobs and helping to raise people out of poverty and achieve sustainable development, which ultimately improves our environment.
  • Trees also provide health benefits, providing medicine and helping clean air.

If you want to learn more about the benefits of trees, checkout our Six Pillars on why trees are important.

Plant One Tree Today

If you're looking to reduce your carbon footprint and give back to the planet, trees are one of the most effective and personally beneficial ways to do it. A nicer home, a better environment, and more money in your wallet.

Those are some pretty good reasons to plant a tree.

Know Your Carbon Emissions

Want more facts about your carbon footprint?
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Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most
Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

Plant Trees Where They're Needed Most

As the need for reforestation is global and ever-changing, we feature where trees are most needed now. Today, we're raising funds to create community forest spaces across England. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Invite educational opportunities by engaging local schools
  • Create publicly accessible woodlands for community spaces
  • Increase forest connectivity for native biodiversity
  • England, in the United Kingdom, used to have abundant forest coverage, but changes in land use have caused significant deforestation. In addition to being critical to protecting the climate, forests also build community. This reforestation project will be a highly engaging, community-led initiative to create educational opportunities, volunteer planting events, and public spaces so that everyone, including the most marginalized communities, can enjoy England's native flora and fauna.Thank you so much for your support of healthy forests! 🌲
  • These more than one million trees will make a significant climate impact, sequestering carbon and creating climate resilience by mitigating flooding and the effects of pollution. This project supports increased access to public woodland, especially for communities in need, with opportunities for community engagement and improved public health. Organizations like Forest School and Woodland Outreach will be able to integrate the project with school education to get children out in nature.
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates about this project, so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • Our partner has chosen native trees that will bring the greatest overall benefit to the area. This includes the following: Pedunculate/Common Oak, Downy Birch, Hazel, Hawthorn, Small-leaved lime, Rowan, Silver Birch, Common Alder, Aspen, Goat Willow, Field Maple, Hornbeam, Beech, Blackthorn and tens more.

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