–Dr. Seuss, The Lorax
I’m writing this late in the evening . It is Earth Day 2016 and activity regarding the day is over. Many cities and states will take advantage of the weekend tomorrow to also carry out Earth Day Celebrations and activities. Here in my area, the Earth Day, Mobile Bay takes place Saturday, April 23, 2016 with a day filled with activities, music, and vendors.
Earth Day activities presented by the Earth Day Network included coverage of the signing of the Paris Summit on Climate Control which was signed by 167 countries making commitments to reduce their carbon outputs by certain dates.
Countries will aim to keep global temperatures from rising more than 3.6°F by 2100 with an ideal target of keeping temperature rise below 2.7°F.
The deal will also encourage trillions of dollars of capital to be spent adapting to the effects of climate change—including infrastructure like sea walls and programs to deal with poor soil—and developing renewable energy sources like solar and wind power.
The Earth Day Network’s theme this year is “Trees For The Earth”. Their goal is to plant 7.8 Billion trees over the next 5 years. The organization and the movement will celebrate it’s 50th Anniversary in 2020; and are working on campaigns involving alternative energy, “green” building, sustainable cities, climate change, poverty, and more. They insist that these big problems require big action and long-term sustained effort.
When I heard that the theme was “planting trees”, I admit I wasn’t “bowled over”. Hell, the action of planting trees, handing out pine tree saplings, is as old as I am. We did it when I was in elementary school. (A 100-foot tree stands in the yard of my old homestead to this day) It seems like a throw-away gesture of no consequence. In fact, in my yard today, there are five trees, that I would like to cut down. Why in the hell, would I or should I plant another one? Give me something else to do. Can’t I do something big? Save the Polar Bears? Shut down a nuclear reactor plant? Build a park?
Sure, I can do those things. Big problems require big action. But, to make long-term, continued results sometimes requires small simple steps.
The folks at TreePeople tell me that trees can do some amazing things , other than drop leaves in my yard.
Trees combat climate change
Excess carbon dioxide (CO2) caused by many factors is a building up in our atmosphere and contributing to climate change. Trees absorb CO2, removing and storing the carbon while releasing the oxygen back into the air. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles.
Trees clean the air
Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.
Trees provide oxygen
In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people.
Trees cool the streets and the city
Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 6°F in the last 50 years as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased.
Trees cool the city by up to 10°F, by shading our homes and streets, breaking up urban “heat islands” and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves.
Trees conserve energy
Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can cut summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants.
Trees save water
Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns. Most newly planted trees need only fifteen gallons of water a week. As trees transpire, they increase atmospheric moisture.
Trees provide food
An apple tree can yield up to 15-20 bushels of fruit per year and can be planted on the tiniest urban lot. Aside from fruit for humans, trees provide food for birds and wildlife.
Studies have shown that patients with views of trees out their windows heal faster and with less complications. Children with ADHD show fewer symptoms when they have access to nature. Exposure to trees and nature aids concentration by reducing mental fatigue.
Trees reduce violence
Neighborhoods and homes that are barren have shown to have a greater incidence of violence in and out of the home than their greener counterparts. Trees and landscaping help to reduce the level of fear.
Trees increase property values
The beauty of a well-planted property and its surrounding street and neighborhood can raise property values by as much as 15 percent.
Besides recycling my aluminum cans and using fluorescent light bulbs, maybe I could plant a tree or two. Maybe the gesture does have consequence.
But no matter, it’s too late. Earth Day is almost over. Earth Day suffers the same malady that the Christmas Spirit suffers. For some reason people think that once the day is over, then the reason for the day is also gone. We will wait until next year, to get back into the spirit of Christmas. It’s almost midnight, I can’t plant a tree now, and the recycling center is closed–all those aluminum cans will have to go into the trash.
As long as you draw a breath, drink a bottle of water, eat food, wear clothes, drive a car, or turn on a light-bulb–then you need to realize that the actions you would have taken part in on Earth Day are indeed the actions you need to practice everyday. You may not accomplish it all; but doing just one thing a day to improve our life on Earth is worth your action. Whether the action takes place on Earth Day or a Monday.
The first Earth Day happened 46 years ago. To me, it seems like a lot less time has passed. The year 2o20 and the 50th Anniversary will be here in no time at all. We need to start and continue to make simple actions to save our home, this planet, our Earth; a part of our everyday life. It’s not being a “hippie tree-hugger”; a Communist, or a left-wing liberal. It’s being a good steward of the resources we have been given. It’s speaking for the planet, it’s speaking for the trees, because they have no tongues, it’s speaking for our fellow man.
We must continue to “speak for the trees”.
HAPPY EARTH DAY 2016
“ON THE ROAD WITH DAVE”!
Today’s blog entry featured a custom header banner celebrating Earth Day and a custom background featuring trees. A full-length screen grab will be available here to view the site as it appeared on this day.
Full-Length Screengrab provided by the Google Chrome Browser