Make like a tree, and breathe

 Make like a tree, and breathe

Never let anyone tell you 1% isn’t a big number. Consider a 2014 study by the U.S. Forest Service. For the first time, an estimate was produced to illustrate the cumulative air pollution removal effect by trees all across the country. What an undertaking! The Northern Research Station, which performed the study, reported, “While trees’ pollution removal equated to an average air quality improvement of less than 1 percent, the impacts of that improvement are substantial.” Let’s bring this to a human scale:

Lives saved annually = 850

That’s a lot of folks who matter to other folks. Aside from allowing those folks to remain among the living, the 1% effect also greatly enhances the quality of their lives:

Incidences of acute respiratory symptoms prevented annually = 670,000

The study was unprecedented in its scope to directly correlate tree’s air pollution removal effect nationally with better outcomes for health. A couple years before, a study was performed by the same organization – another first – to find such a correlation on a city-scale level. The result: “urban trees and forests are saving an average of one life every year per city. In New York City, trees save an average of eight lives every year.” Wow!

Take a deep breath. Now thank a tree. And how about doing something to increase the number of trees in your community? Plant a tree! The life you save could be your own.

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