If you live in Alberta, you’ll know that spring arrived early and hot, Stampede was rained out and our driest month of the year saw 20 days of monsoon-like rain and epic storms. Environmentalists everywhere are looking out over the landscape on yet another rainy summer day with the words “climate change” running through their minds like a ticker tape.
Ahhh, Climate Change – the 21st century buzz words used to describe all weather anomalies and natural disasters that occur in the world today. While the earth goes through natural cycles of warming and cooling, the increased average temperature (1.5°F in the past century) is said to be caused by the greenhouse gas emissions belched out by our industrialized civilization. Greenhouse gases trap energy in the atmosphere causing it to warm. The phenomenon is natural and necessary to support life on earth however the build-up of greenhouse gases can change the earth’s climate and result in dangerous effects to human health and welfare to ecosystems.
Leonardo DiCaprio used the very high profile moment of his Oscar acceptance speech to draw attention to climate change, calling it “the most urgent threat facing our entire species”. But is it really?? Or is it a hoax; a means for government to impose additional taxes on our hard earned money and curb our freedoms by imposing draconian measures of reform.
According to the Climate Change Business Journal, the global climate change industry is worth an annual $1.5 trillion; the world spends the equivalent shopping online every year. But when you shop online, you purchase things of your own volition because you have decided that it will make your life a little better. Buying stuff from the “climate change” industry is inescapable. It’s included in your taxes, your electricity bills, the price of your gas, the cost of your airline tickets and every other product you buy or service you use.
While there are compelling arguments for both sides, the actual purpose of this post is not to debate the validity of either but to suggest a potential solution to temper the effects of climate change.
While humanity must undeniably reform its polluting ways, what if we could GROW clean air?? And what if growing CLEAN AIR reduced our environmental impact??
Planting trees is not only a means of beautifying your property and community, but by doing so, you will also directly reduce your carbon footprint. Through the natural process of photosynthesis, trees absorb CO ² and other pollutant particulates, then store the carbon and emit pure oxygen. Simply put, trees inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen – the exact opposite of what humans do. This natural process helps to clean the air. As a tree matures, it can consume 48 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year and release enough oxygen to supply your needs for 2 years.
However, looking beyond the biology of trees, there are other environmental benefits to growing clean air.
- Mature trees help to reduce runoff in an urban setting by absorbing up to 1000 gallons of water that would otherwise end up in storm drains or lakes.
- The shade from a single tree can save the same amount of energy as what 10 room size air conditioners need to run for 20 hours per day.
- Using trees to provide windbreaks around your house can reduce your heating bill and related energy consumption by 20 – 50% per year.
- Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides, will keep your house cool in the summer and let the sun warm your home in the winter, reducing energy costs.
- Neighbourhoods with well-shaded streets can be up to 6-10°F cooler than those without street trees, reducing the heat-island effect and reducing energy needs.
- Shaded parking lots keep automobiles cooler, reducing emissions from fuel tanks and engines and help reduce the heat-island effect in communities.
Earlier this month on the global stage, with the Opening Ceremony of the Rio Olympics focused on our planet, the organizers found a way for nearly 11,000 athletes to leave their mark.
As athletes entered the stadium during the opening ceremonies, each received a seed and a cartridge to plant a native tree of Brazil. There were 207 species represented – one for each country in the Games. These trees will ultimately form the Athlete’s Forest and serve as a reminder that replanting forests should be universal.
In Canada, NATIONAL TREE DAY – SEPTEMBER 21, 2016 serves as a celebration for all Canadians to appreciate the great benefits that trees provide us – clean air, wildlife habitat, reducing energy demand and connecting with nature.
As with most controversial subjects, there is no end of varied opinions. But no matter what side of the fence you’re on; whether you believe that it is politics and not science that is driving the climate change debate, or that the sun is driving climate change and CO² is irrelevant…PLANT SOMETHING…
If nothing else, it will make the world a more beautiful place.