Trees are a natural detox for the environment and the human mind. They clean the air we breath, cool down temperatures, calm our minds and provide a natural habitat to 80% of the worlds terrestrial bio diversity. Forests provide 1.6 billion people jobs and serve as key ingredients for 25% of medicines.


Trees and forests have occupied the earth for thousands of years, however in the past 50 years due to increase in human population and industrialization deforestation has become a major environmental issue. Deforestation and its impact have actually made us realize the value that planting trees and protecting the natural habitats. Some of the key benefits of playing our role and planting trees as individuals, communities and organizations are as follows:


1. Natural air filters


Plants and trees don't eat like animals, they produce their energy from a chemical process called "photosynthesis". During photosynthesis, trees consume carbon dioxide along with other harmful gases like nitrogen and carbon monoxide as raw materials to produce their energy along with oxygen as a by-product. In fact, the amount of oxygen produced by an acre of trees per year equals the amount consumed by 18 people annually. In other words, trees are not only the primary source of the breathable air on planet earth they are also act as carbon sinks that absorb the harmful heat and gases generated via deforestation and fossil fuel combustion process.


2. Prevent natural disasters


Trees serve the environment both above and below the ground. The underground root system of trees is typically fairly shallow (frequently no deeper than 2 m), but it spreads quite widely, with the majority of roots found in the upper 60cm of soil. Tree roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil, serve as a store for carbohydrates and form a structural system not just for the tree but also the soil that holds it. This intricate root systems act like filters, removing pollutants and slowing down the water’s absorption into the soil. This process prevents harmful waterslide erosion and reduces the risk of over-saturation and flooding. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Association, a mature evergreen tree can intercept more than 15,000 liters of water every year.


Above the ground, trees have play a huge role against global warming, as they help reduce the temperature in the climate. In fact, it has been reported that in big cities, trees can reduce ambient temperatures by up to 8° Celsius. With more than 50% of the world’s population living in cities — a number expected to increase to 66% by the year 2050 — pollution and overheating are becoming a real threat. Fortunately, a mature tree can absorb an average of 48 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year, making cities a healthier, safer place to live.


3. Provide a natural habitat


A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. Depending on the kind of food and shelter they need, different forest animals require different types of habitat. Without trees, forest creatures would have nowhere to call home.


One mature oak can be home to as many as 500 different species. Richmond Park is full of such trees, which is one of the reasons it has been designated a National Nature Reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest.




4. Improve mental health


Trees help reduce stress and anxiety. Keeping this in mind a lot of modern hospitals, offices even educational institutes try to add trees to the surrounding. Research shows that patients in hospitals with rooms overlooking trees recover faster than those without the same view. Spending some quiet time either alone or with loved ones connecting with nature helps sooth and unwind the mind. They don't just provide a visual pleasure but also protect our body from harmful ultra-violet rays emitted by the sun.  


5. Keep the economy moving


Trees have supported and sustained life throughout our existence. They have a wide variety of practical and commercial uses. Wood was the very first fuel, and is still used for cooking and heating by about half of the world’s population.


Trees provide timber for building construction, furniture manufacture, tools, sporting equipment, food, medicines and thousands of household items. Wood pulp is used to make paper.


There are endless job opportunities and commercial benefits tied with trees and forests that can benefit mankind both financially and socially.


Final Thoughts


There is a Native American proverb

We don't inherit the world from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children

If we want to create a sustainable future for our coming generations, we must adapt eco friendly practices to conserve the current resources and protect the natural habitat of this planet. Recycling, reusing and reducing are all means of protecting the planet, where as planting a tree is an effort to grow the natural resources. So do yourself a favor and plant a tree!


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7.8 billion people currently share the finite resources of planet earth. A lot of these natural resources are already in short supply and soon may be completely depleted. Hence, making recycling not only a wise decision but the need of the hour for every line of work including personal routines.


Recycling is the process of using materials from existing products to create new items of similar or sometimes very different nature. E.g. a soda can be used to create new soda cans or something completely different from the metal of the can. The idea is to utilize the material which would otherwise be sitting idle in landfills, hence reducing the size of the dumpsite whilst providing a new source of materials.


It is important to note that not all materials are recyclable. For instance, hazardous waste can not be recycled. However, there is a wide variety of materials that can be reused or recycled and it is imperative that it is done for us to create a sustainable future for the generations to come.


Reduced landfill sizes may come across as the most obvious benefit of recycling, it is however not the only motivation behind it. A few of the most positive impacts of recycling are stated as follows:


1. Conserving Natural Resources


Almost all kind of manufacturing require natural resources as raw materials. Reusing or recycling existing materials implies that we do not have to process natural resources into the raw materials required for mass production.


For example, paper is produced by chopping down trees, recycling and reusing paper means cutting down less trees. Hence, preserving forests which are a natural habitat for various species of plants and animals.


An important ingredient in the production of Glass is sand. Even though, the world seems to be in abundant supplies of sand, there are areas in the world whose reservoirs in specific types of sands are exhausting. So reusing glass means less need for sand as a natural resource.


Recycling metals means there's less need for risky, expensive and damaging mining and extraction of new metal ores.


Recycling plastic means creating less new plastic that results in reducing the processing of fossil hydrocarbons, which directly impact environmental pollution. Moreover, if plastic waste is not recycled responsibly, it can easily enter the water beds via rivers and seas and end up hundreds or thousands of miles away, polluting coastlines and waterways.



2. Energy and Cost


It is safe to deduce that reusing existing products conserves energy and cost. For example, during the global pandemic of COVID-19 using a face mask has been made obligatory for the entire population. Using a reusable and washable fabric mask instead of disposable face mask means that the same mask can be used 'n' number of times rather than a new disposable product being used every time. This means less waste, less energy spent in production and less cost on the part of the consumer. However, it is interesting to note that less energy and cost are used in manufacturing from recycled material. For example, let's consider the following facts:


  • Producing new aluminum from old products (including recycled cans and foil) uses 95% less energy than making it from scratch. For steel it's about a 70% energy saving.

  • Making paper from pulped recycled paper uses 40% less energy than making it from virgin wood fibers. 

  • The amount of energy saved from recycling one glass bottle could power an old 100-watt light bulb for 4 hours and a new low-energy LED equivalent for a lot longer. 


3. Creating Jobs


As per the US National Health Institute Incinerating 10,000 tons of waste creates 1 job, while landfilling the same amount creates 6 jobs. Recycling the same 10,000 tons creates 36 jobs! Recycling is a fast growing industry, by 2024, the market value of global plastic recycling is expected to have increased by more than 20 billion U.S. dollars compared to 2018.


A report we published a few years ago calculated that at least 50,000 new UK jobs could be created by 2025 if we can reach the target of recycling 70% of our waste (it's around 45% now). It's ambitious but achievable. 

Roughly 30,000 of the new jobs would be in recycling directly, with roughly 20,000 more in supply chains and the wider economy.


Conclusion


Recycling is the key for a sustainable future both in terms of business and the environment. It provides the benefits of conserving natural resources, reducing pollution, saving cost and energy whilst creating opportunities for business. It is fast becoming a part of the culture in the western world with the rest of the world catching up at a fierce pace. This culture encourages both organizations and individuals to act more dutifully towards their environment. This conscious act of responsibility reflects positively on the brand identity of the organization. Hence, creating long lasting impressions on the customers and the environment.






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