All around the world, people are gearing up for Earth Day. Started in 1970, this designated day of April 22 has become an annual reminder of our responsibility to be good stewards of the Earth. You can contribute to a healthier Earth in multiple ways: plant a garden, pick up trash, purchase biodegradable products, and commit to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Tree of Life
Planting trees is one of the easiest and most sustainable ways to positively affect the environment. We need trees now more than ever! Communities across the state have been devastated with the loss of tens of millions of ash trees since the emerald ash borer was first discovered in metro Detroit in 2002. Trees are our lifeline to cleaner air and a healthier environment.
Here’s how trees make a difference:
- Trees improve air quality by producing oxygen. They also store carbon, offsetting harmful byproducts of fossil-fuel burning.
- They moderate the effects of sun and wind, and they clean the air by trapping dust, pollen and other pollutants.
- Planted in the right places around buildings, trees can significantly reduce air-conditioning costs. This means less Freon, an inflammable and odorless chemical emitted from air conditioners. It is considered to have damaging effects to the ozone layer.
- Trees increase property value.
- Trees generate jobs and contribute raw materials for buildings, newspapers, books, etc. They are renewable, biodegradable and recyclable.
- They provide shelter and food for wildlife such as birds, squirrels and bugs.
- Trees make people feel good. Workers are more productive when they see trees along their commute routes and from their office windows.
- Landscapes that include trees help relax us, lower heart rates and reduce stress.
Volunteer to Help
The city of Detroit has been especially hard-hit with tree loss, stemming back to the days when Dutch elm disease ravaged whole city blocks. Efforts are underway to reforest neighborhoods throughout the city with a variety of new trees. You can jump on board and volunteer for upcoming tree plantings through Greening of Detroit, a nonprofit organization committed to guiding and inspiring the reforestation of Detroit.
“The Greening of Detroit works to grow a ‘greener’ Detroit through planting and educational programs and environmental leadership. This is a landmark year for us as we set out to plant 7,000 trees through the city with the help 10,000 volunteers,” said Rebecca Samuel Wey, president of The Greening of Detroit. “The Greening’s plantings have been specifically designed to address stormwater runoff, soil contamination, air quality and deforestation due to the emerald ash borer.”
What are you planning to do for Earth Day? How are you making the Earth a healthier place to live, work and play?