The ongoing pandemic, increasingly frequent environmental disasters and the humanitarian crises triggered by an unstable ecology led The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to publish a significant study this April.
The data showed how disasters linked to climate change worsen poverty, hunger and access to natural resources, stoke instability and even violence. The gist of the study was that from one end of the world to another, droughts, floods, and extreme weather events are impacting the most vulnerable. The UN agency also called for countries to work together to combat climate change and protect hundreds of millions of people.
Environment expert Supriya Patil of Grow-Trees.com says, “A healthy and stable environment is a human right but since 2010, weather emergencies have displaced around 21.5 million people annually. How can we change this? The solution is to work together at every level to address climate change. And anyone can make a difference by planting more trees. At Grow-Trees.com, we have created a web-enabled, cost-effective service for individuals and companies globally to plant trees. But anyone and everyone can be a part of this movement because trees are good for the planet and those who inhabit it. Broadly speaking, tree plantation drives create low-skill jobs, have a direct impact on carbon reduction, restore forests, improve wildlife habitats, and upgrade water catchment areas.”
To put it in a nutshell, Supriya shares three benefits of planting more trees to make the planet habitable for everyone:
Trees reduce air pollution and improve the quality of life
Supriya cites a 2020 report issued by Greenpeace Southeast Asia which stated that air pollution in Delhi caused a loss of around 24,000 lives and 5.8% of its GDP in the first half of 2020.
Another study published by the medical journal, Cardiovascular Research in 2020, showed air pollution was responsible for cutting life expectancy on a scale that was greater than diseases, wars and other forms of violence. Says Supriya, “Researchers have called this air pollution, a ‘pandemic’ because it shortens life expectancy by causing heart disease, lung cancer, respiratory tract infection and many more ailments.
We have been planting trees in polluted metros including Delhi and Mumbai to reduce particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and toxins in the air which are emitted by vehicles, construction activities, power plants and industrial facilities. Air pollution is caused by multiple factors and can be countered by sustainable business practices and afforestation drives.”
Trees repair biodiversity loss
What is biodiversity? Supriya explains, “The term biodiversity literally refers to the variety of life that exists on earth in every possible manifestation. For a balanced ecosystem, what we take from the planet can not be more than what we give back. When we do that life forms and animal habitats disappear. The diversity of our ecosystem begins to fade as we replace forests with industries and concrete jungles.”
Forest cover is critical to the survival of all species and we must plant more trees to repair biodiversity loss and prevent a climate breakdown. Adds Supriya, “At Grow-Trees.com, we have seen first hand how an increase in green cover reduces animal-human conflicts, protects wildlife and balances eco-diversity.”
Trees are essential for our overall well-being
Supriya says, “Climate change is real and it impacts people in diverse ways. As the world gets increasingly warm, sea levels will continue to rise, floods and droughts will impact daily life, we will also see power outages, water shortage, impaired crops, more diseases and mental anxiety. Planting trees is the easiest way to cool the earth, create carbon sinks and create spaces for people where they feel connected to nature and are healed by this proximity. So yes, I cannot emphasise this enough. Plant as many trees as you can. The earth will thank you for it."