Hoping you are all having a wonderful Easter break and are getting to enjoy one of my favourite things in the whole world – trees. Rachel Reef has been working on the project of promoting the importance of trees for our environment, regardless how urban it may be and is a guest poster today on Recycled Interiors – in celebration of the tree.
Somehow people fail to notice the role trees can play in our lives and it is our job as individuals, as well as the job of tree maintenance companies, to speak in their name. One such company is Brisbane Tree Experts, winners of the 2012 QAA sustainability award and members of the Queensland Arboricultural Association Inc.
In Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree’ the humble riches of trees are taken for granted by a young boy throughout his life. The tree gives up its apples to be sold, its branches for firewood, and eventually its stump to rest on. It’s a powerful allegory for our attitude towards the environment in general, but it works precisely because the tree is often the most forgotten aspect of a healthy environment. As we busy ourselves with herb gardens, recycling plants, organic foods and pollution reduction, its easy to forget those silent giants whose presence is always beneficial, yet often too subtle to be appreciated.
1. Environmental Landmarks
Few things have as much social impact as the landmarks that form the centres of our communities, and trees are often the most memorable and permanent landmarks we can have. Not only do trees last for hundreds of years, but they often provide a unique character to even the plainest of communities. As places where people can congregate in the shade, get some respite from the noise and concrete of the city, or simply enjoy a more picturesque view, trees can help create environmentally-friendly and refreshingly diverse places of interest.
2. Child’s Play
From treehouses to tyre swings – trees can be an adventure playground for active and imaginative children. Having trees around allows children a chance to get active among nature in a way that is precious to future generations’ understanding of how wonderful and fun nature can be.
Parents may worry about allowing their children to climb trees, but research has shown that such fears results in overly-cautious children who tend to spend much more time at home. According to Play England, part of the National Children’s Bureau in the UK, just 29% of children had their biggest adventures in outdoor spaces among trees and woods, as opposed to 70 per cent of adults. Their spokesman, Adrian Voce, said:
‘Children are not being allowed many of the freedoms that were taken for granted when we were children. The result is that many of our children are spending more time on the computer.’
3. Natural Design
Trees are big, strong, require little maintenance, and can be grown almost anywhere – such material benefits have plenty of uses in an architectural and design sense. For homes exposed to a lot of heat and light much of the year, a well-placed tree can provide useful indoor and outdoor shade (and even save on AC costs!). Likewise, along roads trees provide an effectively unobtrusive shield from traffic noise, pollution, and often traffic itself (reports show that drivers maintain more responsible speeds on tree-lined streets).
4. Crime Stoppers
Believe it or not, extensive studies in various American cities has shown that a higher presence of trees results in lower crime rates and less instances of graffiti, vandalism, and littering. In some cases, public housing surrounded by trees had up to 52% fewer total crimes, and 25% fewer acts of domestic violence and aggression.
Even more extraordinary are the psychological and health benefits of those who spend time in areas which have plenty of trees. Less road rage, lower blood pressure, and even suggestions that trees can have a calming and healing affect on children with ADHD.
5. Green Value
One of the quickest ways to add value to properties is to surround them with trees. As well as being valuable in themselves (a healthy tree can be worth up to $10,000) they can add a lot of value to adjacent homes and businesses. Realtors estimate that streets with trees can add $15-25,000 in property or business value when compared to streets with no trees.