Trees are more than just majestic in how they look. They provide a range of environmental, economical, and even social benefits that improve our quality of life. Trees clean our air, purify water, reduce our energy costs, and beautify our communities. People living in a community with more trees reported that their quality of life improved to the point of feeling up to 7 years younger, and making up to $10,000 more a year.
Trees make you feel healthier and feel younger! A recent study published in the journal Nature, “Neighborhood Greenspace and Health in a Large Urban Center,” led by a group of researchers in Toronto, Canada showed that people who live in neighborhoods with a higher density of trees on their streets reported significantly better health, and less cardiometabolic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity, and more.
During the same study, using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s natural resource inventory and satellite imagery, researchers gathered economic data, including income, land prices, and disposable income.
They found that for every 1 percent increase in per capita income, demand for forest cover increased by 1.76 percent. But when income dropped by the same amount, demand decreased by 1.26 percent. The researchers found that wealthier cities can afford more trees, both on a private and public property. The rich can afford larger lots, which can support more trees. On the public side, areas with larger tax bases can afford to plant and maintain more trees.
Another study published in April in PLOS ONE gives us a picture of how unequal our cities are with regards to trees. The study revealed that high-income neighborhoods in the 7 selected cities were more likely to have a high tree population than low-income neighborhoods. Fortunately, many cities understand the value trees bring to their cities. New York for one, is doing something to change that and started the Million Trees campaign that proposed to plant a million new trees over the next ten years.
How can trees increase your $$?
- Trees planted near your home or business can lower air-conditioning and heating costs by decreasing energy use, thereby increasing income.
- Landscaping your home with trees increases the value up to 15 percent, and will sell faster than a home without trees. The property values of an entire neighborhood or business district increase when there are trees planted as well.
- Trees add beauty to communities and business districts. Studies show that people are more likely to slow down and linger at store windows and are willing to pay up to 12 percent more for goods and services, and spend a longer time shopping.
- Office and industrial areas with wooded settings are in high demand. Employees that have a shady area to eat and walk during lunch and breaks are more productive and stress-free on the job. Employees without a view of nature from their desks reported 23% more illnesses than those with a view.
- Streets with little or no shade need to be repaved twice as often as those with tree cover.
Having indoor plants can also improve your wellbeing. Indoor plants can remove up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours! Here are the top 10 indoor plants:
- Rose Plant
- Devil’s Ivy
- English Ivy
- Parlor Ivy
- African Violets
- Christmas Cactus
- Yellow Goddess
- Garlic Vine
- Peace Lily
Take all of these things, and you’ve got one powerful argument in favor of tree planting initiatives in all of our neighborhoods and cities.