Plants and trees have been grown for human consumption for generations. Vegetables and fruits obtained from plants and trees are used to sustain lives on earth. As a result, trees and plants are important resources for our day-to-day survival.
Apart from the fact that humans consume vegetables and fruits from plants and trees, they all have other health benefits. For example, plants such as Catnip and Blackberries have been used for treating fever and dysentery for a very long time.
It is globally known that we are in a climate change era. Sea level rise, hurricanes, floods, wildfires and so on are all believed to be negative environmental impacts of climate change. It is imperative to note that the earth will seriously be affected if immediate measures are not taken to mitigate and/or adapt to climate change.
Plants and trees can be used to mitigate and /or adapt to climate change. Based on the fact that water run-off and erosion can be caused by climate change, the growing of plants and trees can, therefore, help to reduce run-off and erosion by breaking the force of rain and/or run-off from uphill, thereby reducing the possibility of floods in the society. It has been reported by the USDA “ that 100 mature trees can reduce runoff caused by rainfall by up to 100,000 gallons”.
Also, when plants and trees are grown, they consume carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing the amount of carbon dioxide levels in the environment.
Apart from absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, plants and trees also give out fresh oxygen to the environment. The release of fresh oxygen in areas affected by pollution provides a soothing relief for inhabitants in such areas.
Not only are plants and trees used to reduce carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere; they can also be used to address significant environmental sustainability concerns. For example, biomass from trees can be used to produce renewable energy in a process known as biomass gasification. The energy obtained from this process can be to heat homes and/or run processes in industries. It is noteworthy that renewable energy is regarded as a clean source of energy because harmful greenhouse gasses are not released when used. The need for clean energy is stressed by the United Nations and even part of its current goals, thus a significant global need. Trees and plants can, therefore, be used to address significant environmental sustainability concerns and create positive environmental impacts.
Also, trees can be used to cool homes in hot weather conditions, eliminating or reducing the use of cooling energy, thus making it a good energy management measure. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, “the overall effect of the shade created by planting a healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-size air conditioners running 20 hours a day”.
Furthermore, trees can act as a barrier between buildings and the environment, preventing air from infiltrating buildings, thereby saving heating and energy costs during the cold seasons. The Journal of Horticulture states that as much as 25 percent heating costs can be saved using trees.