This year make it a green Ramadan and plant a tree to offset your carbon footprint. When it comes to the afterlife, we want to be in Jannah because we want peace and tranquillity, a place where rivers flow and shade is provided. We forget that we have already been blessed with flowing rivers and billions of trees on Earth for our current life. We seem to have no desire to protect what has been bestowed upon us, so why do we want it in the afterlife? It is something to think about!
If there is one thing you would like to do for the life that you are blessed with, then help the planet and think green, plant a tree during Ramadan.
Why are trees Important?
The first and foremost reason why trees are important is because they give us the Oxygen that we breathe. When most people see a tree in their garden, they see it as a problem. All they can think about is how to cut the tree because ‘it is the in the way’. They forget that the tree is more than just a physical presence in the garden. Our bodies need water, food and oxygen to survive. Trees provide us with all of these needs.
Trees are also a home to millions of species across the planet. Just like us, they provide food, shelter, shade and water to animals, birds and insects that have been created to live on this Earth. Without the trees, we would not have the food we eat, nor would we have the clean air we breathe or the water we drink. We also would not have the tolerable climate we have today. It is that simple!
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is now.”
How are Trees, Climate Change & Carbon Footprint related?
In school, I learnt about photosynthesis, how leaves take sunlight and carbon dioxide to grow. From this process, the tree flourishes and provides us with food and shelter. When a tree absorbs the carbon dioxide, it stores the carbon and releases oxygen, which is essential to all life on Earth.
Forests across the world are destroyed because we cut them down to make way for agriculture, farming, development etc. They are also destroyed due to natural and unnatural fires caused by us. When trees are destroyed, it is known as deforestation. When we cut down a tree in our garden, we are also contributing to deforestation.
You may have come across the term Carbon Footprint. This is a measure of how much we are contributing to the increase of carbon and other greenhouse gases into the environment. Trees near us absorb the carbon from our daily activities, such as driving, cooking, switching on the lights, charging our mobile devices etc. All these activities make up our carbon footprint. Visit the WWF calculator to understand your personal Carbon Footprint.
Trees, climate change and the carbon footprint are very closely related.
Our activities such as travel, eating habits, shopping, cooking, charging devices, scrolling on our phones etc contribute to our own carbon footprint. This means that we are personally adding greenhouse gases, including carbon to the environment. A tree can store up to hundreds of pounds of carbon during its lifetime and help maintain an even temperature across the world. However, when we cut trees down, nature loses its way of absorbing this carbon. Therefore, as the carbon stays in the atmosphere, it starts to raise the temperature around the Earth. The rising and effects of this temperature is known as Climate Change.
When the temperature rises, we will see some regions of the world receive more floods while other parts of the world will be affected by droughts. Some countries will get extremely hot and other countries will see the temperature fall.
Benefits of Trees
I have already outlined the main reason why we should help to keep and grow more trees around us. Oxygen, food and water. Trees provide us with several other positive benefits. Below are a few examples:
Trees for Therapy
We know that nature has a soothing effect on our wellbeing. If you have every visited a wellness spa or even a luxury hotel, you will notice that these places are often surrounded by lush vegetation. This is because spending time around greenery and trees has proven to benefit our mental and physical health. Taking a walk in the park, for example, reduces anxiety and stress levels. Driving down a road surrounded by trees makes you feel more relaxed than driving in the hustle and bustle of a city road surrounded by concrete buildings.
Air pollution in cities can also lead to irritation of the respiratory tract and trigger illnesses, such as, Asthma. Trees also act as a buffer and reduce noise pollution in busy urban environments.
Trees naturally absorb the pollution and produce clean the air, so when you are living in an area surrounded by trees you know that you are breathing clean air. I live near a very busy road, so pollution from cars is inevitable. Therefore, to reduce the effects of the pollution on our health we have several trees in our garden.
Trees Increase Property Value
Did you know that houses with well-maintained gardens and trees could increase the value of the properties? Whether prospective buyers decide to keep the trees or not, when they visit a house they can visualise spending time in the garden to improve physical and mental health.
Trees as Nature’s Protectors
Trees absorb a lot of water during times of heavy rainfall. They protect the soil from eroding, minimise flooding and enrich the soil with nutrients. Trees also provide shelter and protection to insects, birds and animals during heavy rainfall, storms and extreme heat. They contribute immensely to the local biodiversity.
How can we maintain green tree levels this Ramadan and Offset our Carbon Footprint?
The fires in Australia and Brazil recently destroyed millions of acres of trees. When the trees burned so did the animals and their homes. This year, plant a tree during Ramadan, Eid or another special occasion. Over 1 billion people will observe Ramadan in 2020. If half of the population planted one tree that is 500 million trees grown globally within one month. Think about how much carbon we could collectively offset this Ramadan?
Make it Green & Plant a Tree in Ramadan to Offset your Carbon Footprint
Many of us travel on a regular basis. Whether we are travelling locally by car or going on a long haul journey, these trips add to our carbon footprint. Daily activities such as cooking, vacuuming, shopping, charging devices, switching the lights etc are also examples of how our habits contribute to carbon in the atmosphere. All of these are examples of a carbon footprint. You can calculate your personal carbon footprint by using WWF calculator and plant a tree to offset it.
By committing to plant a tree once a year, you can ensure that the trees grown will play an important role in absorbing carbon and produce clean air from your daily routine and travel. This concept is called offsetting your carbon footprint – planting a tree to absorb carbon and produce oxygen.
Where Can I plant a Tree to offset my Carbon Footprint?
Different trees grow in different climates so choose a tree that is suitable to your climate. Visiting a local garden centre will provide you with a variety of trees ideal to your environment.
You can plant a tree at home if you have the space. Nowadays you can get dwarf trees so you do not need much space to grow one. Planting trees locally will give you the benefits directly. If you plant a fruit tree, for example, you will also enjoy the fruits it provides. You can pick one up from a local nursery or plant from seed.
On the other hand, if you do not have enough space or the right conditions to plant a tree, find out which tree-planting organisation is local to you and donate to them.
Alternatively, you can donate to global organisations who will plant a tree on your behalf. Donating to organisations such as Click a Tree has the added benefit of providing employment for the local community. Click a Tree relies on such donations to run its activities. Not only will this offset your carbon emissions, you will know that your donation has helped poor communities earn an income from the tree planting activities.
Your one act of planting a tree over Ramadan to offset your carbon footprint will provide several benefits to the environment and to yourself. You will help clean the air, maintain cool temperatures, protect the soil from eroding during floods, provide food and shelter to insets, birds and animals. Lastly, donating to tree planting organisations will contribute towards an income for a poor family.
Reshma is an online sustainability blogger with more than 20 years of professional experience in the field. Reshma is dedicated to raise awareness about the environment to positively impact people and the planet via her blog www.smartmoneygreenplanet.com