I don't think I'm alone when I say that I sometimes (ok, often!) tune out when I hear about charitable programs run by other companies.
I'll even admit that I can be especially immune to anything to do with babies and small children. As a childless, Curella DeVille selfish-millennial type, these charities just don't tend to capture my attention no matter how much I like the company aligning themselves with the charity.
So when I sat down to write about why we've decided to make trees our charitable priority at Showcase I knew first hand the forces I'd be up against.
Add to this the reactions from some of the people whom I know, love and respect:
- Really? Isn't there something more urgent you could give money to?
- Saving trees is such a retro idea! (said in a nice tone but trailing off at the end...)
- Trees!? That's so bougie.
If trees aren't your bag I've probably already lost your attention, but if you're still just hanging in here at least give my number 1 reason why we should save and plant trees a try on for size:
1. We Need Trees in Order to Breathe
They're beautiful. Majestic, even. They seem to be everywhere. But let's face it — many of us take trees for granted.
For the most part, they're just ... there. Silent. Passive.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
Trees make human and animal life on Earth possible - that includes all noble causes such as babies, small children, puppies, kittens and whales. Trees literally create the air that we breathe.
Trees take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen back into the air, through photosynthesis. One large tree can produce enough oxygen to support up to four people for an entire day.
But when we breathe, we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon (CO2), putting it right back into the atmosphere. With a global population of more than 7 billion people, humans are putting more CO2 into the atmosphere than ever before. Not only do we need trees to keep producing oxygen for us to live, we need them to absorb the carbon dioxide we produce.
And trees don't just produce the air we breathe — they clean it too. Trees filter out harmful micro-particles and pollutants that could otherwise get lodged in our lungs when we breathe them in. According to the U.S. Forest Service, 100 trees remove 53 tons of carbon dioxide and 430 pounds of other air pollutants every year. Trees are nature's own purification system.
2. Trees Catch and Clean Our Water
Trees play a critical role in the water cycle. They catch rainwater with their leaves and humidify the air around them through a process called evapotranspiration. Yes, this blog post is part science lesson as well. When that water vapor eventually condenses, it results in more rain and the cycle begins again.
The water that doesn’t evaporate is absorbed into the tree. Trees have complex root systems that filter the rainwater and remove harmful pollutants before allowing it to seep through the soil and into the groundwater supply.
When trees catch rainwater, they're actually diverting that water away from storm drain systems — meaning that less water needs to be treated before going back into the public water system.
3. Trees Preserve Their Ecosystem
Trees are powerful protectors of the eco-system around them.
They prevent soil erosion, holding the soil in place and providing a windbreaker effect from heavy winds. They also slow flood flows during heavy rainfall.
Trees moderate their local climate. The shade they offer results in lower surface and air temperatures and in turn trees save people and businesses money in the form of lower air conditioning and heating costs.
Trees are indispensable to maintaining environmental biodiversity. From the fruit they produce to the shelter they provide, they support countless species — from birds and squirrels to spiders and fungi.
4. Trees Help Us Fight Climate Change
Trees are one of the best weapons we have against climate change. With a global population that’s exploding, we're putting more carbon into the atmosphere than ever before.
Since trees naturally remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store the carbon, they’re our best defence against shocks to the environment.
According to the European Environment Agency, a mature tree takes up to 48.5 lbs (22 kg) of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere over the space of a year. The more healthy, mature trees we have, the more carbon we can take out of the atmosphere and the faster balance is restored.
5. Trees Support People
As important as trees are to the global environment, our health and local ecosystems, they support human populations in far-reaching ways too.
According to the FAO, more than 25% of the world’s population depend on forests for their livelihoods. From the paper we use for magazines and packaging, those fancy wood-pulp socks you just bought, and the dyes made from tree bark — every one of us uses tree-derived products every single day.
We’re Donating to a Foundation That Plants Trees … Because Our Lives Depend on It.
From the air we breathe to the water we drink and the wood we use, trees are essential to our survival. Trees have been good to us: let's return the favor!
The Showcase app saves our customers on printing costs, and it saves the environment from the impact of paper production. But it’s not enough.
For every 8,500 page views in our customers’ Showcase accounts, we’re donating $10 to Trees That Count to further their efforts.
Learn more about our Forest Relief Fund here.