Today is all about trees! Our planet is actually home to over three trillion trees! That might seem like a huge number but the truth is we need even more as trees are essential for our environment to remain healthy!
So, what makes a tree a tree? Well, they are typically defined as a woody plant with a tall stem (the trunk) with a defined crown of branches and leaves. Trees come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small while others can reach over heights of over 110 meters tall. That’s almost double the height of the CN tower, the largest building in Canada! Unlike many plants that only survival for a year, trees are perennials meaning they survive all year round only slowing their growing during the colder winter months. In fact, some trees on our planet have lived to be over five thousand years old! Wow!
Trees are extremely important to all animals! They provide many species with habitat, shelter and delicious foods like seeds, nuts and fruits. For thousands of years, trees have also been vital for human survival providing us with firewood for cooking and heat and building materials for shelter, tools and furniture among so many other things. However, the most amazing thing about trees has to do with a process called photosynthesis.
When we think of trees, we immediately think of forests, but trees can survive on almost every surface of the planet, from mountains to grasslands and even deserts. That is because trees are very hardy plants that only need four main things to survive; sunlight, air, water and nutrients from the soil. Water and nutrients are absorbed through the tree’s root and travel up the stem, eventually reaching the leaves. The leaves contain tiny pores called stomata that absorb carbon dioxide from the air. Sunlight, along with tiny compounds called chlorophyll (which is what gives plants their green color) jumpstart a process known as photosynthesis. Photosynthesis helps turn all these components into glucose, which is energy that the plant needs to survive. This process also releases oxygen back into the air which all living creatures need to survive. So, the next time you take a big breath of fresh air, remember to thank a tree!
In addition to releasing oxygen into the environment, trees also absorb excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is very important in recent years as carbon dioxide is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases trap heat from the sun, causing the temperature of the planet to rise steadily year after year. This is a process known as climate change. Climate change affects all living things on our planet, creating unpredictable weather patterns and rising sea levels.
Unfortunately, deforestation is a real problem as humans cut down trees to make room for agriculture and urbanization as the human population continues to grow. As Earth Rangers, it’s our responsibility to protect our existing trees while planting new ones.
That’s why Earth Rangers is very excited to be partnering with the British High Commission, or BHC, to raise awareness about climate change and give kids the tools to take concrete and positive action for the future of our planet! Together we will be launching a series of climate-themed activities as part of the Earth Rangers’ Mission Program.
As today is Arbor Day, it’s the perfect time accept the Just 1 Tree Mission! Scientists believe that two of the best ways we can prepare for climate change are to protect existing habitats and create new ones. So, what are you waiting for? Even doing something as simple as planting just ONE tree can make a huge difference for animals, humans and the whole planet!