Trees are often touted for providing shade, cleaning our air and capturing the rain, but did you know trees also are living anti-depressants?
Recent studies show that trees make city-dwellers happier, healthier and more connected to their communities. Just a few of the reasons you should hug a tree today.
The Mind-Body-Tree Connection
Now that more than half the world’s population experiences the stress related to modern city life, urban green spaces are more important than ever for our collective and emotional well being.
The noise, crime and crowding that city dwellers face daily is directly linked to increases of stress-triggered mental health problems and depression. But studies show when people have access to city parks and community gardens, they feel better able to deal with the day to day stresses of urban life. Not only do park lovers report lower levels of anxiety and sadness after visiting their favorite parks, but the longer they stay, the less stress they report.
Living among trees is also vital to our physical health. As we mentioned earlier, trees clean our air by absorbing harmful gasses, which drives down rates of asthma and other respiratory issues. People who live in communities with a thriving tree canopy are also more likely to be active outdoors, decreasing the community obesity rate. So by caring for our local ecosystem, we’re also caring for ourselves!
Cultivating Safer, Happier Communities
By stewarding the lives of these living beings we can make a real difference in the lives of people. Neighborhoods with green spaces often have more vibrant, more connected communities. It’s been shown that after neighbors come together to care for their trees, more community unity takes root. Block parties, community watches and other group activities grow where healthy, cared-for trees are thriving!
Neighborhoods with more trees also report fewer incidences of crime. In a survey of the plant life in inner city neighborhoods, researchers observed that areas with more trees had lower crime rates and that community members also felt less fear and aggression.
Trees Need People, People Need Trees
But for all the benefits that trees provide, how do we benefit trees?
What makes trees happy is not just the quality of their environment, but the people they interact with. Trees fare better when they’re collectively cared for, in an adequate growing space, by people who have at least some tree knowledge. Urban trees really need us as much as we need them!
Trees build community, and so do we. Help us to improve the lives of both trees and people throughout greater LA by volunteering at one of our events in a neighborhood, at a school or in a city park.