What is National Tree Day?
This year, National Tree Day is being held on Sunday 1st August 2021. It has been an annual event ever since 1996, when it was co-founded by Olivia Newton-John and Planet Ark. The day is a call to action for all Australians to plant a tree and give back to Mother Nature. The event aspires for millions of new trees to be planted each year by several thousand people from businesses, schools and communities who volunteer their time to help this worthy cause. National Tree Day also encourages people of all ages to be educated on the importance of trees and their role in our life on Earth including all the ways that trees provide for us.
History of National Tree Day
Trees are a fundamental part of our environment. Our Earth cannot survive without them. Did you know, a single tree can absorb as much as 22 kilograms of carbon in one year? They also improve the quality of the air we breathe in every moment of every day. However, trees are also a major part of our timber production, food supply, heating and cooling. Although every day can be tree day, the official Tree Day was founded with the purpose of asking Australia’s residents to give back and to remind them of the importance of protecting existing trees as well as planting new ones.
Over the years, many celebrities and media personalities have gotten involved in the Tree Day festivities and encouraged those around them to do the same, while spreading awareness. For the past 22 years, Toyota has been the major sponsor of this very important cause. Toyota has shown their support by leading events, sponsorship and integration of National Tree Day through their business’s sustainability project. Since the first National Tree Day in 1996, there has been over five million volunteers, 26 million trees planted and over 10 million hours of time donated.
The Importance of National Tree Day
You may often hear information regarding the state of trees around the world and what is happening to protect and sustain them. Unfortunately, even in 2021, deforestation is still an enormous issue. As of 2020, more than 20,000 tree species were listed as endangered. Although there is no single cause that is the major leading reason behind this loss in trees, things such as land use, farming, climate change and deforestation are among the mix. As much as it is grim, if we don’t have trees, we don’t have humans, not to mention thousands of species of wildlife and insects. The recent Australian bushfires demonstrated the brutal impact on Australia’s fauna and flora and how desperately these species need trees to survive, and avoid becoming endangered. We need to work together to save and rejuvenate our tree population, not only for ourselves, but for our precious wildlife too.
Is there hope? Why should we plant trees?
Trees can live for centuries. They aren't the entire solution to saving the planet or reversing climate change, but they do play a key role in it. Other than the obvious environmental benefits, trees can do a lot for you. Planting a tree and allowing it to grow in your backyard can provide great sunshade and shelter from other elements, helping you to reduce the costs in climatising your home.
As we know, gardening is great for mental health, but trees are great for both mental and physical health. It has been proven that trees are excellent for reducing stress and anxiety, but also have amazing healing properties. Trees release antimicrobial essential oils, these are known to assist with immune function, mood and stress. Trees can also increase the value of your home by adding interest and curb appeal. Kids will love having a tree to climb or maybe even a tree house.
Have you been thinking about getting started with gardening? One of the easiest things you can do to start is plant a tree. They are much simpler than you may realise, and there are a multitude of benefits. As we mentioned earlier, animals are very reliant on trees, so having one in your backyard will attract all sorts of critters and birds, helping them to flourish. Trees can be incredibly symbolic too. Planting a tree today could mean it will survive for hundreds of years, leaving a legacy for your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren beyond to admire.
How to get involved
Although there are some restrictions in place this year for certain parts of the world, there are still plenty of other ways to get involved in this very important cause. The simplest of these would be to plant a tree yourself. If you are fortunate enough to have a home with space for a tree, this is the best way to support National Tree Day. There are many different species of trees that can be planted, so do some research around the climate where you live to see what would be best suited for your backyard.
Getting kids involved in National Tree Day is an incredibly valuable learning experience that will teach them the importance of trees and their role on planet Earth. If you aren’t in a position to plant a tree at home, there may be a local community wanting to get people involved in tree planting around your area. You can find out more by clicking here. If you aren’t able to get involved in any events, you could consider financially supporting the cause by donating to National Tree Day instead. As little as $5 can plant a tree, that’s almost the price of a large coffee these days!
If you are doing some retail therapy, consider shopping with brands that plant trees when you make a purchase. Simply do some research before you select a brand to shop with and try to support those who are making an effort in sustainability. Many retailers allow you to track the impact of your contribution by shopping with them, making the experience just a little bit more rewarding. Better yet, if you are a frequent internet user, by using Ecosia every time you surf the web, trees are planted. Simply install the extension to your web browser and every time you make a search, there are ads. These ads generate revenue that essentially generates trees! So far, they have planted over 129 million trees; impressive!
If you are a business, school or community getting involved this year, be sure to check out the seedling bank program, this program allows schools and communities to apply for funding to cover the cost of seedlings for National Tree Day. To find out the criteria and apply, click here.
This National Tree Day, no matter where you are, try to encourage your colleagues, friends, and family members to get involved in this very important cause. Every effort, big or small, makes a lasting impact on our Earth’s sustainable future.
For more information, please visit treeday.planetark.org.