The Power of Trees

By: Erin Smith

Earth Needs Change

The planet is warming. The forests are disappearing. The animals are struggling. The oceans are intoxicated. Our home is dying.

The following information is provided by NASA:

Fact: Earth’s average surface temperature has risen about 2.05˚ Fahrenheit since the late 19th Century. Most of the warming driven by increases carbon emissions as mankind has industrially progressed. Most of the warming has occurred in the past 40 years.

Fact: The oceans have absorbed much of this heat. The top 100 meters of ocean shows warming of more than 0.6 ˚ Fahrenheit since 1969.

The picture below illustrates a direct impact of the heating oceans.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains the impact the warming waters have on coral reef. The corals become stressed from the temperature change which makes them expel symbiotic algae living in their tissue. This causes the white “bleach” color. Without the algae, the coral loses its main food source and becomes more susceptible to disease.

Fact: Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century.

The sea rise is dangerous for communities that live on or below sea level. Their homes, businesses, and towns could be covered in water, displacing millions of people. Some of those people may not have the financial resources to relocate.

Fact: The number of record high temperature events in the U.S. has been increasing. There has been increasing numbers of intense rainfall.

According to USA Today, 2020 has seen 23 named storms. This breaks the record for most named storms in a season since 1969. Extreme weather is a destructive and unpredictable side effect of global warming.

Fact: Trees can help save the planet. We need to plant them.

Where are Trees Going?

Trees are a natural part of the Earth. Humans have altered the natural growth of trees through urban growth, agriculture, and population increases.

Urban Growth

The world is constantly evolving. As technological and structural advancements are made, buildings seem to pop up rapidly. Cities are expanding upwards and outwards. While cities grow, forests are dwindling. A study indicates that approximately 36 million trees are cut down in urban areas each year and 167,000 acres of surfaces like concrete and asphalt are added every year.


Farming and logging are a common practice in the United States. These are leading causes of deforestation in our forests. According to a report, upwards of 50,000 acres of forests are cleared by farmers and loggers per day worldwide. Land is cut or burned for cattle grazing, feed crop production, and timber to build houses and create specialty wood products.