Have you ever thought about how much trees do for us? Trees are vital to our existence, and without them, life as we know it would not be possible. They play a crucial role in producing the oxygen we breathe and regulating our water cycle, but their benefits go far beyond that. In this article, we’ll look at three reasons why trees are essential to our lives and why we should treasure them.
Here are just a few amazing things that will make you appreciate them even more:
Trees provide oxygen for us to breathe
Did you know that it takes 7 to 8 big, healthy trees to make enough oxygen for one person every year. That's right! How they do that? With the help of sunlight, trees convert CO2 and water present in the air into glucose and release oxygen as a byproduct. This is called photosynthesis. This process generates more oxygen than the trees themselves use up, and that extra oxygen is for us to breathe!
Trees help keep us cool and dry.
When it rains, trees absorb the excess water and store it in their roots and leaves. This helps to reduce erosion and prevent flooding. Later, they release the water through their leaves, making the air cool and fresh. In fact, trees can redistribute up to 95% of the water they absorb!
Trees help us keep healthy and fight cancer!
Now, let's talk about something exciting! The role that forest-sourced plants play in fighting cancer. Did you know that more than 60% of all anticancer drugs come from plants which are found in rainforests? Yes, it's true! Here are just a few examples of popular anticancer drugs that are derived from forest plants:
- Taxol (Paclitaxel): This powerful drug is used to treat ovarian, breast, and lung cancers. It is derived from the Pacific yew tree, which grows in the Pacific Northwest region of North America.
- Camptothecin: This drug is used to treat several types of cancer, including ovarian, lung, and colon cancers. It is derived from the Chinese "Happy Tree, which is found in the rainforests of China.
- Vincristine: This drug is used to treat several types of childhood cancers, including leukemia and Hodgkin's lymphoma. It is derived from the Madagascar periwinkle plant, which is found in the rainforests of Madagascar and Asian rainforests.
- Etoposide: This drug is used to treat lung and testicular cancer. It is derived from the Mayapple plant, which grows in the forests of North America.
As you can see, the plants that grow in forests have enormous potential to keep us healthy and help us fight cancer and other diseases. Scientists are still finding more medicines all the time, but they need healthy forests to do it. That's why it's so important that we protect our forests and make sure they remain healthy and thriving for generations to come.
Next time you're walking through a forest or even just looking at a tree outside your window, take a minute to think about all the good things it's doing for you and our world. And remember to take care of them, so they can keep taking care of us!
Add one or two 10-15 minute walk in the forest or in a park per week to your routine and start feeling the difference on your mood and well-being.