In the Twentieth Century, it’s been clear that Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been rising internationally. With the invention of automobiles and other gas emitting creations especially since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been exponentially putting more and more gas emissions into the atmosphere, thus causing several things to happen, such as global warming and the Greenhouse Effect. Although some greenhouse gases are perfectly normal to be in the atmosphere, scientists have discovered that all of these gases have been rising in quantity in the air in the past 150 years. For example, Carbon Dioxide gases have risen in the atmosphere approximately thirty percent in this time span, most likely correlating with the Industrial Revolution. While it’s impossible to find an easy fix to take back all the Carbon Dioxide that we have allowed our vehicles to emit into the atmosphere, it is possible to try to reduce the amount we’re still putting in by planting trees! Plants help to reduce global warming through their natural process of photosynthesis, which requires plants to take Carbon Dioxide in from the atmosphere and releases Oxygen back out. Trees become like a cleaning filter to our environment. Therefore it is beneficial and even suggested to plant trees before going on long road trips.

Smog clouding the Los Angeles Skyline

To be honest, while I knew that planting trees would help the environment by reducing Carbon Dioxide in the air and replacing it with Oxygen, I never really bothered to look up what the conversion rates were. How much Carbon Dioxide do trees take in a day in comparison to how much Carbon Dioxide is released by one person? Are we really able to plant enough trees to bring back what we’ve done to our atmosphere? I found these simple-to-understand conversion charts:

  • 1 tree every 2,000 miles (3200 km) by car
  • 1 tree every 1300 miles (2000 km) by plane
  • 1 tree every 100 gallons (375 liters) of gasoline
  • 1 tree every 1000 kilowatt-hours (one kwhr ~= 1.9 pounds CO2)

With these conversions, it should be relatively simple to calculate how many trees one should be planting based on how one’s mileage. With the amount of automobile use the average man use in a day, we should not be cutting down forests to make way for more urbanization, but rather planting forests to allow our atmosphere to recover from the over-saturation of Carbon Dioxide.  Trees absorb many pollutants out of the air and cleanse it.

Planting trees aren’t the only way to help reduce global warming. Simple actions such as turning off lights and appliances when you’re not using them will help, as well as recycling and traveling by foot or bike instead of driving! I feel like it’s important to be much more aware and proactive in helping our environment because this is the air that we are breathing and walking in. While climate change may just be earth’s natural path and despite the fact that we do not know enough about our own atmosphere to be able to predict and control these things, I feel that it is important for us to do everything we can, however miniscule it is.

-Elaine Wu

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7 responses »

  1. James Simmons says:

    If you are interested in planting a tree, here’s a useful article from eHow http://www.ehow.com/tree-planting/

  2. Looking at the picture of Los Angeles really sickens me when I see how much smog there is from CO2. It makes me really happy that I live near Yellowstone National Park. The air is so much more cleaner out there. I even realized it when I made the move from New York City.
    Urban areas need more trees!!

    Klarissa Parduba

  3. April Manuel says:

    This reminds me of a website that was sent to me where you sign up with your email and choose a state where you would want a tree planted. Each email address signed up allows you to choose where a tree will be grown. I tried finding the website to link it here but it was about a year ago. I found another website though where you can buy an Ecard that raises money for planting trees! Here is the link: http://www.treegreetings.com/faq.shtml

    Hopefully we can reduce global warming by planting more trees and recycling. I already started recycling because this class motivated me to help.

  4. Jacob Berrier says:

    When I moved to Cincinnati for school, I left a small farm area and I had never had much experience in a large city. I lived on the 9th floor of the dorms and the first morning I woke up to a nice thick brown smog, it was quite a shock to see.

  5. kristysiciliano says:

    I wish there were more trees, i’ve lived in philadelphia for a few years, even though it was a city, it had plenty of trees around at parks and even outside of the row house i used to live in, but still a lot of smog and smelled really bad, i wish there was just more trees in general, in my childhood home, there was a huge forest behind my house but they just knocked it all down to build houses, bye bye oxygen.

  6. Elaine Wu says:

    I used to live in Portland, Oregon, and I remember everywhere I looked there were wonderful lush forests everywhere where there were nature trails to hike through. I eventually moved to Los Angeles, California, where there aren’t as many trees to look at. Granted, that area generally has more hills and plains than forests, but much of the land has become urbanized so even natural grassy hills aren’t very common.

  7. Yeah I have heard of alot of new programs that take groups of kids either troubled and other kids and try to get them to do community service in their own neighborhoods by planting trees. Its interesting because it is an effort to reform these kids but also to get them to care about their neighborhoods and the earth. It really interesting just the new programs for kids and young adults that involve the planting of something. Their are alot of programs more now than when I was a kid that have to do with saving the earth.

    ~Mackenzie Vartanian

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