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Celebrating Arbor Day

Anetha Sivananthan

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Today on Friday the 26th of April, it is Arbor Day and if you’re a native to Nebraska you may already know what Arbor Day is and the history behind it. Although, for those who have yet to come across Arbor Day, we’ll be going through the historical significance of Arbor Day and why it is still conspicuously necessary today.

Arbor Day derives itself from the Latin word for tree, ‘Arbor’. In the year 1872, J.Sterling Morton from Nebraska City founded Arbor Day in response to the absence of trees in Nebraska and the first Arbor Day celebrated that year saw the plantation of approximately one million trees in Nebraska.

The yearly plantation of tress in Nebraska amassed attention throughout the United States and thus became a globally and nationally celebrated day in America for over a century. The importance of Arbor Day is paramount in today’s age of exceeding levels of pollution and concerning, global warming crisis. Our health is consequently at risk of respiratory conditions from asthma to cases of lung cancer in non-smokers, in there thousands. The International Agency of Research on Cancer (IARC) reported in 2010, that 230,000 deaths from lung cancer globally were the result of air pollution, with evidence to suggest pollution simultaneously increased the risk of bladder cancer.

Go green: how trees eradicate pollution

Trees ensure our air is clean and that we can breathe freely, via absorbing the rocketing levels of carbon dioxide emitted by our vehicles and other toxic pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and ammonia. It takes four trees to remove the amount of pollution created from a 5000-mile drive, which for some is the just half of the mileage covered in a year.

According to a 2011 report by the US Forest Service, urban forests in Los Angeles comprising of trees and shrub canopies, which cover a quarter of the city were found to have reduced 1,976 tons of air pollution in the city. The benefits don’t stop there, as Los Angeles’ trees demonstrated cuts to annual residential energy costs by $10.2 million per year.

The costs saved in Los Angeles to our health and in our homes, is just a small taste of what we can achieve by continuing onwards the celebration of Arbor Day and planting more trees!

The ‘Time For Trees’ initiative

In order to counteract the global decline in our mental and physical health, due to air pollution, the Arbor Day Foundation has established a ‘Time For Trees’ campaign initiative. The impetus behind their campaign calls upon the plantation of trees; subsequently, they aspire to plant 100 million tress and work to inspire five million tree planters around the globe to fulfil their campaign’s mission.

The positive, global outcomes of the campaign are endless; listed in depth on the Time for Trees campaign page , the plantation benefits of 100 million trees include:

  • Absorbing 8 million tons of carbon – the equivalent of taking 6.2 million cars off the road for one year.
  • Filtering 7.1 billion cubic meters of water runoff, enough water to fill the water bottle of every person on Earth every day for five years.
  • Filtering 15,850 tons of microscopic airborne particulate matter out of the air, which could fill up nine Olympic-sized swimming pools.
  • Removing 578,000 tons of chemical air pollution from our atmosphere, enough gaseous pollution to fill 70,000 Goodyear®
  • Providing $32.9 Billion in total environmental benefits – the equivalent of the operating budget of Chicago for about 10 years.


In support of Arbor Day and every human’s fundamental right and existential necessity of being able to breathe safely in air free of toxins, donate today towards the Time for Trees initiative.

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