When Trees Thrive, People Thrive

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We at TreePeople certainly believe that what we are doing is a matter of life and death. But sometimes we’re confronted with more sobering proof than we expected. That’s what happened when I read this article by Lindsay Abrams that recently appeared in The Atlantic, “When Trees Die, People Die.” 

I expected that this article would be just another “trees-make-us-feel-better” story. “Aren’t they pretty? Let’s go plant some.” I wasn’t prepared for this (italics mine):

When the U.S. Forest Service looked at mortality rates in counties affected by the emerald ash borer, they found increased mortality rates. Specifically, more people were dying of cardiovascular and lower respiratory tract illness—the first and third most common causes of death in the U.S. As the infestation took over in each of these places, the connection to poor health strengthened.

A natural reaction is to want to plant more treesOK, a lot more treesand yes, that’s very helpful. But let’s reframe this: When trees thrive, people thrive. That’s why TreePeople focuses as much on taking care of trees that are already there as it does on planting new ones. Our forestry program sticks with our newly planted trees for five years, or until they are fully established, so that they can live long, healthy lives… And so can we.

Check out our tree care videos and guidelines. If you live in the L.A. area, you can make a bigger impact and start your own community tree care team to adopt trees in your neighborhood and give them a little TLC. Or you can take your commitment further and become a certified Citizen Arborist.

The life you save, as they say, could be your own.

Lisa Cahill first began her work with TreePeople as a volunteer Citizen Forester. She currently serves on the board of directors for the reDiscover Center, continues to volunteer as a Citizen Forester, has been on the Mar Vista Green Garden Tour and serves on several green committees at her church and children's schools. She most enjoys working in the garden with her husband, watching her children and vegetables grow.