Like many growing companies, sometimes we get so caught up in the world of video and technology and startups and the hectic pace of city life, that we lose sight of the bigger, more fundamentally important things out there. In fact, I’m referring specifically to some of the biggest, most important things on this planet: trees.
To celebrate Earth Day in 2016, SproutVideo is launching a new initiative to give back to the planet by donating a portion of the proceeds from new video hosting accounts opened on our platform to the National Forest Foundation (NFF) to help restore America’s National Forests. Keep reading to learn more about how this program works, and some fun facts about trees!
How It Works
It really couldn’t be more simple. For every video hosting account opened on our platform, we will donate a portion of the proceeds to the NFF. The NFF will take our donation, and use it to plant trees in National Forests damaged by wildfire, natural disasters, or disease. With over 193 million acres of National Forest Reserves in the US, there is quite a lot of work to be done to ensure future generations will get to enjoy these natural spaces.
Why Plant Trees?
Trees are unbelievably cool organisms when you think about it. As we all know, they happily filter air for us, and produce the oxygen that makes Earth inhabitable by other creatures. In fact, just one mature tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year, which means two trees can supply adequate oxygen to support a family of four for a year.1
Beyond producing the air you need to survive, trees also prevent soil erosion, create habitats for all sorts of animals and insects, and protect waterways, providing clean drinking water for millions of people.
You probably already knew all of that, but did you know that trees talk to each other? When under attack from voracious insects, a tree will release a flood of chemicals into the air that serves to alert other trees nearby of the imminent danger. These chemicals prompt neighboring trees to also release their own defensive chemicals, which help protect them against the attacking insects.2
Also, while the average life expectancy of a tree ranges from 100 – 150 years, trees in urban areas typically survive for only about 8 years. On the other end of the spectrum, the oldest known tree in the USA is a bristlecone pine tree in northern California, and is over 5,000 years old.3 Just imagine what that tree would tell us, if only we could understand it.
While that one tree might be the oldest single living organism, some trees propagate by cloning, meaning their genetic makeup is identical and they share a root system, enabling a cluster of seemingly individual trees to form one massive interconnected colony. In Utah, one such colony of Quaking Aspen trees covers 103 acres, weighs 6,600 tons, and is estimated to be over 80,000 years old.4
The Bottom Line
Great – we get it – trees are good for the environment and live a long time, but what about the bottom line? Guess what, they can save you money, and even make money, too. Trees save you money by creating shade and consequently decreasing cooling costs, increasing property values, and preserving the environment.
As far as making money goes, some 5,000 products (including 95% of houses in the US) are made from trees, and trees are huge tourism draws as well. For example, in Macon, Georgia, more than 600,000 people travel to see the cherry blossoms bloom, and in doing so, generate roughly $6.5 million in revenue each year.5
An even bigger phenomenon occurs in New England, when millions of people travel to see the trees turn color in the Fall, with foliage tourism worth an estimated $1 billion to the region. In Vermont alone, 3.6 million people make the trek, and generate $331.9 million on average in tourism revenue.6 Trees are economic engines just as much as they are critical to a healthy planet.
How to Get Involved
As we already mentioned, if you open a paid video hosting account with us, part of your subscription fees will go towards restoring National Forests in the US. If you don’t have an immediate need for video hosting, and would still like to get involved, organizations like the NFF depend on donations from individuals like yourself. Every little bit counts! You can also find ways to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty by searching for local tree planting or environmental clean-up events, allowing you to pitch in without spending any money.
What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day? Let us know in the comments below!