Like many growing companies, we get caught up in the world of video and technology and startups and the hectic pace of city life. 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, SproutVideo launched an initiative in 2016 to give back to the planet by donating to the National Forest Foundation (NFF). Our donation will help restore America’s National Forests. Keep reading to learn more about this initiative, and some fun facts about trees!

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. That means two trees can supply adequate oxygen to support a family of four for a year.1

Trees do a lot beyond producing the air you need to survive. Their roots prevent soil erosion, and protect waterways, providing clean drinking water for millions of people. Meanwhile, their branches create habitats for all sorts of animals and insects.

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. In turn, this helps protect them against the attacking insects.2

Older Than You Think

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 wood, 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.

New England Fall Foliage

How to Get Involved

If you would 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 help by searching for local tree planting or environmental clean-up events. By volunteering your time, you can pitch in without spending any money.


What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day? Let us know in the comments below!

Notes:

  1. SavATree – accessed April 20, 2016
  2. Wikipedia – accessed April 20, 2016
  3. TreeHugger – accessed April 20, 2016
  4. NC State University – accessed April 20, 2016
  5. Slate – accessed April 20, 2016
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