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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

October 2014 - Publisher's Letter - For the Love of Trees

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
For myriad important reasons, a lush, mature tree that shaded our house was recently felled by our community during the hottest week of the year. Instantly, the quality of our lives changed. Our house became brighter, hotter and required continuous air conditioning for comfort. Birdsongs were overwhelmed by the drone of air conditioning. Once cool to the touch, our front walk now swelters underfoot. The air smells hot and heavy, less refreshing when breathed. There are fewer creatures to watch and enjoy. And, maybe its my imagination, but neighbors seem to pass by quicker than before, with less meandering, less breathing in the cool beauty of the tree’s canopy.

So, what does felling a single tree have to do with this month’s issue? Well, for us, the impact of not having the tree on our quality of life was surprising. We could have predicted the increase in water and electricity usage—that’s a logical conclusion, but we were surprised by the dramatic change in quality of our living space, inside and outside, and on our spirit. So we’re taking this opportunity to remember the importance of trees as we endeavor to create a more sustainable urban lifestyle.

Some cool things to know about trees: • Trees cool our environment by shading the earth and circulating the air. • Trees clean the air, absorbing odors and filtering gases and particulates. • Trees provide oxygen, freshening the air. • Trees conserve energy, cutting summer air-conditioning needs. • Trees are gathering places that bring people together. • Trees provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife. • Trees have a calming effect on body, mind and spirit. • Trees save water by slowing evaporation from lawns. • Trees increase moisture in the air via transpiration.

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