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I am the Earth. You are the Earth.

Earth Day is Monday, April 22. Arbor Day is Friday, April, 26.

Valentine’s Day is important to lovers. Mother’s Day is important to mothers. But to whom is Earth Day and Arbor Day important? Earth Day and Arbor Day should be important to all of us in the floriculture industry, and especially important to those of us who promote the plant and garden products, which add environmental goodness to the earth.

Earth Day is celebrated in 192 countries to bring awareness and respect for the environment, and inspire us toward its conservation and protection. It’s reported to be the foundation of the most important environment legislations of our time: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.

trees-51037 Arbor Day, in a related mission, calls upon all of us to recognize the importance of trees to the environment and inspire us to plant, nurture, and celebrate them.

So what’s the big deal? Let me share a personal story.

As I was leaving one of my visits with the Sun Valley Team in Arcata, CA, a few years ago, it was mentioned that I should head southbound onto Old Highway 101 which will take me though “The Avenue of the Giants.” “An avenue of the giants?,” I laughed, “Exactly what kind of giants live on an avenue in Northern California?”

Low and behold, off of the beaten path of asphalt is a 31-mile path called, The Avenue of the Giants, leading through 51,000 acres of the mighty (and giant) redwood trees... the largest continuous growth of redwood trees in the world.  

Mature trees average 150–250 feet tall, and some of the tallest trees exceed 350 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 12-20 feet. Indeed, these trees are 44 times an average human’s height and would tower over the Statue of Liberty! They survive over 200 years, and many have lived in excess of 2,000 years. Coastal redwoods, found only in the United States, are the tallest tree species on earth, and the oldest living specie in the world! So how does a tree’s size and age equate to their value to the environment? Well, the output of oxygen is relative to the size and density of the tree. Thus, one single redwood tree converts poisonous carbon dioxide into 18,000 pounds of oxygen annually, and the entire redwood forest… right here in the United States… produces 315 billion pounds of oxygen every year!

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an acre of average-sized trees absorbs 6 tons of carbon dioxide from our environment annually, and converts it to four tons of oxygen, a human’s lifeblood. Trees also protect humans, and all other living organisms, from the harmful effects of the sun’s heat. The net cooling effect of a young, healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours per day!

It’s said, tongue-in-cheek, that “if trees gave off wi-fi signals, we’d be planting them all over… but unfortunately, they only produce the oxygen we breathe.”

By promoting trees and plants in our floral programs, we should all be proud of the small part we play in the tangible values that make Earth Day and Arbor Day important to the world. Spread the word!