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Hello, do you know who I am? I am the Earth, yes, that’s right: the planet Earth, and I would like to talk to you about trees as they are very important both for me and all living things.
Do you know how many trees there are on my surface? Almost three trillion! Yup I said trillion! It is difficult to imagine such a large number…and it sounds like so many but the truth is we need even more because they are essential for our environment to remain healthy, as well as you and me. Every year 15 billion trees are cut down. It’s crazy!
When simply looking at a tree we only observe a part of a complex and fascinating living thing. Underground you can find the roots, and it is because of them that the tree sticks to the ground, while at the same time they suck up water and minerals found in the soil, allowing it to grow. These roots are also like a hand, grabbing hold of the earth, avoiding it from being eroded by wind and water.
The water and all the nutrients it receives from its roots extend throughout the tree through the inner part of the trunk, a true column for the tree top.
This is where we find the tree’s branches which grow outwards in a similar fashion to the roots underground. Here is where the leaves spout out, a fundamental element in all trees as it is because of them where photosynthesis takes place, so they can feed.
What does photosynthesis mean? Well it’s a fascinating chemical process. The water, enriched with minerals, reaches the leaves and then, with the help of the sunlight and the chlorophyll, which is also responsible for the green color they receive, is mixed with carbon dioxide absorbed from the air through the leaves.
Photosynthesis is essential for trees but also it’s really important for all living things living close by, because it traps carbon dioxide, or CO2, which is one of the causes of the “greenhouses effect” that is making the temperature rise all over the planet, meaning me and that’s why I am so hot. During this process the tree also expels oxygen, an essential part of the air we breathe. And there are many more benefits we gain from trees.
They are like tiny living planets, offering food and shelter to a multitude of different animals. Human beings get wood and fruit from trees. They help soften the wind strength and rain as well as reduce air contamination, filtering it through the leaves and branches. And I am sure you have found relief under the shade of a tree on a very hot sunny day. Well, they do a similar thing to me. The forests are one of the best means I have to regulate the climate thanks to their shade and ability to avoid water evaporation.
As you can see there are many very good reasons to look after the trees. And, better yet, to plant them and help them grow strong and healthy. I suggest a very exciting idea: encourage your parents to grow trees…for as you know…children can make a world of difference.