Green Junction: What Do Trees Do For Us? By Julie Peller Ph.D

Ecosystem services is a term used to describe the ways nature provides materials and functions for the essence of life. The food we eat, the oxygen we breathe, the medicines we take, and so much more are only possible by the services provided via resources of the earth. Trees are an example of nature’s offerings. They generate oxygen, filter out air pollutants, sequester carbon, provide shelter and regulate air and water temperatures, among many other benefits such as mental health and serenity. In this spring season, consider planting or donating a tree to be planted. The Nature Conservancy is one organization with an ongoing tree-planting campaign: “Planting a billion trees can help us curb the effects of climate change. It’s a big number, but we know we can do it with your help.”

Here are some beautiful reflections on trees to remind us of their incredible role in our world.

Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish.” Munia Khan

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Nelson Hendersen

Trees give peace to the souls of man.” Nora Waln

“A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers; I know nothing about the thousand children who spring out of me every year. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust, I live.” Herman Hesse

Consider offering a gift of $10 or more for trees at Happy planting!

Julie Peller Ph.D. is an environmental chemist (Professor of Chemistry at Valparaiso University ) and she leads the Environmental Ministry at Nativity of Our Savior in Portage IN. Julie has been writing a weekly column for church bulletins for the past ~6 years called the Green Junction and is helping to move the call of Laudato Si to action forward. Her Research Interests are in Advanced oxidation for aqueous solutions, water quality analyses, emerging contaminants, air quality analyses, Lake Michigan shoreline challenges (Cladophora, water, and sediment contaminants), student and citizen participation in environmental work

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