If your summers are boiling, it is a good reason to do a tree count in your town or city!! (I explain with some pictures I've taken in my city.)
Each summer in India seems worse than the last. And it is not just because you feel sweat streaming like a river down your face and back, but because there are people actually dying of heat every day! (See this ‘Hundreds die in Indian heatwave‘). And one of the main reasons our summers are feeling more and more like HELL, is that more and more trees are being cut down. it almost seems like the only trees we have left in the city are the trees that managed to seed on and grow on walls (as in the pic above). Or the ones that are growing on top of buildings and rooftops (below).
But by and large trees in the city get chopped down in the name of ‘development’ – shopping malls, and building complexes that need vast expanse of space and apparently cannot afford to spare space for some trees!
There is of course also the business angle. There is no check on small businesses going around the city hacking down trees for commercial use. And the municipal body of the city not only doesn’t care, but apparently likes to partake of the profit sharing by actually making deals with wood contractors to help themselves to their hearts content to the city’s trees.
So in broad daylight as you walk along the streets of the city you see trees hacked down to their roots, their branches and leaves which are of no use to the wood contractors, just scattered on the pavements and roads.
BUT AMONG MANY OTHER USES TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND TO OUR HEALTHS, ONE OF THE PRIME BENEFITS THAT TREES PROVIDE IS THEY LOWER THE TEMPERATURE OF THE IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT! AND THEY HELP CUT DOWN ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION AND LOWER YOUR UTILITIES BILL BY VAST AMOUNTS!
- Trees provide shade and they transpire, i.e. they release water vapor into the air. Water is drawn up from the roots to the leaves from where it evaporates. The transfer from water to vapor absorbs huge amounts of heat from the air, and creates a cooling effect.
- Just one large tree can release up to 400 gallons of water into the air every day. This cooling effect of the trees save electricity consumption and can cut down more than 40% of your electricity bill. Just 3 mature shade trees in a compound can cut down the air conditioning bills of a household by 10% to 50%.
- Studies show that neighborhoods with full-grown trees are about 11 degrees cooler than neighborhoods without trees. Also, EACH one-degree rise in the city’s temperature increases electricity consumption by 2% .
- One study found that if 500,000 trees were planted in the Tucson area of Texas (which gets very hot in the summers) it would reduce the temperature of the area by 3 degrees and save up to 25% of the energy costs.
- Also on the average, it is seen that cities are 5 to 9 degrees warmer than rural areas because of the absence of trees and that’s why the energy consumption in urban areas are much more.
- The National Arbor Day Foundation has estimated that if a 100 million trees were planted in the U.S. cities, it would save the nation $2 billion annually in electricity consumption.