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EnvironmentStudy shows living near trees increases your life expectancy!

Study shows living near trees increases your life expectancy!

It’s official: the secret to living a longer and healthier life is right outside our door – in the trees! A groundbreaking study conducted by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (BIGH) has revealed that living in areas with more trees can dramatically lower your risk of premature death. So how can a bunch of trees be good for your health? 

The study was inspired by the work of the Friends of Trees charity in Portland, Oregon. Over the course of three decades, they managed to plant an incredible 49,246 trees! The BIGH scientists were curious to see just how much of an impact this massive tree-planting campaign had on the health of Portland’s residents.

After examining all the data and factoring in relevant socioeconomic factors, the results were clear – people who live near trees are healthier and live longer lives. The study found a significant reduction in non-accidental and cardiovascular disease-related (CVD) deaths. The data shows that for every 12 trees planted, over 20 lives are saved each year – that’s pretty amazing stuff!

So, what makes trees so good for us? For starters, they’re great for our lungs. Trees absorb pollutants and produce oxygen, which means cleaner air for us to breathe. This can help reduce the risk of respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD.

But the benefits don’t stop there. Being around trees can help reduce stress levels and improve our mental health. Spending time in nature can lower our levels of the stress hormone cortisol, making us feel happier and more alert.

And that’s not all – trees also provide shade, which can help prevent skin cancer and create a great environment for outdoor exercise. So, the next time you’re feeling a little down, why not take a walk in the park and soak up some of these tree benefits?

With so much evidence pointing to the positive impact of trees on our health, it’s no wonder that more and more people are calling for more trees to be planted in our towns and cities. Take Manchester, for example. Despite being a vibrant and bustling city, it’s one of the few cities in the UK that hasn’t made the list of Tree Cities of the World. This is something that tree surgeons in Manchester have been campaigning to change for years.

Of course, one of the concerns about planting more trees in public spaces is how to care for them properly. Professional tree surgeons can definitely help with this. These unsung heroes of the natural world are experts in caring for trees and ensuring they thrive in our urban environments. They understand the importance of trees and the role they play in keeping us healthy and happy.

More specifically, the tree surgeons in Manchester are already experts in the natural environment of trees in our city. This is yet another example where policymakers should consult and work together with local business to create a more self-reliant and sustainable local circular economy. 

But the study has more implications for policymakers. It suggests that the presence of trees should be taken into account when planning urban areas and infrastructure projects. Trees should not be seen as just a cosmetic addition to a city, but rather as an essential component of a healthy, vibrant community.

The benefits of trees are clear, but unfortunately, not everyone has equal access to them. In many cities such as Manchester, low-income areas are often lacking in green spaces and trees. This is especially true of Harpurey, Monsall and Ardwick which are polluted and in need of more green spaces and trees. 

Policymakers must work to address this issue and ensure that all communities have access to the health benefits of trees. This can be done through targeted tree planting and green space initiatives in underserved areas, as well as policies that prioritise the needs of these communities in infrastructure projects.

Individuals can also play a role in promoting the benefits of trees. They can plant trees in their own gardens, support local tree planting initiatives, and advocate for more green spaces in their communities. By working together, we can create healthier, more vibrant communities for everyone.

The study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health has confirmed what we have long suspected – that trees can have a lasting impact on an individual’s health and longevity. By planting more trees, policymakers and individuals can help create healthier, happier communities for generations to come. With the help of organisations like Friends of Trees and the hard work of tree surgeons, we can make sure that more and more people can enjoy the benefits of trees for years to come. So, go out and hug a tree today – your health will thank you for it!

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