Here in Cordova, you’ve got all kinds of folks. But we all have one thing in common: we care about the environment. And why not, when it’s our livelihood. Our bounty of commercial fishermen utilize one of our most plentiful natural resources to feed their families and so many others all over the world. But there’s an army of organizations and groups behind these fishermen that diligently monitor everything from governmental policies to populations of fish and other marine life to maintain a healthy, profitable fishery. This Arbor Day, I’d like to give a shout out to groups like Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU), Prince William Sound Science Center (PWSSC), Copper River Watershed Project (CRWP) and numerous others that are working to protect everything having to do with fishing, including the environment. To those groups and so many others, a tip of the hat!
But the environment is a complicated, extremely interconnected thing and there are a lot of ways to look after it responsibly. Today is Arbor Day, so we’re going to talk about one of the most basic environmental entities in need of protection (and appreciation)… the TREE! The New York Times recently published a great article, Why Trees Matter. Here some of my favorite excerpts:
We take [trees] for granted, but they are a near miracle. In a bit of natural alchemy called photosynthesis, for example, trees turn one of the seemingly most insubstantial things of all — sunlight — into food for insects, wildlife and people, and use it to create shade, beauty and wood for fuel, furniture and homes…
What trees do is essential though often not obvious. Decades ago, Katsuhiko Matsunaga, a marine chemist at Hokkaido University in Japan, discovered that when tree leaves decompose, they leach acids into the ocean that help fertilize plankton. When plankton thrive, so does the rest of the food chain. In a campaign called Forests Are Lovers of the Sea, fishermen have replanted forests along coasts and rivers to bring back fish and oyster stocks. And they have returned.
That is especially important to think about when you live in a place like Cordova! Who knew terrestrial trees were so vital to a healthy marine ecosystem!
In Japan, researchers have long studied what they call “forest bathing.” A walk in the woods, they say, reduces the level of stress chemicals in the body and increases natural killer cells in the immune system, which fight tumors and viruses. Studies in inner cities show that anxiety, depression and even crime are lower in a landscaped environment.
In honor of Arbor Day, here are my top 9 reasons trees are awesome!