Have you not felt the relief from a shady tree during searing hot temperatures? There is no question, really. Shady trees are a treasure and far outweigh any benefits of built shade amenities.
From trees, we get fresh air to breathe. They filter impurities and release oxygen. They also stabilise banks, reduce erosion and increase soil fertility.
They keep water tables at depth, eliminating the risk of land salinisation and stabilising water supply for mass-production of food.
Trees provide habitat and shelter for birds and animals that make our world enjoyable and interesting.
Trees store energy (carbon). Trees live within their means, dropping their leaves and limbs to conserve energy during drought and reduce loss of soil moisture. Awesome!
A mature tree can absorb about 22 kg of CO2 each year. Earth’s vegetative coverage absorbs around 26% of the CO2 released by humans today and yet deforestation continues at a rate of 36 footy fields each minute [2015 data].
We are currently on a trajectory of shifting the CO2 capture in long-term storage (in trees and coal) to the atmosphere and onto the oceans, increasing ocean acidification and harming sea-life.
We need to stop. Consider that within a decade, the atmospheric CO2 levels will be 421 pp, as a conservative figure (21 points about today’s  400 ppm).
If we want future generations to experience life on this planet, as we know it, then, we must do something.
Every little bit counts.
For one, stop treating trees as the enemy. Treasure them and make an effort to plant more.
(The above was first published in the Capricorn Coast Mirror on December 9, 2015.)
There are many reasons to hug a tree!