Trees—they produce the vast majority of the oxygen we need to survive, they provide us with much-needed shade on hot days, and they’re just plain beautiful. For all of those reasons and many more, protecting the trees on our planet should be a real priority for all of us and thankfully, recently, it has. Of course, with millions of hectares of forests being chopped down every year, we still have a long way to go, but we are making progress, and the International Day of Forests is proof of that.

History of International Day of Forests

The International Day of Forests was established on March 21st, by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on November 28, 2012. Since then, each year, various events celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for the benefit of current and future generations. The state of our forests is important to us all here on earth for many reasons – 80% of all terrestrial biodiversity lives in forests, and each year many species go extinct as a result of them being destroyed. Of course, forests also play a critical role in climate change deforestation results in 12-18 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and accelerated global warming. Forests also provide food, fiber, water and and even medicines for approximately 1.6 billion of the world’s population, especially the poorest people.

How to celebrate International Days of Forests

There are a few great ways to celebrate this day. You could plant some trees—and we don’t even mean taking on some sort enormous commitment that requires you to quit your job and dedicate your life to planting thousands of trees. Even one or two in your backyard would be enough! There must be a fruit you love, so why not plant a fruit tree or two? There’s nothing quite like fruit that’s just been freshly picked off a tree to make you feel what summer is all about. Not to mention the 100% pesticide and herbicide-free juices and jams you could make and enjoy for months afterwards! Another way to celebrate International Day of Forests would be to go hiking in a forest nearby, or even going for a nice, relaxing walk there.

Trees are something we sometimes take for granted, so going out for the purpose of appreciating their beauty and the beauty of nature in general while also enjoying some fresh air would definitely be beneficial. If you’re not feeling quite so active, you can take some time on this day to think about what you can do to help prevent so many trees from being cut down—rent books from the library instead of buying, recycle used paper, and, of course, and of course teach your children to do the same! There’s nothing quite like raising awareness about an issue to get it solved quicker, especially when it comes to people who are the future of humanity.

This International Day of Forests, make sure you make a difference. As with cutting down trees—one doesn’t seem to matter, but millions of hectares definitely do—so with us earthlings—if we all cared just a little bit, the planet would be a better place.

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