Trees, climate change and mental health

The UK Govt. Committee on Climate Change proposes that we triple the annual number of trees planted. Let’s do it! Planting more trees will not only have a significant impact on carbon emissions, but would also directly improve mental health.

Research consistently shows that trees have a wide range of positive impacts on mental well-being.

  • Having more trees around elicits positive emotions (Hull and Harvey 1989) and has been associated with improved social interaction (Kweon et al. 1998).
  • Greener urban areas have fewer crimes, less street violence and lower levels of aggression in the home (Kuo and Sullivan 2001).
  • Just having a view of trees from your office window reduces the negative impact of work stress (Leather et al. 1998) and improves cognitive functioning (Wells, 2000).
Looking up through trees at blue sky

Trees for life

All these benefits, and I haven’t even mentioned the potential impact of improving biodiversity! As Beccy Speight, the chief executive of the Woodland Trust, said, “There is a potential win-win here.”

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