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).
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.”