This summer I have been challenged by others and myself with the question as to why I chose to spend my whole summer around trees. Academically, I am a religion major on the pre-medicine track, so I am certainly not fulfilling a course requirement. And although I am seen as the tree-hugging flower child of my family, does it really warrant eight-hour work days in the boiling sun? There really isn’t a single reason as to why I should be spending my whole summer with trees. So, I have decided on choice D: all of the above.
Trees provide individuals and communities with an almost endless supply of benefits and comforts. Many religions around the world share deep connections and traditions with nature, finding solace and community amongst their fellow creation. Medically, studies have shown that patients who are near or can see trees recover more quickly, and experience less dependence on pain medication than those who don’t. Has anyone noticed we haven’t even started with environmental reasons yet? Trees provide us with the clean air we need to survive, and are vital in soil structure. While these are just a few reasons, it’s fairly clear that a sustainable future cannot exit without trees.
Personally, trees have always provided me with a sense of security, positivity for the future. If an immobile tree can withstand all of the harm and stress people have placed on it for half a century, then perhaps I find a similar perseverance for my own life. I think one of my favorite realizations of this fellowship was learning that there really is no need to be an environmental or sustainability science major to be apart of this tree-inspired movement. Loving and caring for trees is not limited to social or academic distinctions. For centuries, trees have bridged this gap on their own and inspired and healed so many people. While I recognize that the primary focus of this blog is on sustainability practices and organizations, I can’t limit my reasons for taking on this fellowship just to the profound environmental benefits that trees provide. It is for all of these reasons and more that I have chosen trees for my summer.