Health / Leaders & People / Yoga

Trees: The Ultimate Service for Others

My Old Tree by Keri DouglasA brisk burst of air waves off the humidity revealing strong, powerful, majestic trees.  Against the crisp blue, trees in the city reach into the sky providing a service for the community like none other.

Bapuji, a former freedom fighter for Gandhi and a retired UN official shares the yogi perspective.  He says, “Trees are the ultimate symbol of service to others.”  He continues by explaining that trees remove carbon dioxide and provide oxygen.  They provide shade when it is hot.  They offer fruit and nuts for our pleasure.  When the branches are heavy with fruit they lower closer to the ground easy for picking.  They do all of this and ask for nothing in return. Bapuji’s words resonate every time I see a remarkable tree standing tall.

Clearly, trees are a vital partner in the air we breathe, the water we drink and our lively hood.

American Forests, a world leader in the advocacy for trees, has extensive educational projects and planting projects to rejuvenate urban tree settings and forest ecosystems.  Most interesting is to calculate your individual CO2 impact and learn how many trees need to be planted to offset your own CO2 footprint.

At a meeting of ‘green’ urban developers, a representative of Casey Trees shares the importance of trees in preventing run off.  In Washington, D.C., preventing run off is vital as storm water flows into the same pipes as the city sewage, which then frequently overflows.  As a result untreated water flows into local water tributaries causing many health warnings.  Planting trees in an urban area prevents storm water run off as the canopy will collect the water.

In addition, trees are a tourist destination and generate income for the region.  The Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D.C. has more than 700,000 visitors each year. Joshua Tree Park in California or the Redwood Forest with Sequoias and Douglas Fir have countless scientists and visitors entranced by these natural monuments.

From each perspective around the world, trees quietly command respect, honor and protection.  As fall approaches with leaves bursting into brilliant colors, it is time to celebrate the wonder and service of trees.

Discover what trees are in your neighborhood by visiting

By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, DC

Read more in Ode magazine Exchange.


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