Photo credit: Blue Zones

Trees not only slow climate change, they help people live happier, healthier, and longer lives.

Trees provide environments conducive to physical and social activities and this improves mental well-being. Whether through community gardening or walking in neighbourhoods or parks, people of all ages report experiencing relaxing or invigorating effects after going out into nature.

Studies have shown that tree canopy creates lower rates of “psychological distress”. People are happier and less likely to get depression when they’ve got connection to nature. Study participants exposed to nature were found to have decreases in blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.

It is evident that good mental health can positively affect physical health. Cities should thus prioritise planting trees for public well-being and happiness. “Urban forests and trees in cities can lower stress and boost physical and mental health,” says the UN FAO.