Grow Bark, Reduce Bites

Sabriga Turgon

More Trees Means Less Crime
Photo by André Robillard on Unsplash

What kid doesn’t love a good tree house? Climbing up, standing above the crowd, embraced by branches and leaves — a tree house symbolizes all that is peaceful, safe, and mighty.

But trees are more than symbolic protection—their presence creates greater peace. By growing tree bark we can lessen the bites of community violence.

According to National Geographic Magazine, “All animals, plants, and fungi share an ancestor that lived about 1.6 billion years ago.”

Could this distant common origin impel our need for trees to feel whole, to feel peaceful?

It’s no secret that trees provide physical and social value to their community. Multiple studies have shown the many benefits of trees that capture CO2, provide shade, reduce noise pollution, and help water run-off flooding.

But who knew that trees are the silent therapists and police that can reduce crime?

Austin Troy, et al., used technology to overlay maps of high crime areas (robbery, burglary, theft, and shooting) onto a city map of Baltimore. After controlling for socioeconomic factors, they found that areas of the city with high rates of crime had low numbers of trees. And they discovered that “a 10% increase in tree canopy was associated with a roughly 12% decrease in crime.”

Any financial advisor would love that ROI.


Imagine what would happen if cities all over the world made tree planting a priority in their difficult areas!

What if sharing a tree with your neighbor also meant your houses and tempers were cooler?

What if engaging the children of your neighborhood in planting and caring for their own special tree meant they felt empowered to make other changes? What if they shared it with classmates and friends then grew into adults with a sense of ownership and pride in their world and choices?

It’s not a crazy vision.

It’s the vision that will inspire more and more people to do little things that matter to the planet and the people — like plant one tree, nurture it, and watch it grow into something so powerful it helps us breathe better, cools the global temperature, and saves lives.

What if we measured wealth by the number of trees we planted?

Increase your riches—plant a tree today!

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Helping us get along with each other, the earth, and our precarious future. I write about the beautiful strangeness of life, women & kids, the planet's survival, and reflections from my 60s And I'll help you write your book.

Los Angeles, CA

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