94% of Americans Agree This Nature-Based Superhero is Good for the Planet

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Here’s one thing most of us can agree on: Trees are good.

Published April 25, 2023 11:29AM EDT

A new national survey from the Harris Poll shows 94% of Americans agree that trees are good for the planet. 

It might seem obvious, right? I doubt there are many people who’ve designated a tree as an enemy. But let’s think about this in context. When was the last time you saw 94% of Americans agree on anything? I can’t even get 94% of my family to agree on whether to serve apple or pecan pie during Thanksgiving dinner. 

As a nation, we are moving through an incredibly divisive time. We’re constantly choosing sides. We align by political parties or belief systems, and, sometimes, we’re too proud to acknowledge we all may be more similar than we are different. But these poll results show us that Americans can come together. 

A tree can be unifying. 

I’ve seen it firsthand at tree plantings and distributions all around the country. I’ve stood beside people in red states and blue states, in urban cities and rural communities. And in every place, I always see the same look of pure joy on someone’s face when they get to put a tree in the ground. In those moments, when we’re bonded by an appreciation for trees, our differences just don’t matter. 

This message hits close to home ahead of the Arbor Day national holiday on April 28. For more than 150 years, the “tree planter’s holiday” has served as a celebratory call to action. It motivates people to grab a shovel and break ground on a new legacy. At the Arbor Day Foundation, we’ve seen growing momentum surrounding this holiday and the tree-planting movement for years. And it’s not slowing down. 

More people are saying “yes” to tree planting than ever before. 

The Harris Poll findings (commissioned by the Arbor Day Foundation) give us an insight into why. 

Annmarie Young Photography / Getty Images

In recent years at the Arbor Day Foundation, we’ve seen an immense increase in support from individual supporters to large corporate partners, all calling for more trees to help solve some of the planet’s most pressing issues, like climate change. The survey findings match that sense of urgency as nearly 9 in 10 U.S. adults (88%) agree right now is a critical time to be replanting our nation’s forests. Trees hold a lot of power in our ability to address some of the world’s biggest problems, and reforestation is a key piece of that puzzle. When we grow and nurture our forest lands, we strengthen trees and amplify their impact for decades to come. 

The survey also found 91% of Americans say trees help fight climate change. The response aligns with the perspective of scientists who have long pointed to trees as a cost-effective way to address threats facing the environment. By pulling carbon from the air, trees are a nature-based workhorse on the frontlines of the fight against climate change. 

Brett Monroe Garner / Getty Images

Cleaning the air is just one of the ways 98% of Americans say trees can add value to forests and neighborhoods. People also agreed that trees provide lifesaving shade, improve mental health, foster habitat for wildlife and beautify our neighborhoods. 

Trees are the MVP of nature, and they deserve to be celebrated. 

So don’t let this Arbor Day week breeze by without taking a moment to appreciate the trees around you. Consider how you might say “yes” to engaging with the environment. Maybe it’s taking a walk through a park or attending an arboretum. Maybe it’s planting a tree in your yard. Maybe it’s planting two. 

Every time you say “yes” to trees, you say “yes” to a healthier planet and a healthier home for us all. 

Dan Lambe is CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation, the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees. He can be reached at [email protected]

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