January 27th at sundown until January 28th at the same time is the Hebrew calendar date of 15th of Shvat, known in Hebrew as “Tu B’Shvat” and more commonly as the Festival of the Trees. What is the significance of this for Jews today and for the wider environment at large and increasing ecological awareness among the masses?
Tu B’Shvat is indicative of a huge responsibility we all have to nature and our environment. But it goes further than that. Trees play a huge role in our environment and by extension, all of us. How?
First, trees reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The US Department of Agriculture says: “One acre of forest absorbs six tons of carbon dioxide and puts out four tons of oxygen. This is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people.”
Second, they enhance air quality and conserve water. Dust is removed by trees and bushes and various pollutants (nitrogen dioxide, monoxide and sulfur dioxide) are absorbed. Rain then washes these toxic particles away.