7 Reasons Why Plants are Important in Our Lives
Plants are crucial to all life on earth, as they provide the oxygen we breathe and nutrients we need to survive. But plants also have numerous other uses in our daily lives, whether it’s adding beauty to your home or helping you beat stress and anxiety in the office. Here are 7 reasons why plants are important in our lives.
Help With Air Pollution
Air pollution is a serious problem around much of our world. In large cities, it’s especially bad: A recent report showed that Delhi—India’s capital and one of its most populous cities—has air quality levels worse than Beijing, a city known for being choked with smog. Inside buildings, plants can help absorb dangerous chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene that are commonly found in cleaning products and electronics (and emitted from car exhaust). They also release oxygen into our environment. The process doesn’t always require plants to be living—even dead plants will work to cleanse indoor air.
Improve Air Quality
Indoor air pollution can be more than 10 times worse than outdoor air. The biggest culprit is mold, but indoor plants can improve your indoor air quality by removing pollutants and absorbing chemicals from your home’s environment. We’re not talking about a cute little plant on your desk. These plants remove toxins like benzene and formaldehyde (commonly found in paint thinners, pressed woods, and cleaning products). If you don’t want to go out and buy a bunch of new plants for your house or office, check with friends or family—they may have extras lying around that they’re looking to get rid of!
Increase Oxygen Production
Plants play a vital role in removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere and replacing it with oxygen. Additionally, all animals (including humans) need oxygen to survive, and plants play a big part in providing us with oxygen so we can go about our daily lives without passing out from breathing. It’s important to note that some plants produce more oxygen than others, so choosing which plants to grow is of utmost importance! The best plants for increasing oxygen levels? Anything on an evergreen tree—there are many different kinds of evergreens that each produce roughly twice as much oxygen as any other plant.
Lower Carbon Footprint
By opting for indoor plants, you’ll be lowering your carbon footprint by reducing your reliance on energy-sucking air conditioning units. Not only that, but plants can also absorb pollutants such as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and convert them into clean oxygen! They’re also a great natural air filter, removing toxic chemicals from indoor air like formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, we could help save $6 billion worth of crop yields every year if 20% of Americans grew houseplants. By choosing greenery over appliances or lighting sources, you could be helping keep poisonous gases out of our homes.
Help with Energy
A large portion of our energy use happens at home—it’s been said that up to two-thirds of all U.S. household energy consumption is devoted to indoor activities like cooking, cleaning, and heating or cooling our homes. While improving efficiency is a great way to start saving on energy costs, changing your habits can also make a big difference: installing low-flow showerheads or faucet aerators, turning off lights when they’re not needed, and other actions like these little green things called plants! Of course it helps if you have some room to work with (pun intended), but even small changes can make a difference over time.
Studies suggest that being around plants is good for your health. Not only do indoor plants help purify and cleanse indoor air, but research also shows that people who have a greener office environment tend to report feeling less stressed, more positive and healthier than those with less green space at work. Workplace greenspace has been linked to benefits like greater productivity, creativity and collaboration, as well as decreased sick days. At home, studies have shown that adults with children have lower rates of depression when they keep houseplants – especially ferns and palms – around. The reason? Researchers say that phytoncides — substances released by certain types of plant matter — may play a role in reducing stress hormones related to depression.
Looking at a lot of greenery can lift your spirits. In one study, people who viewed photos of nature experienced greater pleasure and positive emotions compared to those who looked at images of man-made environments. This is probably due to something known as biophilia—the innate need for human beings to bond with nature and natural surroundings. Even looking at drawings of plants has been shown to have positive psychological effects.