Technology, Corporate Trees, and Employees: The Triple Win | TechWell

Technology, Corporate Trees, and Employees: The Triple Win

Amazon spheres, restoration technology

Employees who work in environments with trees nearby have been scientifically proven to be at least 50 percent more productive, happier, and better-looking than average.

OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, but there is growing evidence that trees meet the needs of people, the environment, and businesses—a triple win.

The New Urban Rainforest: The Amazon Spheres

Designed to be more tropical rainforest than office, the Spheres is the newest workspace on Amazon’s campus in downtown Seattle. Three interconnected clear biodomes (the largest is more than 90 feet tall and 130 feet in diameter) contain more than 40,000 plants, along with treehouse meeting rooms, waterfalls, a four-story living wall, and epiphytic trees.

The design was based on the concept of biophilia, an idea put forth by evolutionary biologist and Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Wilson, that, as humans, we have an innate tendency to seek to connect with nature and other forms of life. “To an extent still undervalued in philosophy and religion, our existence depends on this propensity, our spirit is woven from it, hopes rise on its currents,” wrote Wilson.

Trees Are Good Business for Technology

The Earth is losing trees. There are roughly 41 million trees cut down every day. Deforestation and other types of land degradation are speeding climate change and the loss of the ecosystems that we depend upon.

However, in “The Business of Planting Trees,” a new report by The Nature Conservancy, World Resources Institute, and other partners, researchers maintain that planting trees represents a big business opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs. Indeed, the economic benefits of restoring land are estimated at $84 billion per year. 

Restoration technology is just taking off. If you’ve ever planted a tree, you know it’s not a 15-minute project, so planting acres and acres would be a huge undertaking. The report features case studies of businesses involved in restoration, including a start-up tech company in the U.K., BioCarbon Engineering, that’s using seed-planting drones and machine learning to plant trees. According to their website, “Each BioCarbon planting team has the capability to plant 100 hectares per 36-hour period.”

Does your company or department have team building activities? How about planting some native trees? As the ancient Chinese proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.”

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