For many years now, through my photography business I have been gifting to my wedding clients a tree. Not as random as you might think. Weddings tot up a lot of miles – I have multiple meetings with couples, we do venue visits, dual locations on the wedding day, client USB and album parcel delivery, plus all the visits the happy couple will be making to suppliers and some of the guests come from all over the world for the big day. Take my last wedding for instance, that was a 736 mile round trip for me. That’s a lot of mileage. It is important to me that I do my bit to protect the environment and that includes off-setting my carbon footprint, so the tree dedication is a perfect way for me to do this and offer something special to my clients.
This got me thinking about how many miles we rack up exploring Scotland throughout the year – it’s quite a few! Then there’s all the deliveries of new outdoor kit and parcels sent out of kit sold on eBay or taken to the charity shop, it adds up. And what about the day to day, shopping, going to work, playing golf, meeting friends? Jamie’s commute to work is a 34 mile round trip each time. Our nearest shop, post box, bus stop is nearly two miles away and so whilst in the summer we like to take a stroll or ride our bikes down to the village, in the winter it’s not so pleasant (and slightly dangerous). There are times when we have been on three or four ferries in a year across to Islay and Shetland too.
Benefits from planting trees
First and foremost I spend a lot of time outdoors doing woodland walks, along cycle routes lined with trees or watching birds (ospreys etc) from hides, and sadly sometimes I think we take them for granted. I hold my hand up to hugging trees, stroking bark and feeling leaves – no embarrassment here, just a love of nature and that feeling of grounding. It feels good for my mental health to be amongst the trees. That has gotta be a good thing, right?
Planting trees will also help us reduce climate change – the more trees we have equals more carbon dioxide absorption from the air. Younger trees are able to do this at a quicker rate, so the more trees are planted the better.
It’s not just rural areas that benefit or need this most either. Our cities should also plant trees in green spaces. Edinburgh, Perth and Glasgow have prime examples of city-scaping with trees – Princes Street Gardens and the Meadows in the capital. Perth has both the North and South Inch’s which have plenty of tree shade and Glasgow Green also perfect for lunch time picnics under the tree canopy’s. It is thought that trees in cities also help to reduce the temperature too (albeit by just .5 degree).
You have to admit that the nature and architecture mixture works well in Edinburgh (I think so anyway).
Of course, more trees means more homes and food for wildlife too. They also help reduce flood risks and soil erosion, protecting the landscape and provide shelter for livestock too. From my wedding photography point of view it also makes a great backdrop for photo shoots!
Plant a tree
I’m not suggesting that everyone goes off with a spade and starts digging holes left, right and centre but there certainly are options. For those with the space, a veggie patch or allotment maybe plant a fruit tree – this way you will help bees, the environment and you get to eat/use the fruit! Result.
I use a company online and it allows me (my clients) to choose the area that they would like to have the tree planted – Cornwall, Scottish Highlands or my old stomping ground of Herefordshire. Each client receives an e-certificate (paper ones can be sent but I feel this defeats the purpose), with a small note on from me, “Congratulations….,” and the county in which the tree will be planted.
The e-certificate also shows a number which at a later date can be checked on the site to reveal a more precise location and also the type of tree that was planted.
There are plenty of options online for this and I know that the Woodland Trust do a similar tree planting incentive too.
This small token of appreciation to my clients has many feel good factors about it and is something a bit special, an added extra to their wedding package. For me when I do it as a way of off-setting my carbon footprint from travelling around Scotland I know that the benefits to my health, the environment and the well-being of others are all impacted by this small gesture. This doesn’t make me feel so bad. Feel free to check out my Instagram for more photographs and stories of my Scottish travel blog adventures.