Stepping up to protect America’s forests
Forests are among the most important elements of Earth’s ecosystems and are essential for our very survival. They produce a large portion of the air we breathe and protect vital watersheds that provide more than half of America’s drinking water. Forests help moderate temperatures, provide habitats for about 80 percent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, prevent soil erosion and generate the timber we use for shelter, paper, wood products and many other items we use every day.
According to American Forests, more than two billion people worldwide rely on forests for shelter, water, food and jobs. Forests cover 30 percent of the Earth’s land mass and are the largest land-based storehouse of carbon and other greenhouse gasses.
Our social responsibility
Today our forests are in decline. Increased demand for raw materials results in wood harvesting at a rate that exceeds new growth. More than 300 million acres of forests are disappearing every 25 years. That is approximately 469,000 square miles, more than the land mass of Texas and California combined.
Considering all the environmental and economic benefits forests offer, helping to preserve and expand these natural resources is not only our responsibility, but is in our own best interest.
The seeds of change
Fortunately, organizations such as American Forests are helping to reverse trends in deforestation. As one of the nation’s oldest conservation organizations, American Forests has been protecting and restoring forests for more than 140 years. By partnering with corporate and private benefactors and with federal, state and local government agencies, American Forests has planted more than 50 million trees and helped restore forests in all 50 states since 1990. They also advocate for more trees and greenspace in cities to make population centers sustainable, beautiful and livable.
A simple and easy way to help
Working through American Forests, LightStream has planted a tree for every loan we’ve funded since our launch by SunTrust in 2013. These trees represent our virtually paperless loan process, which saves trees, and helps keep operational costs low. At the same time, they also represent the hundreds of thousands of dreams that have been achieved with the help of LightStream financing.
LightStream is another way SunTrust helps people gain financial confidence — delivering a simple, quick and empowering loan experience that allows people to focus on what’s most important to them.
Earlier this year, LightStream hit a major milestone when we celebrated supporting the restoration of 1,000 wilderness acres since 2013. Our new goal is to plant an additional 500 acres by the end of 2017.
Want to learn more about LightStream’s support of American Forests? Visit LightStream.com/philanthropy. And check the LightStream Blog in the weeks ahead. We’ll be announcing some free and easy ways you too can participate in this effort.