Inequality is engrained in the trees

Trees combat climate change, clean the air, reduce violence

Zacchaeus tree.Palestine_JerichoOne of those Daily Inspiration quotes actually inspired me. “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffett

This got me thinking about the dearth of trees in urban areas. As an article in the Grist noted: In America’s cities, inequality is engrained in the trees.

“In the two-year-long study, a team of researchers from the Nature Conservancy found that 92 percent of low-income blocks in the U.S. have less tree cover and hotter average temperatures than high-income blocks. The inequality is most rampant in the Northeast, with some low-income blocks in urban areas having 30 percent less tree cover and average temperatures 4 degrees Celsius higher than high-income blocks.”

Trees may not be racist. But per NPR, Racist Housing Practices From The 1930s Linked To Hotter Neighborhoods Today. In another study “of 108 urban areas nationwide, the formerly redlined neighborhoods of nearly every city studied were hotter than the non-redlined neighborhoods, some by nearly 13 degrees.”

And if you’re not familiar, American Forests can explain. “Redlining was an unethical practice that put financial and other services out of reach for entire neighborhoods where people of color lived. Its name derives from the government-backed practice of drawing red lines on maps to indicate the perceived high risk associated with banks loaning people money to buy homes based on location rather than their individual qualifications.”

Smart Cities Dive notes: “Heat-related impacts also disproportionately impact poor and minority communities, which tend to have less access to green space, and therefore have unequal access to the benefits those spaces provide.” It cites a 2013 study explaining “the disproportionate amount of risk to minority communities. “It’s a serious issue of environmental justice.” Here are 22 benefits of trees.

Oh, Albany

So I was pleased when I saw this link. “Since the Fall of 2020, the City of Albany has focused tree planting in Wards and neighborhoods where the urban forest is most at risk, including in the South End, Arbor Hill, West Hill, and Pine Hills neighborhoods. More than 50% of the 1,000 trees planted since the Fall of 2020 have been planted in these neighborhoods alone.”

I’m sure, because she told me in an email, that the mayor would LOVE churches or other entities to participate. And I’ll bet this is a program that could be replicated in other urban areas.

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