Last week we announced our new community tree program--Trees Matter--and showed how it fits into the City of Phoenix’s larger goal of greening the city by achieving 25% urban tree canopy cover by 2030. Not only is the valuable role that trees play in reducing carbon emissions being recognized by city officials, but it has also become an important topic on the world stage--urban forestry investment was included in the final Paris climate agreement! In 2014, we wrote this blog on environmentalist Lester Brown and his urging for the world to plant more trees.
If you followed our Why Trees Matter blog series last year, you learned about the many other benefits that trees provide. One in particular--community development--has been the focus of a nationwide urban forestry program called Spreading the Canopy. In the US Forest Service sponsored initiative, five community forestry organizations worked to connect the health benefits that trees provide to the public health community. Their goal was to involve the health community into the greater conversation about the role that urban forests play in improving a person’s mental and physical health and the well-being of a city. By engaging others in the public health arena who would not typically be involved with trees organizations--such as hospitals, insurance agencies, municipal and state governments, and wellness organizations--a nationwide dialog began about how to develop and invest in more green spaces (parks, trees, grass) in order to improve public health.
With the Paris climate agreement’s formal recognition of the crucial role that trees play in climate change and religious figures like Pope Francis joining the dialogue, the urban forestry movement is helping answer the world’s need for leafier cities.
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