Mayor Bloomberg’s MillionTreesNYC initiative launched in early October of 2007, and since then people have been “digging” it. Now, at the end of 2011, the campaign is a little more than half way to reaching it’s goal of one million trees. The push for this campaign stemmed from a realization that trees give a lot back to society at large. After reading about the following statistics, it’s easier to really appreciate the job a tree does – they protect us from every day pollutants, the sun, contaminated drinking water and save us a lot of money. Trees do the grunt work and we reap the benefits.
Urban trees slows climate change through capturing carbon dioxide. This reduces energy used by buildings and extracts emissions from fossil fuel based power plants. Storm water runoff from impervious surfaces are often dangerous to natural habitats and environments. Trees act as a natural storm water retention device by storing water in their leaves and roots; it is estimated that one tree stores 1,525 gallons of storm water annually. Trees also remove pollutants from the air, around 26 pounds of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to 11,000 miles of car emissions. New York City’s street trees provide $27 million a year in energy savings as well. Beyond all of this, people agree across the board that trees get urban dwellers outside experiencing their environment. This trade off between monetary and labor investment seem to imply much bigger and better things by the end of the project.
What’s the take home for the world’s walking and bicycle advocates? Using trees in conjunction with bicycles and walking advocacy creates a powerful solution to reduce emissions. When a street is lined with trees, it could be the difference between someone using a car or choosing to walk. When more people catch onto this trend of stepping away from the car and stepping onto their feet, this trend has boundless benefits.
To get involved with MillionTreesNYC and read more about the program, click here.
Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.