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Climate Action: Why Urban Areas Need To Plant More Trees

When it comes to trees and their environmental benefits, it’s their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen that gets all the headlines. But their ability to lower the temperature in urban areas shouldn’t be overlooked, and in Vancouver, Canada, it isn’t.

Hot Summer

This past summer, British Columbia experienced heat like never before. High temperatures led to wildfires and drought and were responsible for 800 deaths.

urban tree canopies

Unfortunately, odds are this wasn’t a one-off summer. Some scientists are saying that Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world. Finding ways to lessen the destructive impact of these hot temperatures should be a priority for leaders worldwide.

Tree Canopies

A study done in Vancouver put sensors on bicycles and noted the drop in temperature when those bikes passed under tree-covered, shaded areas.

It might seem obvious to say that it’s cooler in the shade, but what about above the trees? A study in Montreal found that not only did tree-lined streets see a drop in the ground temperature, but it was also cooler up to 20 stories above the ground!

Plant More Trees

It seems like a no-brainer, right? Urban areas need to plant more trees and create more canopies among the asphalt and concrete.

In Vancouver, that’s exactly what they’re doing. The city decided to increase the tree canopy coverage from 19 to 30% by the year 2050 and got the ball rolling last year by planting 150,000 trees.

urban tree canopies

That’s great, but the government can only do so much. As Dr. Stephen Sheppard, professor of Urban Forestry at UBC, says, “Up to a third or half of canopies in the city come from private properties, and that is where we are seeing the decline. What we need is a lot more people planting trees in their own front and backyard.”

Not that we needed another reason to plant trees and be thankful for all they do, but here it is anyway. Yay, trees!

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Jesse grew up obsessed with movies and so it only makes sense that he graduated from McGill University with a degree in Political Science. He then put that degree to good use with a job at a video store. After that he spent months backpacking around Europe - a continent that he has been back to visit many times since. Jesse is super curious and loves to learn and explore new subjects. For the last 15+ years he has been writing online for a number of different sites and publications covering everything from film and television to website reviews, dating and culture, history, news and sports. He’s worn many hats - which is ironic because he actually loves wearing hats and he has many different ones.