Here at Tree-Plenish we are passionate about all things sustainability. Read below for some op-eds written by our very own team members!
Don’t Exclude Urban Students from Sustainability Initiatives
For sustainability initiatives to be truly equitable, we must also work to address urban climate challenges.
By Leah Levenson, Media Relations Lead at Tree-Plenish
The benefits that trees can provide to our daily lives as well as those of future generations cannot be overstated. Exposure to trees can help people relax, provide shade that reduces surrounding temperatures by 10-15 degrees, and surround people in their natural beauty. Trees have been shown to have countless benefits, and there are so many important reasons to plant a tree - but what about planting a tree in a city?
Cities themselves can also benefit greatly from the presence of trees– they have the ability to make streets quieter by absorbing sound and reduce the “heat island effect” caused by heat stored in streets and buildings. Trees can even make cities safer. The presence of trees in urban communities has been shown to reduce violence and car accidents, as drivers tend to drive slower on tree-lined streets. Trees contribute to stronger ties among neighbors in cities, and some studies suggest that the simple presence of trees can make urban residents feel overall safer in their neighborhoods.
Low-income, urban, and BIPOC communities have significantly lower quantities of green spaces within their neighborhoods in comparison to more affluent neighborhoods. Therefore, we must not exclude these students from sustainable initiatives if we want to truly have a more equitable future.
Tree-Plenish is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainability and amplifying the voice of today’s youth. We work with student leaders to plan annual tree-planting events that offset their school’s energy consumption. We support these student leaders by providing them the resources needed to unite their communities behind this mission.
Tree-Plenish also established an Environmental Equity Committee that is committed to advancing environmental justice by making community planting events more accessible to all regardless of income or race. This committee caters to urban and/or low-income communities in hopes of helping them achieve successful tree planting events in areas with marginal tree coverage. With our environmental equity fund, we support schools in urban and low-income communities that believe financial status may hinder the success of their events. During our 2021-22 event season, $20,020 was distributed to 51 schools and funded the planting of 3,629 saplings.
Want to get involved and help us work towards more equitable initiatives within sustainability? You can sign up for an informational session at our website tree-plenish.org to learn more about hosting an event at your school or donate to the Environmental Equity Fund at https://www.tree-plenish.org/donate.
More Op-eds Coming Soon