A Different Friday for the Future (Part II)
When my imagination roams, I imagine one or more of the leading climate change voices deciding, early on, not to waste time at COP gatherings, nor political forums, but rather, encouraging individuals to take action, by planting one tree per week, every Friday. I wrote about this last week and the prior week, asking you to join me.
By my calculation, if one-fifth of the people who currently follow Greta Thunberg, had started planting trees weekly, in March 2019, 200 million tons of carbon would have already been sequestered.
Call it Alternative History, or wishful thinking — But planting one tree every Friday, or putting up a barrier to keep a seedling alive is something every individual can do.
We don’t have a moment to waste — each tree needs to be several years old to meaningfully contribute to the solution. A tree a week by you, is a substantial improvement to the earth , which WILL impact 2030.
If you and I started this a few years ago, instead of writing about climate change, what would have happened? Cities would be moving toward having an adequate number of trees. Mental health, public health, air and water quality all would have improved. And our cities would be cooler.
Yes, bold claims, all from one tree per week per person.
Picture from Oakland CA, Tree Canopy and Land Cover Assessment, 2020 Prepared by Davey Resource Group Pg 15
Moving towards an Adequate Number of Trees
What is an adequate number? If you asked Cecil Konijnendijk van den Bosch, an urban forest expert, he would say every city dweller should be able to see 3 trees from their home, and a city’s tree canopy should be 30% of the available land.
If you ask Amos White, founder of 100,000 Trees for Humanity, “The city of Alameda, with a population of 79,800, can easily support an additional 80,000 trees. Nearly all cities in America can accommodate one additional tree per person.”
The Oakland Street Tree Plan calls for 55,000 trees. Street trees are not park trees, nor trees near schools, offices, or other landscaping. Street trees are planted in sidewalks or medians dividing streets. Once established, they die of neglect, disease, drunk drivers, and poor maintenance. Today, Oakland California needs 29,000 trees replaced, just to return to the 55,000 trees in the current Street Tree Plan. Yes! A major city like Oakland is missing 53% of the trees that their plan calls for to cool asphalt and pedestrians. Most cities are in a similar situation.
Oakland encompasses 57 square miles, or 36,372 acres of land, and the city has a public goal of 40% tree canopy. A study done by Davey Resource Group, in 2020, found Oakland’s tree canopy to be 21.5% of the area. Achieving the city’s tree canopy goal will require almost 1 million additional trees. Here is the February 2021 update on that report Citywide Tree Inventory from the Oakland Director of Public Works
One additional tree, per each of the 425,000 residents, would bring the Oakland’ tree canopy up to the 30% level recommended by Professor Konijnendijk.
Despite missing 53% of the street trees, and having half the tree canopy that is the city’s public goal, Oakland with 308 parks, which average 45.6% tree canopy in the parks, is doing better than its brethren with 21.5% of the entire city. San Jose’s tree canopy, again per the Davey report, is 15.4% and San Francisco’s tree coverage is 13.7% of its area.
Today is Thursday, September 1st, and I’m publishing a bit early to give you time to plan your day tomorrow, Friday. Make time to put a spade in the ground to plant a tree and join me on Fridays For the Future. #FFF
FFF — Another Friday For the Future
Alternative history: What if, instead of talking to politicians and trying to change policy, Greta Thunberg had…
I’m planting a tree, or doing something to help a seedling survive every Friday. What are you doing to reduce climate change?
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You made it to the bottom! Clap, share, then go outside and enjoy the greenery while you plant a tree.
Why does SymSoil care? We focus on solutions to environmental issues, with a focus on soil biology. Trees and plants feed, and are fed by, the soil microbiome. Healthy soil influences water, carbon sequestration and human health. SymSoil holds a patent on the first scalable approach to manufacturing Soil Food Web products as an alternative to agrochemicals.