Trees for the Future, Blog Action Day 2009

Like Garden Rant, global warming and climate change is a recurring topic on this blog:

The impacts of climate change to urban areas, such as New York City, will be extreme. Today, a typical NYC summer has 15 days with temperatures over 90F, and 2 days over 100F. By the end of this century, even optimistic scenarios, in which we reduce emissions and greenhouse gases starting NOW, NYC will have 39 90F days, and 7 100F days. In a typical summer. Some summers will be worse. People will die. If we do nothing, it will be worse.

I’ve written a lot about more immediate benefits of city trees, such as reduced flooding, summer cooling, and improved air quality. There remain opportunities for nurturing our urban forests. Addressing climate change is one more reason to do so:

Urban trees help offset climate change by capturing atmospheric carbon dioxide in their tissue, reducing energy used by buildings, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel based power plants. Our City’s trees store about 1.35 million tons of carbon valued at $24.9 million. In addition, our trees remove over 42,000 tons of carbon each year.
Benefits of NYC’s Urban Forest, MillionTreesNYC

Planting trees is one thing a gardener can do that will outlive them. But what world will my tree grow into? And what are its chances for survival in that world? I must avoid trees that are already at the southern limit of their range in NYC; by the end of the century, the climate will have escaped them. Trees can’t move fast enough to keep pace with the changes that are coming, that are already happening. They will need our help to survive.

I feel compelled to act as a guardian of my little area of the world, for as long as it, and I, last. Though I have always had, and expect I always will have, a troubled relationship with “community,” perhaps there is one I can be part of which will “watch over a much larger area.” It is my belief, my hope, that collectively we will create, and find in each other, that community.
– July 26, 2006: The Bemidji Statement On Seventh Generation Guardianship

The whole world is now our Ark, and we are its Noah. It’s going to be a long ride.

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Benefits of NYC’s Urban Forest, MillionTreesNYC

Ancient Forest to Modern City: Mapping Landscape Change in the United States, NASA Earth Observatory, 2008-02-01

Climate Choices: The Northeast

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

A Tree’s Response to Environmental Changes: What Can We Expect Over the Next 100 Years?, NASA Earth Observatory, 2009-10-06