New Coalition to Advance Environmental Justice and Well-being Launches Urban Reforestation Program with LA County Parks
LOS ANGELES, January 14, 2021 (Newswire.com) – The Tree Pledge and the Radical Resilience Lab are launching Good Shade, an urban reforestation tree-planting program developed in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, with funding from California ReLeaf and CALFIRE. The pilot project commences Jan. 13, 2021, at Alondra Community Regional Park (3850 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Lawndale, CA 90260) with 50 trees planted and an education campaign to raise awareness of the mental and physical health benefits associated with human connection with trees and nature. The trees will be planted by venerable green jobs organization, Los Angeles Conservation Corps.
Good Shade seeks to address environmental justice issues, including health risks associated with poor air quality, lack of tree shade and the need more for green infrastructure in urban communities. The Alondra Park area sits within a ring of densely utilized highways and air pollution that accompanies such traffic. It carries a pollution burden of 87%, bordered by a census tract with a 91 – 100% pollution burden (the Highest Score).
Using heat-mapping and other geo-data tools, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation determined that the area possesses tree canopy density of only 11% and low levels of shade and tree buffer for particulate matter from air pollution due to nearby transportation corridors.
“We are proud to partner with TreePledge to bring ‘Good Shade’ to Alondra Park and very-high park need communities in South Los Angeles, where parks are often the only access to nature, fresh air and physical activity that many households, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is vital that we invest in disadvantaged communities that are at higher risk of respiratory illness due to lack of trees and shade equity,” according to Norma E. García-González, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Good Shade was designed to address shade equity disparities in underserved areas of Los Angeles and to generate multiple co-benefits through tree planting and education. Good Shade will improve the physical, emotional, social, and economic health and well-being of local residents, reduce heat islands, reduce stormwater runoff and increase connection with nature. Through Good Shade, the partners seek to plant hundreds of trees throughout the region in communities designed “Very High Need” for more trees and offer a multidisciplinary range of education opportunities, and engage residents in supporting the new trees.
“Trees give us so much more than just oxygen,” asserts The Tree Pledge founder, Rachel Payne. “They make our communities healthier and happier. Trees help us reconnect with nature and they are one of the most important tools we have to address climate change and reduce harmful greenhouse gases in our local communities. Our program seeks to support environmental justice, community resilience and better health outcomes through access to nature.”
Numerous studies show a clear relationship between the urban forest and physical health: shade trees promote physical activity and mitigate the effects of heat on health. Tree-rich neighborhoods often enjoy better health outcomes than tree-poor neighborhoods. Trees combat air pollution and absorb carbon dioxide while releasing oxygen back into the air. Not only do trees beautify areas, but their shade also cools down overheated neighborhoods, and their roots prevent soil erosion and help save water. Together, planting and maintaining trees create opportunities for placemaking and help foster community. According to Los Angeles County tree canopy data, disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles County have less tree canopy than affluent areas and will see four times as many 95°F+ days by 2050 due to climate change.
“Public spaces play a central role in the health of our communities,” says Radical Resilience Lab co-founder, Anastasia King. “We are excited to work with the dedicated folks at The Tree Pledge and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation to employ the power of the county’s park system in advancing the resilience of Los Angeles and her residents.”
Visit us at: Goodshade.LA Follow us on Instagram: @GoodShade_LA
The Coalition includes: Good Shade, The Tree Pledge, Radical Resilience Lab, Los Angeles County of Parks and Recreation, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, California ReLeaf
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Source: Good Shade