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City Parks Tackling Climate Change

Typically, when people think about efforts to help deal with the byproducts of global warming, they focus on the power of federal governments. But there’s an important contribution to be made by cities.

It’s highlighted in a special report, released on May 4th, from the Trust for Public Land, titled “The Power of Parks to Address Climate Change.”

As the report states, “Park acres, it turns out, are very good at buffering the effects of climate change. Green space has the power to lower air temperature and absorb floodwater, and can be designed in such a way as to significantly enhance those climate benefits.”

Are the nation’s cities taking advantage of these opportunities? The answer is a resounding yes.

According to the Trust, “Across the United States . . . many cities are starting to implement new policies to deal with climate change. In addition to setting ambitious goals for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, a number of cities are establishing flood prevention requirements, urban tree canopy goals, natural-area management blueprints, and park master plans that prioritize climate resilience.”

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) asked parks departments in the 100 most populous cities precisely what they’re doing to deal with climate change.

Some of the major findings, described in the report:

• “Eighty-five percent of cities are adapting parks and recreation facilities to address climate change.”

• “Seventy-seven percent are enlisting parks to counter urban heat.”

• “Sixty-seven percent are improving surfaces to reduce flooding and runoff from rains.”

• “Twenty percent are managing parks and woodlands to sequester carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for climate change.”


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