Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fewer trees in cities

Did anyone else see the article in Time Magazine, published in the June 21, 2007 issue? It's located in the Life section under Environment. Click here to see a copy of the online version. The article was written by Dan Cray. He reported that urban trees are declining, and with that goes a decline in a city's air quality. Just as the countryside benefits from a canopy, Mr. Cray mentions that cities need a canopy, too. I'm sure we all know that trees filter out dust and smoke, and absorb carbon dioxide, but they also provide shade which many cities are lacking. So many urban trees have succumbed to various diseases, like Dutch Elm and the beetles that are now killing the pine trees. And cities don't have the manpower or the money to maintain trees and roads and sidewalks. Another problem is "urban sprawl." Too many folks think they need a 3500-6000 sq. ft. home, and are placing them on these postage-stamp-sized lots. No room for trees, much less any other flora. Interestingly enough, NASA reports that city temperatures are rising. But what are the cities doing about it? Instead of planting more trees (again they lack the funds), they are designing parks with tennis courts and playgrounds. But where does that money come from? I can understand more tennis courts and more playgrounds, but what good is that if there is no shade to be had on a hot summer day? Well, I'm glad to see that the Bay Area's mayors aren't the only ones to blame. :)

(B/W photo from ADELVA in Photobucket)


Body Soul Spirit said...

I think this a big,important issue that is contributing to the "global warming" we are experiencing. So many forests have been cut down for agriculture, here and in the rain forests. We all need to hug a few trees.

Mary said...

I get so sick of hearing about lack of funds. It's all a crock. In most cities, the wrong people are making decisions based on political gain.

There is money to be spent on trees but funds shift to other projects like neighborhood clean-ups. Trees will grow but neighborhoods will be destroyed again.

Mary said...

Mary, sorry for the rant. Politics makes my feathers ruffle, that's why I don't mention it in my blog :o)

Have a nice day!

RuthieJ said...

Ooh, Mary, I'm with you, politics make my feathers ruffle too, almost as much as people cutting down healthy trees for a new business or subdivision.
I think Woodsy Owl, with his new motto: "Lend A Hand, Care For The Land" needs to run for office.

Mary C said...

Ruth - you hit the nail on the head. That is pretty much what the Time article was talking about. It is sad to see old trees die off and then not get replaced - especially in the cities.

Mary - no need to apologize - I didn't want to cause any ruffled feathers, but I was curious about others' feelings about such a critical situation this country's cities may be in. I am notably annoyed that the trees we have in my neighborhood are not getting replaced by the city of San Jose as these elms are reaching their age limit. One by one they are dying off and we have to contact the city to have the dead tree removed. And it takes them 3+ months before they get around to it. I agree with you about the lack of funds being a crock.

Ruthie - Woodsy Owl could run for office and would probably win! :) Your comment about cutting down healthy trees to build a new subdivision is another thing that was mentioned in the article. My biggest gripe is the government (be it city, county, etc.) allowing people to erect these humongous homes on such small lots. I've even seen developers squeeze more homes on a lot than what should be allowed. I know land here in California is at a premium, but where is the common sense in all this?

Thanks everybody for your feedback. I guess you could say it was my subtle way of ranting. :)

Lynne said...

Mary- Art and I were just commenting that our neighborhood (built in the late 60's) was finally getting the feel of an older neighborhood with trees forming a canopy over the streets. The point you made about the over-sized McMansions leaving no room for trees was a good one. New builders seem to be squeezing every penny into square footage and contributing nothing back to the habitat of the area. It takes so long to regrow those matures trees. Grrr.

If you are interested, I tagged you for the Eight Random Things Meme. (only if you want to)

KGMom said...

Every day, I walk my dog around the block. I have a route marked out that takes me past specific trees, so I can walk in the shade. The noticeable cool under these trees always amazes me--it is at least 10 degrees cooler. I wish more people would think of simple things like that--trees cool our neighborhoods!

LostRoses said...

There is a huge lot up the street where developers razed the old farmhouse and are building a townhouse complex. Guess what, they spared the trees, right in the middle of the lot. I'll be curious to see how they build around them.


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