“The best available technology for pulling carbon dioxide from the air is something called a tree.”
― Al Gore
Sometimes the urban forest needs advocates — people who can “speak for the trees.” This is one of those times: the City is seeking public input on its Climate Action Plan.
You and other friends of the urban forest have made a difference in the past, when we’ve asked you to push City Hall to take better care of our urban forest. I’m counting on you to make a difference again today.
You’d think it’s obvious that planting trees — which sequester carbon and produce oxygen — is one of the most cost-effective climate solutions available to us.
But for decades the City has failed to make a serious investment in tree planting. We rank almost last among major U.S. cities in the percentage of land area covered by trees.
In 2015, San Francisco adopted an Urban Forest Plan that called for planting 50,000 more street trees by 2035. That’s an excellent and achievable goal, assuming it’s backed up with funding. But it wasn’t.
In 2019, San Francisco declared a Climate Emergency and tasked its Environment department with compiling a report on how the city can meet its carbon emission goals. The report, issued later that year, mentioned the importance of “increased urban tree canopy,” and referenced the 50,000 new street trees specified in the Urban Forest Plan.
Did that finally result in adequate funding for tree planting? Nope — and consequently the City has fallen FAR behind in meeting that goal.
Now SF Environment is updating the San Francisco Climate Action Plan and seeking input from San Franciscans.
It’s time to make your voice heard! Here’s how:
- Take the survey (and get a chance to win $100).
- For question #2 (What top three strategies do you think the City should focus on to reduce carbon pollution) please choose “Store more carbon in our plants, trees, and soils throughout the city.”
- For question #7 (Do you have any comments about the Climate Action Plan) please say, in your own words, that the City must plant more street trees!
- Email the project team and say, in your own words, that the Climate Action Plan must include a substantive commitment to meeting the tree planting goals in the Urban Forest Plan. We need more trees!
- Attend a Climate Action Plan Workshop and express your belief that the Plan must include more trees.
Street trees are just part of the solution. We need to ensure that the City allocates funding to plant and maintain trees in our parks too. We need to minimize the number of trees removed for new construction, and to require that each one removed is replaced by five new trees. And we need to urge homeowners to plant more trees in their back yards.
We’ll keep you updated about our success in getting the City to finally make a serious commitment to planting trees. This is, after all, a climate emergency!
Meanwhile if you don’t already have a street tree adjacent to your home or business, we’ll plant one for free — just ask!