City of Grand Rapids planted first of 15,000 trees
$5 million grant addresses climate change and socio-economic disparities.
The City of Grand Rapids has a goal of reaching 40% tree canopy by 2025. With Friends of Grand Rapids Parks receiving a $5 million federal grant toward the planting of 15,000 trees across Grand Rapids, the goal will be met. U.S. Congresswoman Hillary Scholten, a Democrat from Grand Rapids points out the trees will do more than beautify the city.
“But also, in helping to clean our rivers and streams and carbon sequestration.”
The trees will address cooling disparities. Stacy Bare is Executive Director with Friends of Grand Rapids Parks. He explains, on average, neighborhoods lacking tree canopies are 20% hotter than those with trees.
“And we know that overwhelmingly, urban heat islands impact low-income and communities of color more than any other. This is a solvable problem, that in five years, we will have the trees in the ground to solve this problem. It’s not just stormwater management. It’s not just air quality improvement. It adds up to real and documented, physical and mental health benefits.”
“This $5 million grant will be vital to provide education and awareness to our community, green jobs, and other opportunities for our community. Especially in BIPOC and underserved areas.”
Kareem Scales is co-board chair of Community Collaboration on Climate Change. He says climate justice and environmental justice are ground zero for social justice.