What Technology Can Reduce Heat Deaths? Trees.


At the same time, American cities are facing a heat crisis: the largest of them are warming right now. twice the rate the planet as a whole.

On a June afternoon that was too sweltering, a 14-year-old boy named Kiara Wright leaned over a young honey locust on a busy road in Des Moines and carefully splashed water from two five-gallon buckets on dry land. The city was in a drought, and ample water is critical for trees for at least two years after transplant shock.

Early in the spring, Kiara had helped plant 500 trees that season, and she loved enough to name a few: Sparkles, Inden, José. Now he was watering, mulching and pulling weeds for $10 an hour. Over the summer, his small team would also learn about financial literacy and shadow people working in various green jobs.

“We grow trees and we train young,” said Kacie Ballard, who coordinates the program for Trees Forever, a nonprofit group that now plants nearly all of the city’s street trees. “Cheesy but true.”

In addition to the environmental benefits of trees, they also bring economic opportunities.

“This is one area that employers are begging for,” said Jad Daley, president and CEO of American Forests, a nonprofit group. “There is definitely a job waiting.”

Reforestation in Des Moines will continue in the fall, focusing on the communities that used to need trees the most. around the country, racist policies left these neighborhoods especially naked and hot.

Leslie Berckes, program director of Trees Forever, hopes to place 1,000 trees in the ground by the end of the year, passing the deal with the city. But the number still sounds bittersweet. Four times what is needed in public and private To meet the government target of increasing the shade rate by 3 percent by 2050.


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