Written by Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and NYRP Executive Director Amy Freitag.
If you want to know what real change looks like, just walk the streets of Northern Manhattan, where hundreds of new trees line the sidewalks as living symbols of the renewed vibrancy that’s taking hold in our proud, historic neighborhoods.
Over the past several years, our community and others around the city have been transformed by MillionTreesNYC, a joint project by Mayor Bloomberg, the Department of Parks & Recreation, and NYRP to plant one million trees in New York City.
Through these efforts, parks have been reforested, sidewalks have been brightened and buildings have been cooled by shade—but trees do a great deal more than make our communities look and feel nicer.
Since 2007, over 750,000 trees have been planted across the five boroughs, literally changing the landscape of the city and preparing us for a greener future. As greenhouse gases accumulate in our atmosphere and the destruction from devastating storms hits home, initiatives such as MillionTreesNYC are helping to ensure our city is leading the country and the world toward environmental sustainability.
But going forward, there is still much to accomplish. In 2010, NYC emitted 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, and while our per capita emissions are well below the national average, this number can and should be greatly improved upon. We must be sure our next mayor is committed to building on one of Mayor Bloomberg’s greatest legacies: a commitment to environmental advocacy and green policy.
Read more: Let’s Keep Making NYC Greener.