Extreme heat as public health and social justice issue

Monday November 1, 2021 by Carolyn

Have you noticed that lower income communities in Southern California lack trees? Compare, for instance, the dearth of trees in Pacoima, one of the hottest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, to the many trees in Larchmont. 

It is not surprising that the temperature is much hotter, outdoors and indoors, in communities that lack trees.

This front page article in the Los Angeles Times provides an in depth investigation of this serious public health and social justice issue. And, the article describes plans underway to help mitigate the problem. 

A 2020 study by researchers and experts comprising the Los Angeles Cooling Collaborative "found that widespread tree planting and the installation of solar reflective roofs and pavement could reduce temperatures in Los Angeles enough to save 1 in 4 lives currently lost to heat waves, largely in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. 

As noted in this NBC piece, the city hired its first Forest Officer, Rachel Malarich, to oversee the process of planting 90,000 trees by the end of 2021. She is collaborating with non-profit organizations, universities, and volunteers to plant more trees in the highest need areas. 

As of the end of August, a little over 54,000 trees had been planted.

Wishing the team success in meeting or exceeding its 90,000 goal!