The wellbeing of our urban communities depends on the wellbeing of our trees and natural environment
Kids want cool cities with tree-lined streets. They want to know wildlife has a place, and that the bushland is truly protected for future generations.
In addition to shade and cooling effects provided by trees, kids have recognised that urban forests are important for air filtration and traffic noise absorption, providing native animal habitat, and increasing health and wellbeing.
Shade, shelter and cooling
As the frequency of heat waves increases, how will we cope without shady gardens and parks to retreat to? How will electricity consumption be affected without the cooling benefits of trees?
Trees and vegetation provide essential shade and cooling to combat the Urban Heat Island effect created by stored heat in hard surfaces. Trees also protect buildings from heat, wind and storms, reducing the need to run air conditioning or heating. In fact, research has shown that a 10% increase of tree cover can reduce temperatures by up to 4°C*.
* Pearlmutter et. al. (2017)
Air filtration and traffic noise absorption
A treeless city is a noisy city. A city without trees has increased air pollution which can trigger health problems. Loss of trees affects our water sources and retention, so in a storm there is nowhere for water to go but down the drain.
Trees and vegetation absorb traffic noise and remove pollutants from the air while also producing oxygen. Trees also create water drainage solutions which can reduce stormwater damage and decrease localised flooding.
Native animal habitat
Wildlife is part of our natural heritage and many kids say that the presence of native animals contributes to their enjoyment of urban life.
Trees provide shelter and food for a variety of small animals and birds. In trees, animals can find protection from both predators and the weather, and have a safe place to breed or nest.
Health and wellbeing
Without trees and green spaces, our urban landscapes will continue to get hotter and look more and more like concrete deserts. This will have big impacts on the mental and physical health of residents.
As well as cooling the landscape, a healthy urban forest creates shady spaces in a neighbourhood which encourages walking and more active lifestyles. This has positive flow-on effects, including reduced obesity and disease, and improved mental wellbeing. Green spaces also have a positive influence on social behaviour and can reduce incidents of crime.*
* Troy et. al. (2012) and WALGA (Undated)