Mesa Mayor John Giles announced the “Trees are Cool” initiative to increase shade across Mesa, lower the urban heat island effect in our neighborhoods and cool our communities during the hot summer months. “Trees are Cool” challenges residents and businesses to help increase the City’s tree canopy coverage to 15 percent over the next 27 years. To reach this crucial milestone, Mesa has set a target of planting 1,000,000 trees in Mesa by 2050.
“Any meaningful Climate Action Plan in Mesa, Arizona must address heat mitigation, and trees have a significant role to play in providing shade, keeping temperatures low and filtering greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Giles. “I encourage everyone to get involved in planting new trees in Mesa.”
“Trees are Cool” supports Mesa’s Climate Action Plan and responds to feedback from community members about the City’s environmental goals. Mesa is addressing urban heat through strategies that help reduce daytime and overnight temperatures. Trees are one solution to cooling our communities by shading surfaces and the cooling effect when water vapor evaporates from its leaves.
“We need to work together to ensure that our community can withstand the changing weather patterns caused by climate change, both in terms of extreme temperatures and ongoing drought,” said Scott Bouchie, director of the Environmental and Sustainability Department. “It is especially important to reduce temperatures in our most vulnerable neighborhoods. And planting trees can help us do this.”
As part of the “Trees Are Cool” initiative, Mesa launched an online tool to record newly planted trees, including planting locations. This data, in tandem with the assessment of existing trees, will help the City track its efforts to reach the goal of 15 percent tree canopy coverage (and 1,000,000 million trees planted). Additionally, the page features a map showing Mesa neighborhoods at greater risk of heat impacts – which often correlates with lesser amounts of tree canopy – and provides helpful information on choosing, planting and caring for trees.
Trees are environmental superheroes, fight climate change in multiple ways and play a crucial role in creating healthier and more livable cities. They remove carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, absorb and clean our air of other pollutants and help reduce and clean stormwater runoff. Besides cooling our neighborhoods and making our streets more walkable, they also reduce energy consumption and even save water when the tree of choice is a desert-adapted variety.
For additional information about the tree project and to record your new tree, visit https://www.mesalistens.com/trees-are-cool.