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Million Trees and White Roofs Campaigns

MillionTreesNYC and NYC Cool Roofs are two initiatives in PlaNYC — the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability’s comprehensive plan to manage the challenges of climate change, a growing population, aging infrastructure and an evolving economy to achieve a “Greater, Green New York” by 2030. Our work directly supports these two “volunteer-centric” initiatives.

MillionTreesNYC emphasizes the multiple benefits of urban trees, recognizing them as assets to a city’s economic and environmental health. City trees cool summer air temperatures, filter air pollution, conserve energy by providing shade, and reduce storm water runoff. The goal of this initiative, launched in 2007, is to plant one million new trees by 2017 throughout the City. As of September, 2011 officially 496,668 new trees have been planted — in re-forestation sites of many parks in the Outer Boroughs and along streets and sidewalks, especially in six “Trees for Public Health” neighborhoods with particularly low street tree stocking levels and high asthma hospitalization rates for children aged 0-4.

Our work supports this initiative by:

  • organizing a NYC Sierra work group for the Spring and Fall Volunteer Planting Days
  • recruiting volunteers to participate in sidewalk trees and re-forestation areas Stewardship programs
  • educating our membership and the general public of the many benefits of this initiative and its small, but integral importance in helping to mitigate
  • the impact of global warming

The NYC Cool Roofs promotes a low-cost, simple and common sense effort to off-set global warming: painting heat-absorbing black roofs white to reflect much of the sun’s energy, reduce air temperatures and the energy required to air condition the building. Cool roofs can lower air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing electricity demand, and often save building owners and tenants money through reduced energy bills. They also prolong the life expectancy of the building’s roof and cooling equipment.

Our work supports this initiative by:

  • recruiting volunteers to paint roofs from May through November
  • identifying buildings suitable for white roof painting, especially those owned by or housing non-profit organizations
  • working with other volunteer groups such as WhiteTopsNYC, the White Roof Project, 350.ORG and the White Roof Action Project of Brooklyn, who all have the same goals of getting as many roofs coated as possible
  • encouraging co-op, condo and rental apartment buildings to make their roofs “cool” roofs
  • supporting legislation for a cool roof requirement for existing buildingsso that all flat roofs in the city must have a cool coating by 2030
  • educating our membership and the general public of the many benefits of this initiative and its small, but integral importance in helping to mitigate the impact of global warming.