By Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio)
This past week, we celebrated Arbor Day in Ohio. Trees are vital to Ohio communities – they improve air quality, support residents’ mental and physical health, lower energy costs, and even help manage stormwater to prevent flooding.
But neighborhoods with more residents of color have a third less tree canopy than other majority-white neighborhoods. And low-income neighborhoods have 41 percent less tree cover than wealthy neighborhoods.
Having trees in your community – and the cleaner air and lower utility bills that comes with them – shouldn’t be an asset just for the wealthy and privileged. Every Ohio child should be able to know the joy of climbing a tree, or sitting in the shade with a good book.
That’s why I introduced the Neighborhood Trees Act of 2022, to plant more trees in Ohio, particularly in underserved neighborhoods.
The bill would allow the Department of Agriculture to get resources to community groups and local governments to plant trees in urban and underserved areas, and to maintain them.
The scarcity of trees has real consequences. Urban “heat islands” can be 10 to 13 degrees hotter during summer months compared to suburban neighborhoods with an established tree canopy. And Ohioans know what that means – it means higher air conditioning bills in summer time and higher heating bills in the winter.
We know there are already groups in cities and towns across Ohio doing this important work to plant more trees in Ohio neighborhoods. This year I worked with the Cleveland Tree Coalition to secure federal resources to support their work restoring Cleveland’s tree canopy.
There are organizations around the state that could use these resources on similar important work.
I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on ways to improve the quality of life for Ohioans.
Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is a U.S. Senator for Ohio. He can be reached at 1-800-896-6446. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.