Re: “Biden’s executive order in Seattle spotlights importance of old-growth forests in fight against climate change” [April 22, Local News]:
On Earth Day last Friday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to conserve forests and store carbon. Now it is Seattle’s turn. A critical first step is to pass the revised tree ordinance per the recommendations of the Seattle Urban Forestry Commission (UFC).
Seattle should be striving to reach its 30% tree canopy goal per the city’s Urban Forest Management Plan. Instead, in the face of climate change, Seattle has allowed cutting of exceptional and native groves of trees to continue under the existing weak tree ordinance and weak enforcement.
Trees mitigate urban heat islands and save lives. At least 13 deaths in King County and hundreds in the Pacific Northwest were attributed to the 2021 heat dome, and predominantly Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) neighborhoods suffered disproportionately because they have fewer trees. Turning on the air conditioner is not an option — especially in low-income neighborhoods.
The Northwest Progressive Institute released a poll in September that showed 82% of Seattleites back legislation that would protect and grow our urban forest. At the start of 2022, an editorial recommended that “City Hall must take action on protecting Seattle’s trees” [Jan. 13, Opinion].
What are we waiting for?
Woody Wheeler, Seattle