The New Sun

One Million Trees
For a Greener, Greater New York

by Mayor Bloomberg

All over town, the trees of New York City are just starting to put on their annual fall fashion show and fill our parks and streets with the rich colors of autumn. In the years to come, that show is going to get even bigger and better, because last week we launched a major campaign to plant one million new trees throughout the city during the next decade. We began that effort by planting a 12-foot-tall Carolina Silverbell on a block in the South Bronx. Entertainer Bette Midler joined us for that event. She's the founder of the New York Restoration Project, an organization dedicated to greening the city's neighborhoods. And she and her organization are playing a big role in our "Million Trees NYC" initiative.

It's a major part of PlaNYC-our agenda for creating a greener and greater New York in the years to come. There are a lot of ways that one million more trees will help us reach those goals. For one thing, tree leaves help filter the air pollutants that trigger asthma and other diseases. Because of that, one million new trees will make our air, and our lungs, cleaner—especially in neighborhoods where there aren't as many trees as there ought to be.

Trees also take carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas—out of the atmosphere. So planting one million new trees will help us hit our target of cutting the city's production of climate-changing greenhouse gases by 30% by 2030. Trees have many other benefits, too. Because they absorb rainfall, they reduce the storm water runoff that can overload our sewers and flood our streets. Sitting in the shade of a tree can be a free, low-tech alternative to energy-consuming air conditioning on hot summer days. And the natural beauty of trees pleases our eyes, lifts our spirits, and improves our quality of life.

No question about it, planting one million new trees—40 times the number of trees now in Central Park—is an ambitious goal. And in order to reach it, everyone is going to have to pitch in. Between now and 2017, the Department of Parks and Recreation will plant 600,000 new trees in parks and along City streets; that's more than five times the number of trees they've planted in the past ten years. We're counting on non-profit and community organizations, businesses, property developers, and everyday New Yorkers to plant the remaining 400,000 trees. To support those efforts, the New York Restoration Project and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City are seeking financial and in-kind donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations. And I'm happy to report that last week the Home Depot Foundation put up $1.5 million in seed money for this effort.

New Yorkers have always embraced big dreams and big ideas—and that certainly describes our drive to plant one million new trees. So learn how you can be part of Million Trees NYC. To make a donation, join a volunteer group planting trees in parks and on public land, which is something volunteers from City Hall will be doing on Randall's Island on Saturday, request a tree for your yard or block, or simply learn more about this growing campaign, call 311, or visit the City's web site at Find out how you can help make a tree grow in Brooklyn—or in any other borough you like.

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Other columns by Mayor Bloomberg:
Inspiring China
Delivers Keynote Address at Newsweek's 2nd Annual Environmental Leadership Conference.