Environmental Justice: Tree Planting as a Means to Environmental and Social Sustainability
ImpactNV leads the first ever statewide event that brings law enforcement, the business community, public sector, and community partners together to address critical urban heat island, environmental justice, and equity needs through a tree planting and community education event that launched in 2022 during the week between Earth Day and Arbor Day. Nevada communities that have the worst economic indicators (poverty, unemployment, low access to vehicles, low home ownership) also traditionally have the worst environmental justice indicators (greater pollution, low access to green spaces, increased exposure to extreme heat, etc.). A collaborative tree planting project is a visible example of our investment in the development of our communities that will improve urban heat island and help the state move toward tree equity. Achieving tree equity would ensure that all community members have equal access to the mental, physical, and social benefits that trees and green spaces provide; it would move us one step closer to both an environmentally and a socially sustainable Nevada.
Along with community partners, we aim to plant 100,000 trees over a 10-year period statewide. This ambitious project was kicked off last year with events held at the City of Reno, the City of Las Vegas, Clark County, and Washoe County. This year, due in large part to a grant we received from One Tree Planted, we started off the planting season with a small tree planting at Rafael Rivera Park in East Las Vegas. We planted new trees to increase the shade around the playground area. The park is located in one of the census blocks that we will be focusing on this year. In July, we entered into an agreement with the Southern Nevada Water Authority to plant 1000 trees over the next three years and, following that, we received notice that we will be awarded $3 million in Inflation Reduction Act funds from the US Forest Service to plant trees across the state over the next five years!
- On Nevada Day, a team of volunteers planted 5 Eucalyptus microtheca, 10 Red Push Pistache, and 3 Mulga Acacia trees at Rafeal Rivera Park. Additionally, we partnered with the City of North Las Vegas and the City of Las Vegas to plant an additional 164 trees in the weeks leading up to Nevada Day.
- That brings our total to 454 planted and 99,546 to go!