We got a kick out of the comments on Facebook and other sites regarding our campaign to maintain open space and a 80 year old tree in South Philadelphia. Some will make you laugh and others will make you go what? Please help save open space in development projects and signand shareour petition today.
Small lots provide many opportunities for families and local communities to enjoy nature and family time. Our family has been gardening our lots for many years. Every year we try new things. In our 15ft 9in x 20 ft corner lot we have set up: two 4ft x 8ft gardens, a number of garden pots and even a crab sandbox for the kids to play in. Next year we are going to try some vertical gardening. I’ll bet we save a few hundred dollars a year in veggie savings.
This year we are trying Square Foot Gardening (if you are interested here is a link www.squarefootgardening.com). It is a neat way of organizing the plants and rotating selections during the season. We’ll put up more postings of pictures as the plants grow.
As a family, gardening is a great way for the parents and the children to bond. Everyone gets to participate in the planting and harvests of the veggies. I think the kids favorites are the strawberries and the tomatoes. They tend to eat more than they put into the bucket. The kids also love playing in the sandbox and create little worlds in the sand. The big dog loves her piece of dirty we set aside. I think she just loves being along side her family and guard her family.
Little gardens also give neighbors a chance to meet and share. We love sharing some of the pickings with neighbors. I know our neighbor around the corner likes the peppers we gave him. He even dropped of a surprise gift of a gardening book for us. So you know, he always gets his peppers every year. We also have a teenager in the neighborhood that loves to take pictures of the flowers my wife grows. She is always welcome to take pictures of the flowers.
Your 34 inch Trunk Diameter Tree of heaven will intercept 14,151 gallons of stormwater runoff this year.
Urban stormwater runoff (or “non-point source pollution”) washes chemicals (oil, gasoline, salts, etc.) and litter from surfaces such as roadways and parking lots into streams, wetlands, rivers and oceans. The more impervious the surface (e.g., concrete, asphalt, rooftops), the more quickly pollutants are washed into our community waterways. Drinking water, aquatic life and the health of our entire ecosystem can be adversely effected by this process.
Trees act as mini-reservoirs, controlling runoff at the source. Trees reduce runoff by:
Intercepting and holding rain on leaves, branches and bark
Increasing infiltration and storage of rainwater through the tree’s root system
Reducing soil erosion by slowing rainfall before it strikes the soil
Your 34 inch Trunk Diameter Tree of heaven will conserve 291 Kilowatt hours of electricity for cooling and reduce consumption of oil or natural gas by 8 therm(s).
Trees modify climate and conserve building energy use in three principal ways (see figure at left):
Shading reduces the amount of heat absorbed and stored by buildings.
Evapotranspiration converts liquid water to water vapor and cools the air by using solar energy that would otherwise result in heating of the air.
Tree canopies slow down winds thereby reducing the amount of heat lost from a home, especially where conductivity is high (e.g., glass windows).
Strategically placed trees can increase home energy efficiency. In summer, trees shading east and west walls keep buildings cooler. In winter, allowing the sun to strike the southern side of a building can warm interior spaces. If southern walls are shaded by dense evergreen trees there may be a resultant increase in winter heating costs.
Air pollution is a serious health threat that causes asthma, coughing, headaches, respiratory and heart disease, and cancer. Over 150 million people live in areas where ozone levels violate federal air quality standards; more than 100 million people are impacted when dust and other particulate levels are considered “unhealthy.” We now know that the urban forest can mitigate the health effects of pollution by:
Absorbing pollutants like ozone, nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide through leaves
Intercepting particulate matter like dust, ash and smoke
Releasing oxygen through photosynthesis
Lowering air temperatures which reduces the production of ozone
Reducing energy use and subsequent pollutant emissions from power plants
It should be noted that trees themselves emit biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) which can contribute to ground-level ozone production. This may negate the positive impact the tree has on ozone mitigation for some high emitting species (e.g. Willow Oak or Sweetgum). However, the sum total of the tree’s environmental benefits always trumps this negative.
This year your 34 inch Trunk Diameter Tree of heaven tree will reduce atmospheric carbon by 1,236 pounds.
How significant is this number? Most car owners of an “average” car (mid-sized sedan) drive 12,000 miles generating about 11,000 pounds of CO2 every year. A flight from New York to Los Angeles adds 1,400 pounds of CO2 per passenger. Trees can have an impact by reducing atmospheric carbon in two primary ways (see figure at left):
They sequester (“lock up”) CO2 in their roots, trunks, stems and leaves while they grow, and in wood products after they are harvested.
Trees near buildings can reduce heating and air conditioning demands, thereby reducing emissions associated with power production.
Combating climate change will take a worldwide, multifaceted approach, but by planting a tree in a strategic location, driving fewer miles, or replacing business trips with conference calls, it’s easy to see how we can each reduce our individual carbon “footprints.”