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Urban Forests (Video) | Citizens' Climate Lobby

Urban Forests

In American cities, trees save lives.

Help us plant them where they’re needed most. 🌳

As our summers grow hotter, urban trees keep things cool in our cities.


Extreme heat threatens the lives and health of people living in cities during the summer. Planting a collection of trees (and thereby creating more healthy urban forests) within cities is one of the cheapest, fastest, and most effective ways to directly lower temperatures and save lives.


Today, some city neighborhoods enjoy trees and green space, while others do not. Due to historic discriminatory policies, trees in cities are often sparse in neighborhoods with more low-income families and people of color. Today, these neighborhoods can experience temperatures more than 15°F hotter than wealthier neighborhoods in the same city on a hot day. We can help change that while improving air quality at the same time.

Help us advocate for increasing urban forests nationwide. Here’s how you can take climate action:


  • Advocate for policies that increase urban forests, with a focus on neighborhoods that suffer from a lack of tree equity.
  • Support local groups and local community leaders with tree planting initiatives.
  • Help local communities take advantage of funding available for adding trees.
  • Find your local CCL Chapter and join to help increase the amount of urban trees in your area.


Image of a tree

What are the benefits or urban forests?


✅  Trees clean up air pollution

Carbon is one of the gases in the atmosphere that poses a significant threat to Earth’s ozone layer. Fortunately, trees pull carbon dioxide out of the air and convert it into oxygen. Learn more about the science of climate change.


✅  Trees prevent power failures

A heat-triggered power outage in a major city could leave millions at risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Because trees help keep things cooler, they reduce air conditioning usage (an economic benefit), and the risk of a major power failure.


✅  Investing in urban forests creates jobs and builds the economy

One study on green infrastructure investment found that for every dollar they put in, nearly two dollars were spent throughout the economy. And a $1 million investment in urban forests created about 24 full-time, living wage jobs for the surrounding community.


✅  Trees make us happier

Trees Louise! Spending time around trees reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, improves mood, and helps us live longer. Planting more trees is a way to bring these natural benefits to people who haven’t had them in years.

What kind of urban forestry policies does CCL support?

We support policies that:


  • Help to increase urban forests
  • Focus on neighborhoods that suffer from a lack of tree equity

Oftentimes, the best urban forest and tree equity policies are local or state initiatives. To bring this issue to light, CCL advocates for increasing urban forests by supporting local groups and community leads with tree planting initiatives and helping local communities take advantage of available funding for tree planting.


Want to champion trees in urban areas for the good of the climate, public health and the economy? Us too. Join up and let’s make it happen.



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Why are urban forests important?