This week, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced a new initiative to combat climate change–augmented extreme heat in the city. It comes down to: Plant a tree! Make a pal! Those are actually not bad ideas.
The $106 million package — dubbed Cool Neighborhoods NYC, which, yikes — will largely go to tree-planting across more heatwave-endangered communities in the South Bronx, Northern Manhattan, and Central Brooklyn. Funding will also further develop the unpronounceable NYC °CoolRoofs program, which aims to cover 2.7 million square feet of city roofs with foliage.
But, to me, the more noteworthy component of the plan is Be A Buddy NYC — again, yikes — which “promotes community cohesion” as a means of climate resilience.
“A heat emergency is not the time to identify vulnerable residents,” explains the Mayor’s Office’s report. “Rather, it is important to build social networks that can help share life-saving information prior to such an emergency, and can reach out to at-risk neighbors during an extreme heat event.”
The new policy supports the argument that this whole community engagement thing is a crucial tactic in the fight against climate change.