Shanteya Hudson, Public News Service
Organizations in Georgia are getting an opportunity to develop and enhance green spaces to help mitigate some effects of climate change.
Through the Bezos Earth Fund’s Greening America’s Cities initiative, nine groups in Atlanta have received nearly $8 million to create more parks, community gardens, nature trails and tree canopies.
Andrew Steer, president and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund, emphasized with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and rising temperatures, the role of green spaces in climate resilience becomes even more crucial.
“Cities are much hotter in those areas because there is more concrete, there’s less grass and trees to absorb the heat,” Steer explained. “In the city areas it can be nine degrees hotter than the suburbs.”
Steer pointed out more people in the city are likely to face additional health concerns or even death from the heat. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 1,300 people die in the U.S. every year due to heat-related causes.
Acknowledging the unequal distribution of urban green space and its disproportionate impact on low-income areas, Steer noted the Bezos Earth Fund deliberately selected organizations with strong ties to the communities they serve.
“It is absolutely crucial that we find a way of putting the resources right on the front lines,” Steer asserted. “It’s s very tempting to provide funding through national organizations, who are also excellent. At the end of the day, it is the front line communities, the little platoons, that actually are making an incredible difference.”
In addition to Atlanta, the grant is providing support to 24 organizations in Wilmington, Delaware; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Chicago and Los Angeles. Steer added the fund will actively continue this initiative until 2030.
This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.