Trees are very important to neighborhoods, even more so to lower-income neighborhoods. Take for instance, ‘sacrifice zones.’ As I’ve stated before sacrifice zones are zones where for lack of a better term, toxic industrials are put so that people’s lives can be sacrificed in the name of profit. These zones are also minority neighborhoods are well, and where lower-income working class live. It is hotter where there is less canopy cover from trees, which is why sacrifice zones are hotter and harder to breathe. This is because trees help combat the toxins in the air.
In South Park and Georgetown for example, there is a canopy cover of 13-14%, when the city and county are trying to make it be 30-40%. Making this goal though, would probably result in displacing toxic industries. People will tell me though, that it would be ‘displacing jobs.’ In a recent John Oliver Show Last Week Tonight; they interviewed a former general. He asked the reporter about if ISIS came offering jobs to the community, would we let them in? I would hope that the answer coming from governments would be no.
From a personal standpoint, trees have saved my life on at least one occasion. I had heat exhaustion in middle school during a baseball practice, the coolness of being under a shady tree and water that my mother got for me, helped get me stabilized. The toxic neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown and South Park are about 10 degrees hotter than the rest of Seattle, due to the lack of tree cover and the amount of toxic industrials. A lot of the time, people in the neighborhoods get looked down on, as people will say that they knew what they were getting into when they moved into the area. What if the area wasn’t as industrialized when they moved? Why should they have to be the ones to move?
Lower-income neighborhoods are used as dumping grounds for toxic industrials and other unsavory companies, because rich. white neighborhoods don’t want them anywhere near them. It’s okay for their kids to have long, healthy lives, but not for our kids? Asthma rates in toxic neighborhoods are extremely high, as are other government agencies such as the EPA stand by and allow it. Lung issues are also much higher and life expectancy is also down in these areas. In my neighborhood and Georgetown, it is down 10 or more years from the rest of King County.
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