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Growing expansion of green projects across Los Angeles


Efforts at Los Angeles  Children’s Hospital

Climate change has affected the majority of California to the point that certain parts lack nature's touch or even the proper space and land to create prospering green areas. Los Angeles is a victim of environmental attacks on top of capitalism, resulting in land being destroyed and less space for nature to show its beauty and impact on the world. Environmental activists are starting to fight back and protesting the importance of green spaces and how everybody around could benefit from it.

" Experts recommend a 35% increase of tree canopy coverage to combat the ever-rising increase in temperature, but a study by California environmental researchers shows that 2.6 million students across the state interact daily on schoolyards with less than 5% tree canopy coverage." Marci Raney, senior program manager in the Office of Well-Being at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, said as she talked about the importance of green spaces for kids. " These environmental conditions have contributed to higher rates of asthma, chronic absenteeism, heat exhaustion, lack of physical activity, and cognitive challenges. Other studies show that 18% of students do not have a safe place to play around them."

Raney also points to the fact that students who are surrounded by or interact with green spaces have fewer mental and physical health issues, attend school more, have better cognitive functions, and have better test scores compared to students in low-income communities and ones with limited green spaces. "Our students are being deprived, and change is needed immediately to help our students thrive in life,” she said.

Over the past year, Mayor Karen Bass has increased the Department of Recreation and Parks budget from $318 million this fiscal year to $337 million next year. That’s a modest 6% increase and not nearly enough to make a dent in the city’s needs. The Regional Parks and Open Space District is getting $90 million from Measure A, a parcel tax approved by voters in 2016. It has allocated millions of dollars to support high-need communities in preparing proposals for park projects. But many smaller, understaffed cities can’t take advantage of the funding.  As a result, millions of dollars are left on the table. Even bigger cities, like Los Angeles and Long Beach, urgently need help to plan projects and pursue funding.

Los Angeles is pioneering a new model for creating green spaces in low-income neighborhoods that don’t have parks, good tree canopy, or adequate government capacity to build new parks. Link Model involves linking a community-based organization rooted in the neighborhood, an experienced nonprofit park-building organization, residents, and local government, to create green spaces in those neighborhoods to benefit the residents and the land.