Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been in the headlines because while the city’s new climate action plan emphasizes conserving the most susceptible people by rooting 75,000 trees, her own Department of Water Management is resuming business as typical and removing trees without any systematic procedure to find substitutes to clear-cutting.
According to a recent Tribune analysis of the city’s selective tree planting, Wealthier, white communities proceed to obtain more aid. At the same time, neighborhoods of color carry the brunt of heightening climate-driven extreme heat, flooding, and poor air quality.
To overcome this imbalance, it is essential to gain the mayor’s support for a tree-planting initiative without city officials aligning only furnishing more hot air. The only way to make this strategy work is, The mayor must hold councilors and the Department of Water Management answerable. Otherwise, this deprivation of follow-through will disproportionately influence historically marginalized and underserved constituencies.
It is shocking that while a $46 million fortune of street trees will be seeded, our subsisting healthy and large canopy trees prevail to be removed through aldermanic immunity. The low tree canopy already sustains Chicago, and this sudden change in planting ratio will not restore the canopy of what continues to be eliminated.
To handle and solve this issue, Lightfoot should wield Commissioner Andrea Cheng and her water department liable for revising and stabilizing a process so that it’s not just the wealthier white communities that force the water department to find every possibility to reduce their healthy trees.