Opportunity to mitigate climate change


To the Editor:

This week my partner and I made a presentation to the Oak Bluffs Select Board on our new organization, which is working with the Oak Bluffs parks commission to raise money to buy trees for volunteers to plant in Oak Bluffs’ parks. One of the select board members, Gail Barmakian, asked me, “Why trees?” I gave her a partial answer and later thanked her for asking the question. I also asked her why she had asked the question, since I assumed she knew the answer already. She told me that she thought a lot of people hadn’t thought enough about what trees do for them.

 With that thought in mind, here are some things trees do that we would like people to remember:

  • Trees clean the air we breathe by absorbing carbon dioxide, removing pollution, odor, and reducing the effects of climate change.
  • Trees keep sediment and chemicals out of waterways, improve water quality, and reduce erosion.
  • Trees lower surface and air temperatures, cooling our summer, making our parks more enjoyable.
  • Trees provide food and habitat for birds and other creatures.
  • Trees enhance the aesthetics of neighborhoods and increase property values.
  • Every dollar spent on planting and caring for a tree yields benefits two to five times the investment.

Last, we would like to offer this quote from June Simons: “Every day, a 40-foot tree takes in 50 gallons of dissolved nutrients from the soil, raises the mixture to its topmost leaves, converts it into 10 pounds of carbohydrates, and releases about 60 cubic feet of pure oxygen into the air.”

We are looking for volunteers to help us plant trees in Oak Bluffs parks this fall. It is something individuals can do locally to mitigate climate change.

Peter Meleney, Kelly Joyce, co-founders
Oak Bluffs Tree Stewards