Parks are a great way to connect to your local environment and community members. Every town has green areas and protected spaces that benefit human livelihood. Understanding parks’ importance and power to heal us and our planet, can rally local support through funding and policy changes. The bodies of water, the trees, and the plants all play a part in keeping our community balanced and thriving.
More plants means better air quality. Plants do produce oxygen and all. But it was proven, trees in urban areas remove up to 7,111,000 tons of toxins from the air. Not only do trees and plants keep the air clean, they also keep cities cooler during the heat.
How often do you look around the greenery on your property and feel grateful for clean air?
The water that comes out of your tap is connected to local waterways. Waterways such as streams play a critical role in the quality and supply of our drinking water. That’s why it is essential to clean up trash and keep them clean.
Stormwater runoff is a big issue that affects drinking water. When rain falls from the sky and runs off roofs, driveways, and streets, the water collects pollutants such as toxic chemicals and fertilizers. Ultimately, these end up in streams, lakes, and groundwater.
Stormwater should otherwise filter through permeable surfaces such as lawns and soil. Green spaces filter rain, reduce water pollution, protect drinking water, and decrease the rates of waterborne illness. Open land areas, green infrastructure, and wild spaces keep the water clean.
Go out into the wilderness and feel better. The recent global pandemic highlighted the importance of getting out into open space where you can be 6 feet apart! Not only do the trees and hills give you the freedom to explore, but studies show that time in parks can decrease stress and anxiety levels by 50 percent. Being in nature benefits human’s mind, body and spirit.
When community members enjoy parks and recreational areas, the town becomes more inclined to continue to protect them. These areas provide many services, from passive recreation to biodiversity for wildlife and even species survival.
Nature must continue to thrive to keep our communities thriving. For our crops to grow, the bees need to pollinate. For our water to remain clean, the streams need diverse microbes. The ecosystem depends on each other in a sacred balance. Yet, nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history.
Growing your connection with nature extends a deeper appreciation for the natural world. This will trigger your fight to protect it! When you see native plants thriving side by side with birds and monarchs migrating to your area, you witness the benefits of allowing the wild space to flourish.
We evolved from this planet. We are nature. The climate crisis needs you!
Parks can be a luxury, even though they seem ordinary and essential for communities. Across the United States, parks serving primarily people of color are half the size of parks that serve white people and are five times more crowded. These green areas have also become tools against climate change to fight challenges such as flooding, heat, clean air, and clean water. Nature’s various benefits for communities can help provide equity, healthier towns, and vibrant cities.