Replacing our concrete surfaces for more green infrastructure and natural systems is a great way to address climate change, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation. Vegetation throughout our cities take in carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, as well as other air pollutants. Green roofs and street trees are also proven to reduce heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer, reducing our demand for fossil fuel energy. In terms of adaptation, soft shorelines with layers of vegetation help block wind and wave energy, protecting communities along the coast. These green infrastructure systems are often less costly and much less resource-intensive than their grey infrastructure alternatives (such as stormwater tanks and metal bulkheads).
If recent climate change news has you thinking about ways to reduce your carbon footprint, such as using less electricity and driving less, also consider adding green infrastructure to your home and advocating in your community for more street trees and vegetated swales. If you own your home or a business, check out our green infrastructure guide for private property owners.