This summer, it’s going to be even hotter than usual in my Waterville neighborhood, because a lot of the big old trees that used to line the road are being taken down. Without the shade of these trees, the black pavement is going to bake in the sun all day, and then radiate that heat into the air all night long. We’ll also miss the effect of evaporative cooling from all those many thousands of leaves, lowering the temperature of the air beneath them. Just think of how much cooler a forest is than a paved parking lot. Which would you rather sleep near in August? Trees also remove carbon dioxide from the air, provide food and shelter for birds, and help muffle traffic sounds.

I understand the necessity of removing dead limbs, and sometimes whole trees, to prevent accidents, home damage, and power lines being brought down. But for every tree that comes down, at least one new one should be planted, as soon as possible. They don’t need to be towering oaks and maples; tree varieties come in all sizes and shapes, and they’ll all lower your air-conditioning bill and increase your home’s resale value, as well as making our city a more beautiful and more comfortable place to live. It’s an easy way to make a difference for years to come.

Claire Prontnicki


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