MOTHER NATURE & THE CITY

Mother Nature is ensuring that Manhattan remains a livable city.

Peril and Promise is an ongoing series of reports on the human impact of, and solutions for, Climate Change. Lead funding for Peril and Promise is provided by Dr. P. Roy Vagelos and Diana T. Vagelos. Major support is provided by Marc Haas Foundation and Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III.

Aired on June 12, 2018. 

TRANSCRIPT

> THE HUSTLE AND BUSLE OF NEW YORK CITY.

FAST PACED JOBS, KIDS, RENT CAN STRESS US.

BUT THERE IS A SIMPLE SOLUTION.

ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS OPEN TROR YOUR FRONT DOOR.

SOUNDS PRICING, RIGHT?

YOU WON'T FIND THE FIX IN A BOTTLE.

WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING AT IS NATURE.

NATURE HELPS MANAGE OUR STRESS LEVELS, PROMOTES KEEPING US COOL DURING HEAT WAVES, AIDS THE SICK TO RECOVER FASTER AND PROTESTS THE SHORELINE FROM HURRICANES.

THAT MIGHT SOUND OKAY TO YOU.

BUT YOU ATTACH THAT SENTENCE TO NEW YORK CITY.

AND YOU MIGHT BE PUZZLED.

WE'RE GOING TO HELP.

AS PART OF OUR PERIL AND PROMISE THE THE HUMAN IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

WE EXPLORE WAYS NATURE MEDIATION THE CITY LIVEABLE AND LESS STRESSFUL.

HERE WITH THE INFORMATION WE ARE DATED TO HAVE THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATURE CONSERVANCY AND.

GREAT TO BE HERE.

I APPRECIATE IT.

LET'S START WITH THE INTROWHERE I SAY IN THE SAME SENTENCE, NATURE, MARVELLOUS HEALING CAPACITY, ABLE TO I HAD O AID US AND SO MANY WAYS.

AND NEW YORK CITY.

DO YOU FIND PEOPLE DON'T SEE A CONNECTION?

I THINK TOO FEW PEOPLE SEE THE CONNECTION.

AND TOO FEW PEOPLE UNDERSTAND JUST HOW VALUABLE NATURE IS IN OUR LIVES.

IT'S LIKE BOTH THE MEDICINE AND THE THERAPIST THAT WE ALL NEED LEADING THESE FRANTIC HECTIC NEW YORK LIVES.

AND THE AMOUNT OF BENEFITS THAT IT PROVIDES TO PEOPLE OF ALL AGES IS REALLY INCREDIBLE.

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE SPECIFICS.

YEAH.

THAT I MENTIONED IN THE INTRO.

I PROBABLY PIQUED SOME INTEREST OF FOLKS.

YEAH.

YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT NEW YORK CITY AND THERE IS STRESS.

MANY PEOPLE THRIVE ON IT MANY HAVE TO ENDURE IT.

RIGHT.

BUT HOW DOES NATURE HELP US IN THE CITY.

SO MANY WAYS.

FIRST OF ALL THE INCIDENTS OFFED CARDIOVASCULAR DECEASE WHO HAVE NATURE AROUND THEM IS LOWER.

ASTHMA RATES ARE LOWER FOR PEOPLE WITH TREES AND NATURE AROUND THEIR HOMES.

YOU MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION HEAT.

PEOPLE -- NEIGHBORHOODS THAT HAVE TREES ARE TWO EVEN-MILE-AN-HOUR FOUR DEGREES COOLER DURING SUMMERTIME HEAT WAVES.

IS THAT JUST BECAUSE OF SHADE.

EXACTLY RIGHT.

SHADE.

SO IT'S REDUCING TEMPERATURES IN THE HEAT -- HOT ZONES, URBAN HEAT ISLANDS AS WE CALL THEM.

TREES AND NATURE ARE SAVING LIVES, PREVENTING ILLNESS.

AND EVEN WHEN YOU GET TO PEOPLE RECOVERING, IT'S BEEN SHONE THAT PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN SICK WILL RECOVER FASTER IF THEY HAVE NATURE AROUND THEM.

AND THEN KIDS DO BETTER IN SCHOOL.

ALL OF THOSE THINGS.

THE THING I SAY FOR EVERYBODY, THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO IS EXERCISE BUT REALLY EXERCISE OUTDOORS.

YEAH.

LET'S COME BACK TO THE SPECIFICS HERE.

AND TREES ONE THING.

AND YOU KNOW YOU HEAR PEOPLE REFER TO THE CONCRETE JUNGLE.

ALL RIGHT.

YEAH.

WHICH IS NOT ACCURATE.

BUT PERCEPTIONS, AS YOU KNOW PERCEPTIONS SOMETIMES THE EXPRESSION IN POLITICS IS THE PERCEPTION BECOMES THE REALITY.

RIGHT.

ARE WE SEEING THE INTRODUCTION OF MORE TREES INTO THE NEW YORK CITY AREA.

WELL IT'S INTERESTING.

THIS IS A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT.

BACK TO YOUR OPENING AGAIN, ITCHING PEOPLE FORGET HOW MUCH NATURE IS HERE.

AND ACTUALLY ALMOST A QUARTER OF NEW YORK CITY IS IN PARKS AND GREEN SPACES AND OPEN SPACE.

IS THE NUMBER THAT MUCH?

IT'S ACTUALLY ALMOST A QUARTER.

AND THERE ARE ACTUALLY ABOUT 5.5 MILLION TREES IN THE NEW YORK CITY.

I DO IMAGINE A DAY THERE IS A TREE FOR EVERY NEW YORKER WE HAVE A FEW MILLION TO GO.

BUT I THINK THAT THIS WHOLE CONNECTION IS -- IS SO IMPORTANT, SO SO IMPORTANT FOR ALL OF NEW YORKERS.

AND WHAT WE DO IS I THINK KIND OF LIKE SO MANY THINGS WE TAKE IT FOR GRANTED.

WE WALK OUT THE DOOR AND SOMETIMES WE DON'T ALWAYS SEE THE NATURE AROUND US.

ALTHOUGH AT SPRINGTIME WE HAVE THE BEAUTIFUL BLOSSOMING TREES AROUND AND YOU SEE PEOPLE TAKING SELFIES.

AND PEOPLE TAKE NOTICE THERE IS THIS BEAUTIFUL NATURE ALL AROUND US.

THE AWARENESS IS GROWING.

BUT WE NEED TO PLANT MORE TREES AND THE TREES WE PLAN, WHETHER IN PARKS OR TREE WELLS ALONG CITY STREETS, WHAT'S REALLY IMPORTANT IS WE TAKE CARE OF THEM, STEWARD THEM AND HELP MAKE SURE THEY'RE NURTURED AND SURVIVE.

HOW NEIGHBORS AND NEIGHBORHOODS COME TOGETHER TO MAKE IT HAPPEN, I THINK THAT'S REALLY THE KEY OF THE FUTURE OF KEEPING NEW YORK GREEN.

HOW DO VIEWERS WATCHING AND LISTENING TO US NOW AND SAYING ALL RIGHT, TREES, THAT'S A KEY.

RIGHT.

I'D LIKE TO GET INVOLVED AND SOMEHOW ENHANCE AND MOVE THAT ALONG.

RIGHT.

HOW WOULD ORDINARY CITIZENS CONTRIBUTE.

THERE IS A A LOT.

GREAT QUESTION.

FIRST OF ALL IS PAY ATTENTION TO THE TREES AROUND YOU.

AND PEOPLE CAN ADOPT TREES AND TREE WELLS.

AND THERE IS AN ORGANIZATION CALLED TREES NEW YORK CITY.

WE ARE DOING AN EVENT WITH THEM DOWN IN SOUTH STREET SEA PORT COMING UP.

THIS IS THEIR FOCUS, MISSION.

THE NEW YORK RESTORATION PROJECT WORKED WITH BLOORM DURING HIS ADMINISTRATION.

AND THE NATURE CONSERVANCY IS WANTING TO HELP AND SUPPORT.

REACH OUT TO LOCAL ORGANIZATIONS.

ALSO THE CITY THREE ONE WITHIN.

IF YOU SEE A TREE DIES OING OR A DEAD TREAT TREE OR OPEN YOU CAN MAKE A CALL TO THE CITY.

THERE IS A CHANCE THEY'LL COME OUT AND PLANT A TREE THERE.

REALLY NOTIFYING THE CITY ABOUT THE NEED IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

WHAT ABOUT, AGAIN, BIGGER PICTURE, SHORELINE PROTECTION.

RIGHT.

PROTECTION FROM STORMS.

WHAT DO WE SEE THERE?

THIS IS ANOTHER IMPORTANT POINT AROUND PEOPLE NOT APPRECIATING THE ROLE THAT NATURE PLAYS.

AND THERE WAS A STUDY JUST AFTER HURRICANE SANDY THAT SHOWED THAT ABOUT $680 MILLION WORTH OF DAMAGE WAS AVOIDED.

SO ALMOST 3/4S OF A BILLION DOLLARS BECAUSE OF WETLANDS ON THE COAST.

COASTAL FORESTS, WETLAND WAS, OYSTER REEFS.

HOW TOES THAT WORK.

IN A CHANGE A CHANGING CLIMATE WORLD.

SEA LEVEL RISE.

AND STORM SURGE LIKE IN SANDY INCREASES.

WE NEED THE BUFFER BETWEEN OPEN OCEAN AND US, 8.5 MILLION NEW YORKERS.

THIS IS GREEN PROTECTION ALONG THE SHORELINES THAT WHEN A STORM REEFS TAKE 97% OF THE ENERGY OUT OF A WAVE.

WETLANDS ABSORB WAVE ENERGY MAKING LANDFALL.

COASTAL FORESTS HELP SLOWDOWN STORM SURGE.

THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT IF WE INVEST IN THIS AND STEWARDING IT OVER TIME WE'LL BE SAFER, BETTER PROTECTED.

AND WE'RE JUST HAVING A MORE LIVEABLE CITY BECAUSE THEN THESE ARE PARKS, THESE ARE THE PLAYGROUND, WHERE WE CAN GET OUT AND BE HEALTHIER.

THERE ARE PLACES TO CREATE BUFFERS THAT PROTECT PEOPLE.

AND THERE ARE PLACES QUITE HONESTLY WHERE WE NEED TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF HARM'S WAY.

YOU KNOW, WE ARE STARTING TO SEE THE BUYOUTS WHERE PLACES ARE SO LOW, EVEN ON LONGSL PORTIONS OF STATEN ISLAND AT A FULL MOON HIGH TIDE PEOPLE FLOODED OUT THERE.

THE OTHER THINK WE NEED TO TO DO IS GET PEOPLE OUT OF HARM'S WHICH.

RESTORE THE WITH WETLAND WAS RESTORE THE PARKS AND LET THEM BECOME A NATURAL BUFFER AND INFRASTRUCTURE BETWEEN THE OPEN OCEAN AND US.

A LOT THERE.

ONE QUICK QUESTION.

FOR FOCUS WATCHING.

NATURE KWEVTCY HOW CAN I HELP.

THERE ARE SO MANY THINGS, THE KEEP -- COPE DOING WHAT NEW YORKERS DO.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, RECYCLE, KPOFT NOW.

THESE ARE THINGS BECOMING EWE BIG-TICKETOUS IN NEW YORK CITY.

AND GET OUTSIDE.

IT'S A RATE GREAT TIME TO GET OUT IN SPRING WHETHER IN A NEIGHBORHOOD PARK OR GOVERNOR'S.

YOU AND I HUFF DONE THIS INTERVIEW OUTSIDE.

TOTALLY AGREE.

JUST TO ILLUSTRATE THE POINT.

THANKS, JACK I APPRECIATE IT.

TAKE CARE.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, The Peter G. Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney Fund, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, The Ambrose Monell Foundation, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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