The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego has begun its Growing Trees in Community Initiative. Led by EDSD’s Creation Care Community and in partnership with local creation-care-minded groups such as Tree San Diego and the Climate Action Campaign, this initiative seeks to support and co-power 10 congregations in select neighborhoods* to plant a total of 200 trees in partnership with their neighbors.
*select neighborhoods = located in or near priority areas with
- great tree canopy potential
- >60% of communities of color
- & >15% of residents under the federal poverty line
Why grow trees?
Benefits of Trees
Increasing urban tree canopy (UTC) has multiple ecosystem benefits, including sequestering carbon, reducing soil erosion, improving air and water quality, decreasing stormwater runoff, and enhancing wildlife habitat.
Larger tree canopies also improve human health by reducing the impact of hot temperatures associated with the urban heat island effect, providing shade and reducing energy consumption (and carbon emissions), buffering noise, and increasing real estate and business value.
Tree canopy as urban green space has positive impacts on overall well-being, including mental health, concentration and focus, physical healing from sickness, and social cohesion.
San Diego County’s UTC is, on average, 13% and 60-70% below what is considered healthy for humans and the environment.
The UTC tends to be concentrated in whiter and wealthier neighborhoods; thus, focusing efforts in more racially and economically diverse areas with less UTC can have intersectional and equitable impacts on frontline communities.
How would congregations benefit from this work?
This initiative invites congregations to grow trees in service to their neighborhoods. Through this work rooted in service, creation care, environmental justice, and other various aspects of our baptismal covenant, we hope congregations may benefit from this work in some of the following ways:
- increased relational power within their communities
- increased partnerships with community leaders, groups, and organizations
- a chance to build relationships w/ individuals from around the diocese
- the development of a narrative of good news through service to their neighborhoods
- opportunity to explore more individual and congregational gifts, talents, passions, and charisms
Learn more about our pilot tree-planting event at St. Philip-the-Apostle in Lemon Grove here.
Interested in learning more about how you or your congregation can be involved? Sign-up here.