Now Even TREES Are Blamed for Pollution

The Financial Times reported that Britain's urban green spaces are "at risk of rapid decline" because parks are strapped for cash. A University of Leicester study found that between 2006 and 2012, over 54,000 acres of green space were "eaten up" to make room for "artificial spaces" — for unimportant things like, I don't know, human housing.

While it is important to balance development with greenery, much reporting on the subject demonstrates a bias against buildings and vehicles which are vital for people to live and work well. But there are indeed positive developments tracking pollution which do not necessarily build climate alarmism.

Interestingly, New York City started an initiative last year called TreesCount, where 2,300 volunteers mapped the city's trees, giving them "a unique ID number" and "a color indicating its species." The project uses figures from the U.S. Forest Service to estimate the benefits each tree gives in concrete dollars, to reflect the retention of rainwater, conservation of electricity, and reduction in air pollution each provides.

Many cities likely already know which trees help with pollution and the best way to plant them so as to prevent a worsening in air quality. Further developments in this arena are nonetheless important, however.

Perhaps even more importantly, cities must examine the health costs of pollution, without the alarmist tendencies of many environmentalists who over-stress the damage of greenhouse gases, predicting global catastrophe which stubbornly refuses to arrive. While prioritizing air quality, regulators must not worsen the economic conditions for everyone by cracking down needlessly on cars and the free transit of everyday people.

Do not let the irrational fear of a looming catastrophe (projected ever farther and farther into the future, as alarmist climate models are adjusted) interfere with protecting the safety and quality of life in the here and now. Pollution can be a real threat, but it must not be over-emphasized as the coming of Armageddon.