Your local park has a hidden talent: helping fight climate change


Ryan Kellman

Rebecca Hersher



All that parkland helps protect millions of Americans from the effects of global warming. Pools and splash pads offer a place to cool off on dangerously hot days. Trees provide shade, pull carbon dioxide out of the air and even lower the temperature in nearby neighborhoods. Marshes, ponds and meadows soak up water when it rains to help keep roads and homes dry.


At the same time, climate change demands ever more attention from parks departments, and dozens of cities have added new positions to meet those demands.

That includes resilience officers and risk managers, who are explicitly focused on global warming, as well as a small army of arborists, botanists, hydrologists, restoration ecologists and conservation biologists who think more broadly about how humans interact with nature.


In many cases, climate change requires cities to rethink what parks look like. After major floods damaged city parks in Des Moines, Iowa; Atlanta, Ga.; and Houston, Texas, local leaders in all three places redesigned parks so they would be able to withstand future floods.


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