Open forum — St. Thomas
There are many reasons why we need to plant more native trees in our community and elsewhere.
Trees help lower air temperature in homes, cutting energy costs (WAPA bills). Lower air temperatures reduce incidence of heat stroke, dehydration, heat exhaustion, heart attack and other health problems. Trees remove air pollutants, including ozone, dust (including Sahara dust), reducing incidence of respiratory heart disease, asthma and cancer. Trees provide shade, protecting us from ultraviolet rays, reducing incidence of skin cancer.
Trees reduce standing water, reducing habitat for mosquitoes, some of which are vectors for dengue fever. Trees reduce soil erosion. Tree roots enable infiltration of rain into the soil where it is absorbed by plant roots and replenishes ground water and aquifers.
Trees thereby reduce storm water runoff and flooding, which are hazardous to the environment and our health: Trees combat diarrheal diseases contracted from exposure to sewage contaminated storm water runoff.
Trees help protect us from injury and even death in floodwaters. Trees reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (the primary greenhouse gas), mitigating environmental and public health impacts of climate change.
Tree cuttings and wood products provide valuable materials for the creation of beautiful pieces of furniture and other objects of art that are the back bone of our cultural history.
We are planning for two tree planting events on Sunday June 17 and Saturday June 23 on St. Thomas at the Smith bay park (formally known as Lindquist beach) concerning the impacts of climate change to our health. We would hope that you might RSVP us at 777-7190 and help us plant over 65 native trees. Space is limited for the planting events, but if you cannot come out during those times, come out at a later date to enjoy the natural beauty of the beach, the trees and read the educational sign posted next to them. We would like to thank the board members of the Magen’s Bay Authority and the members of the Environmental Association of St. Thomas St. John for their generous support of our efforts. Our grant was provided by UVI's Caribbean Exploratory Research Center Medical University of South Carolina and the National Institutes of Health’s National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Virgin Islands Conservation Society and members of the board