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Preparing for a Dangerously Hotter Future

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

The extreme heat events we’re witnessing in the West are frightening. We’re way past the point of a “wake-up call” when it comes to our rapidly warming planet.

Science tells us that 20 years from now, extreme heat waves are likely to increase in San Francisco — and we’ll need to be ready.

How are we preparing for this dangerously hotter future? What will those summer temperature spikes feel like?

Discriminatory policies have left parts of our city with fewer street trees than others. The resulting lack of vegetation in these communities combined with an excessive amount of asphalt will exacerbate the heat island effect, which will impact our neighbors in our southeastern neighborhoods most.

The stakes truly are life-and-death. Rising heat in other California cities is claiming dozens of lives. Seniors, people with disabilities, and young children are most vulnerable.

One solution is already at our fingertips. Trees help us cool neighborhoods. A recent study from American University showed that neighborhoods with over 50% tree canopy coverage were significantly cooler than those without. With just 13.7% of our streets and neighborhoods covered by tree canopy, San Francisco has a lot of work ahead to achieve those benefits.

That’s where Friends of the Urban Forest comes in. We’re out on the streets, bringing neighbors together to plant and care for San Francisco’s ideal urban forest every day. And we can’t do it without you.

Trees are climate-resilient “green infrastructure.” In addition to all the other benefits it provides, a robust urban tree canopy will help us survive a warming planet.

It’s not fair that only certain neighborhoods with access to parks and open spaces will have shady refuge. We need to plant more trees in the parts of the city that will feel the heat the most, and with your support we can do just that!

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