Barking Up The Wrong Tree? California Reparations Report Wants More Trees Planted in ‘Black Neighborhoods’ for ‘Shade Equity’

Patrick Taylor | July 11, 2022
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The state of California, which has never been a slave state, has put together a laundry list of grievances that it traces back to “our country’s racist foundations,” as part of a report assembled by the state’s reparations task force.

The nine-member “interim report,” which spans 492 pages and contains the word “racist” 211 times, is packed with no shortage of suggestions for what reparations might be made. Among them is a tree-planting proposal designed to advance the newly created theory of “shade equity.”

“Nationally, formerly redlined areas consistently show hotter temperatures than other areas,” the report claims. “Therefore, climate change is certain to exacerbate existing, historically-codified disparities that track existing housing-related harms experienced by African Americans.”

“In particular, so-called ‘heat islands,’ which will worsen due to climate change, exist where built-up urban areas have few trees, vegetation or parks that serve to dissipate or reflect heat, and instead have pavement and building materials that absorb and retain it,” the committee further alleges.

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Still, the committee believes that “modern efforts to add green space” in black neighborhoods  nevertheless “involve racist narratives.” They argue that the city of Los Angeles limited tree growth in areas with higher black populations due to police concerns that trees “could serve as places to hide drugs or weapons.”

According to Republican Marc Morano, head of the website Climate Depot, the presence of “heat islands” is a real phenomenon, but the solution proposed by the committee would “most likely have a negligible impact on the urban heat of the cities.”

“These solutions appear to be nothing more than just ‘virtue [signaling]’ racial grievance claims,” Morano added, “These types of reports are generated to justify bureaucratic jobs and massive bloated budgets for ‘equity’ programs.”

Per the Department of Energy, heat islands in urban areas are caused by high concentrations of tall buildings, paved areas, and “​​other surfaces that absorb and retain heat.” Unless they want to start tearing down skyscrapers, the committee’s plan is unlikely to make much of a dent.

The report’s findings are certainly adequate at pointing out the flaws of city life. But by chalking them up to racism every single time, California is missing the point.


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