The benefits of Community Gardens and Green Rooftops

The amount of community gardens and green rooftops has significantly increased, especially in the urban setting. New York City is a prime example because it is one of the most crowded cities, people and building wise. This city is always undergoing new construction projects and movement, so it is about time that it took a few initiatives to mitigate the city’s ecological footprint. Community gardens and green rooftops are tackling climate change while providing numerous of other benefits to the community. Community gardens reduce the amount of transported food and offer locally grown fruits and vegetables. This reduces the emissions that are produced from transportation, which will reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, and decrease the temperature.

Community gardens are proven to have mental health benefits especially in children. This allows more people to be more connected and aware of their surroundings. By being exposed to the benefits of community gardens can make people have a deeper connection to the environment and make them want to protect it. A few of the ways that it helps mitigate climate change are by filtering rainwater, and helps keeps rivers and groundwater clean. Reduces soil erosion and runoff, which decreases flooding and saves the city money. Overall, it reduces CO2 in the atmosphere because the plants and soils take up the CO2 and releases more oxygen, acting as sinks.

Green rooftops are also extremely beneficial to the urban environment and its well-being. Green rooftop contributes to storm water management because water is stored by the substrate and taken up by the plants from where it is returned to the atmosphere through transpiration and evaporation. In the summer, depending of the types of plants and their growing season, green roofs retain 70%-90% of the precipitation that falls on them. During the winter, they retain 25%-40% of the precipitation. Through the daily dew and evaporation cycle, plants on vertical and horizontal surfaces are able to cool cities during hot summer months and reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect. Green roofs can also help reduce the distribution of dust and particulate matter throughout the city, as well as the production of smog. This can play a role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting urban areas to a future climate with warmer summers.

The plants on green roofs can capture airborne pollutants and atmospheric deposition. The temperature moderating effects of green roofs can reduce demand on power plants, and potentially decrease the amount of CO2 and other polluting by-products being released into the air. The presence of a green roof decreases the exposure of waterproofing membranes to large temperature fluctuations that can cause micro-tearing, and ultraviolet radiation. Green roofs can sustain a variety of plants and invertebrates, and provide a habitat for various bird species. By acting as a stepping stone habitat for migrating species they can link species together that would otherwise be fragmented. Using green roofs as the site for an urban agriculture project can reduce a community’s urban footprint through the creation of a local food system. (GreenRoof 2014)

There are many positive outcomes that come with the creation of community gardens and green rooftops. I hope that they will continue to increase which will minimize the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The plants and soils take up more CO2 and release more oxygen into the atmosphere. Community gardens and green rooftops are increasing and they are a great way to combat climate change.

Even though community gardens and green rooftops provide a lot of benefits for the environment, it also improves the well-being of those involved. Any person can get involved by joining an existing community garden or by creating their own. Once a person helps contributes to a community garden, they also get to take their own vegetables home. A person can also support community gardens by buying a plot f the garden and picking up their vegetables instead of buying them for the store. Green rooftops can be created on top of a person’s home or a office buildings.

Sources:

Gardening Matters. 2012. Multiple Benefits of Community Gardening. Retrieved from: http://www.gardeningmatters.org/sites/default/files/Multiple%20Benefits_2012.pdf

Green Roof for Healthy Cities. 2014. Green Roof Benefits. Retrieved from: http://www.greenroofs.org/index.php/about/greenroofbenefits

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3 thoughts on “The benefits of Community Gardens and Green Rooftops

  1. This is fantastic news that New York City is becoming more green! It appears as though the impacts of green roofs and community gardens cannot be understated as they affect such a wide spectrum of issues. I was most impressed with the fact about community garden’s effects on children, something I did not think about before this post!

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  2. New York City is surprisingly progressive when it comes to this stuff. It is surprising that roof top gardens serve as a place birds can benefit from during their migrations. I suppose in a way it is establishing wildlife corridors and enhancing the city’s ecosystem. The fact that roof top gardens are insulating for buildings should also mean that people save costs on energy to maintain indoor temperatures. These gardens also likely add aesthetic value to whatever property it is, thus translating to increased property value. This is good because obviously the point of a roof top garden is not supposed to be about money, but there is economic incentive to them, which makes them appealing to people who aren’t comfortable with an environmentalist label. Therefore, I think that this practice will endure as it is spiritually, morally, and economically valuable to people who live in the city. Overall, i think using and fostering green technology is simply the intelligent thing to do, and New York City is prone to be an intelligent place. Hopefully this kind of metropolitan greening will spread throughout the country to other cities that need air pollution and storm water mitigation. I’m sure looking at plants also makes one subconsciously environmentally responsible. I don’t know if i’m just a crazy environmentalist, but i tend to sympathize with plants. Anyways, great things coming from new york and I am excited to watch this movement grow (pun intended).

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  3. I like that you highlighted the use of community gardens as a way to lessen the effects of global climate by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Usually I think of community/rooftop gardens in the context of community development-providing people in urban areas with a way to sustainably grow food. I think the development of community urban gardens would be a great way to educate the public about climate change and demonstrate a simple way humans can contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. I think that when people actually feel like they are contributing to a cause, it is easier for them to grasp its implications. Climate change is a complex topic to grasp, because we can’t see the effects right before our eyes. Showing people how they could help address the issue may make them feel more connected to it.

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