Madrid Combating Climate Change With An Urban Forest
In an effort to stave off the effects of climate change on the city, and reduce greenhouse emissions, Madrid has begun planting an “eco-wall” of trees surrounding the city. This urban forest will use 75 kilometres of land, and contains almost half a million trees. The aim of this green expanse is to help lower the temperature within the city which has spiked by several degrees due to human activity. As well as reduce CO₂ emissions put out by that same activity.
The Reasons For The Eco-Wall Initiative
Madrid’s Councillor for the environment and urban development, Mariano Fuentes, has spoken on the matter. Listing the multitude of reasons for the eco-wall:
- To improve air quality throughout the city
- The reduction of the “heat island effect” happening with the city boundaries
- To absorb excess greenhouse gasses generated by city activity
- To connect the surrounding forest masses together that already surround the city
It may take some time for the forests to mature enough to have a real impact on the temperature of the city. It will also require a lot of time and effort to be put into the planting process for it to have the best chance of success. This is something the people of Madrid are willing to do for the future wellbeing of the city.
The Affect of Climate Change on Madrid
Madrid is a highly active and popular tourist location. As a result, many people flock to the beautiful city in search of fun activities and stunning views. However, the popularity of Madrid is also a big part of the reason why it is so affected by the climate crisis. That, and it’s already extremely hot location. Any area of densely packed human activity is susceptible to heightened temperatures (think of the difference in temperature during a house party). That same dense grouping of people also contributes to CO₂ emissions.
Madrid’s temperature within the city limits is recorded as 2°C higher than the woodland outside of the city walls. This means the lack of greenery in the area is resulting in a steadily rising temperature, owing to a buildup of greenhouse gasses. So named as the “greenhouse” effect causes an area to warm up considerably more than its surroundings. To add insult to injury, Madrid is generally hotter than the rest of Spain, and rarely experiences rain. Meaning finding the correct type of local indigenous is essential.
What Is The Future For The New, Greener Madrid?
Once the new trees have had some time to mature and begin their work, the hope is that it will help towards creating a more comfortable and environmentally-conscious city. With more and more people taking it upon themselves to reduce their carbon footprint with the use of zero waste products and public transport, the world is finally working to repair some of the damage caused by human occupation. With climate change continuing to be an ever-present danger, action is required.
Fuentes has advocated the need for cities to become more environmentally conscious. Explaining that “It’s not only about cars, but also a pedestrianisation strategy, the creation of environmental corridors in every district…” He also feels citizens needs to consciously engage in a greener culture. This could be reducing the amount of rubbish produced, or using less water. Even finding alternative ways to travel that don’t include the use of motorized vehicles.
The new forest does not intend to operate as a park, but as an essential part of a more eco-friendly infrastructure. They aim to develop low-maintenance ways of keeping the eco-wall healthy. Whilst consuming as little water as possible to do so. This minimal-effort approach is the only want to keep this new greener initiative sustainable for years to come. Hopefully becoming an example for other large cities around the world.