Apr 22, 2022
In cities across the globe, lush gardens bloom on rooftops. They create a soothing natural retreat, lower temperatures, reduce air pollution, and provide habitats for wildlife.
Replacing dark roof surfaces with gardens can reduce temperatures in cities by as much as 5 degrees, research has found. That's no small matter. The “urban heat island effect” can often make cities 10 degrees warmer than surrounding areas. The green roofs store water in plants. When the moisture evaporates, the natural process cools the air.
Extreme heat fueled by climate change has proven more deadly than ever. Heat kills 1,300 Americans each year.
Green roofs have sprouted in cities including New York, Paris, and Singapore. Some countries like France, Switzerland, and Canada have even passed laws requiring new buildings to have at least a partly green rooftop.
That reflects growing awareness of the benefits of green roofs. They do more than just turn down the heat.
Green roofs also:
So on Earth Day, we salute those helping save the planet by planting on rooftops.
Photo from US Environmental Protection Agency.
Do Cities Need More Green Roofs?
This video shows students how green roofs reduce stormwater runoff, provide habitat for wildlife, insulate the indoor temperature of buildings, and help reduce the urban heat-island effect in cities.
This resource includes 10 short videos from the National Science Foundation that feature interviews with scientists and engineers working on green energy solutions.
Doomsday Prepping and Other Adaptation Approaches
This podcast episode features conversations with Emma Tamlin and Julian Tersigni about how people can "prep" for climate change through mitigation and adaptation.