One Easy Step to Save LA Trees

Did you know that it takes an acre of trees an entire year to offset the carbon dioxide produced by driving a car 26 thousand miles? In a city like Los Angeles, urban trees are essential. Currently, LA faces an opportunity to transform our city’s quality of life. We can’t do it without your help.

Recently, the City settled a class action lawsuit to fix our long neglected, broken sidewalks. The Willits settlement allocates $1.4 billion of much needed funding over the next 30 years, and provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in our sidewalks, ensuring they are accessible for all Angelenos.

As sidewalks are replaced, the City will be faced with decisions to preserve or remove trees. These critical decisions have lasting implications for the health and well-being of Angelenos.

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TreePeople wants YOU to urge city leaders to see this as an opportunity to support comprehensive sidewalk upgrades that protect trees, and their many benefits–including protection from extreme heat, an increased local water supply, improved water quality and greater flood control for communities throughout Los Angeles.

It’s not often that we get a chance to transform our city’s infrastructure. Let’s make sure this opportunity counts–next week, TreePeople will be taking this message to the Los Angeles City Council as they consider which standards will be adopted to preserve trees under the settlement.

You can help! Make sure your councilmember hears our message. Send them an email today asking them to protect and preserve our city’s trees and help make LA more water and climate-resilient!

Ready to get started? Send an email to your councilmember using the sample text provided below.

Tell your friends, too! Here’s a sample tweet to spread the word:

I’m taking action with @TreePeople_org to protect #trees for a climate-resilient LA. Join me and learn more:

Sample letter:


Dear Councilmember __________,

I am writing because we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to not only fix our city’s broken sidewalks, but make sure that communities throughout Los Angeles can benefit from a healthy, thriving urban forest.

The Willits settlement, which provides $1.4 billion over the next 30 years for much needed sidewalk repairs, is a huge opportunity for city leaders like you to advance a comprehensive vision for forward thinking, sustainable infrastructure upgrades for Los Angeles. Accessible sidewalks are essential for healthy, thriving communities – and so are trees. We know trees provide our city with critical benefits–essential public health protections, reduced air pollution, increased local water supply, flood control, and much more. We cannot allow these benefits to be taken away from communities across the city, especially our most vulnerable communities that already suffer from many public health and environmental stresses.  

As the Los Angeles City Council works to draft guidelines for sidewalk repair policies, I urge you to make sure the following priorities are included:

  • Clear criteria for examining whether or not a tree should be removed (and if removal is necessary, guidelines for tree replacement);
  • A commitment to investing in strategies that would save as many trees as possible;
  • An appropriate tree replacement ratio if a tree does require removal, with a commitment to maintenance funding for new trees;
  • A commitment to review City-wide needs and goals that intersect with sidewalk repairs as part of this process.  There is great potential to leverage other funding sources for water supply, water quality and flooding issues to augment sidewalk repair funding, creating the ability to ensure any infrastructure changes have multiple benefits.  

We have an amazing opportunity for the City to lead with a vision that considers how all of its interrelated goals and mandates, including urban heat protection, local water supply, stormwater quality, street repair, and flood prevention needs can intersect with work done on sidewalk replacement. I hope that I can count on you to support this vision, and ensure that we’re protecting the valuable resource that is our city’s urban tree canopy.
Many thanks,

[Insert Name Here]

By Erika Abdelatif

Erika Abdelatif is TreePeople’s Social Media and Digital Content Manager. When she isn't creating a climate-resilient LA via the Facebook, she's probably writing in a coffee shop, infesting the internet with memes, or watching an open mic.