Consider the unremarkable city park. A postage stamp of green amid the concrete. Trees, swings, grass, a basketball hoop.
Maybe your park has a public pool. Maybe it has a walking path or a barbecue grill or a leafy spot that’s good for watching birds. Yosemite it is not. Your park is not a vacation destination. Instead, it’s something much more valuable: a little piece of nature, right where you live.
City parks are crucial precisely because they are mundane. Their accessibility is what gives them their power. There are about 2 million acres of public parkland in the 100 largest cities in the United States, according to the Trust for Public Land.
All that parkland helps protect millions of Americans from the effects of global warming. Pools and splash pads offer a place to cool off on dangerously hot days. Trees provide shade, pull carbon dioxide out of the air and even lower the temperature in nearby neighborhoods. Marshes, ponds and meadows soak up water when it rains to help keep roads and homes dry.
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