With one single post to his Instagram profile, Leonardo DiCaprio informed Italians about the green revolution in process in Milan, specifically the planting of three million new trees in cities as a way to combat climate change. Mayor Sala was grateful.
it was only when Leonardo DiCaprio – actor, director, environmentalist – shared a post on his Instagram account, which counts almost 30 million followers, that Italians truly realised how the City of Milan, together with architect Stefano Boeri, who became famous for his commitment to making the city green, had decided to plant three million new trees, a real urban forest to be completed by 2030. The number of plants in the city will be boosted from 10 to 13 million and will be able to capture as much as 5 million tons of CO2 per year, roughly 80% of that produced in Milan.
And yet the project, exceptional to say the least, dates back to last May when Pierfrancesco Maran, council member for urban planning and green issues, and mayor Beppe Sala decided to implement the project proposed by Boeri, already known to the Milanese for his Vertical Wood, and who was recently among key guests at the first World Forum on Urban Forests which was held in Mantova from 28 November to 1 December thanks to an FAO initiative, with the collaboration of the Politecnico di Milano and Sisef.
An event that saw more than 400 experts from 50 countries meet to design the city of the future along with politicians, journalists and citizens interested in learning why the creation and management of a green area in an urban context is fundamental in terms of fighting pollution and improving quality of life. Having trees in the city brings only benefits, and at a very low cost, almost zero in fact. Trees reduce CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, clean the air of fine dust caused by traffic and domestic heating, and mitigate the increasingly common heatwaves. An urban forest can lower summer temperatures by 5-6 degrees, preventing serious disadvantages for people and the environment. Doing all this without trees would have a cost that administrations would be unable to support. It would be a little like replacing bees in the natural pollination process. At what price? If we were only more aware of all that trees do for us, we’d realise how important it is to have one in every corner of our cities.