The Dirt Girls program has been planting empowerment through outdoor science education since 2016. In the post-pandemic era, we commit to engaging Dirt Girls in taking climate action in their communities through learning about and planting trees. In 2022, we will offer a pilot program that provides positive role models who introduce the social and environmental benefits of tree cover. With your support, every participant will have the opportunity to plant a tree in her community.
Although women are disproportionately impacted by climate change, they are far less likely to have opportunities to become actors against climate-related hazards, such as drought, extreme temperatures, and severe weather events. For example, one study found that women experienced respiratory problems as a result of wildfires in the western US. Locally, two severe wildfires reduced natural forest canopy by nearly 8,000 hectares in Napa, CA in 2020 alone (equivalent to 1.15Mt of CO emissions).
Challenging stereotypes and providing positive role models has a significant impact on girls' preferences for and engagement in science. Tree planting is a relevant climate action that can contribute to girls' sense of identity and belonging. Dirt Girls Take Climate Action takes a community-based approach to examining the role of trees in the landscape, exploring disparity in tree cover across different neighborhoods, and restoring portions of natural forest canopy lost to wildfires.
All communities deserve the benefits of tree cover. Reduced tree cover is associated with higher rates of poverty, unemployment, and other health indices. On a global scale, deforestation and loss of tree cover contributes to carbon emissions that fuel climate change. Drawing on the success of past horticultural lessons, Dirt Girl Take Climate Action will aim to plant dozens of trees in the communities most affected by the negative effects of climate.