A referendum to plant over 400,000 new trees in the city, Berlin’s plan to combat extreme heat waves

An initiative to make the capital greener and protect its inhabitants from heat waves and extreme weather events was presented in Berlin.

Berlin, the capital city of Germany, is on the brink of becoming even greener over the next 11 years. A referendum process has been initiated in the state to plant thousands of new trees, helping the city and its residents to combat heatwaves.

Volksentscheid baum: a greener berlin by 2035

The initiative, titled Volksentscheid Baum or BaumEntscheid, plans to propose a law during the federal elections in September 2025. The law aims to introduce more trees, shrubs, meadows, and green areas in the city by 2035.

This idea is spearheaded by the search engine Ecosia, in collaboration with lawyers, economists, environmental associations, and over 80 German climate activists. The groundwork for the first draft of the legislation was laid on March 4th.

Suggestions and plans can be submitted via the BaumEntscheid website until March 22, 2024, followed by a signature collection phase. At least 20,000 valid signatures are required to proceed with the application.

For the promoters of BaumEntscheid, there is no time to lose. Planting trees in Germany’s most populous city is seen as a way to address hotter summers and extreme weather events through greening.

Trees not only help in reducing urban temperatures but also provide shade and protection, offset emissions, and purify the air. This is why all major cities should follow suit, investing in greenery rather than concrete.

The urgent need for green spaces

“The conservation and further development of green and open spaces under the conditions of climate change and the dramatic loss of biodiversity is a fundamental task for us,” say the project’s supporters.

Currently, it is estimated that there are just over 430,000 trees in the capital, with about 6,000 trees being cut down annually. If the initiative is successful, by 2035, the number of trees in Berlin could almost double, reaching up to 800,000.

“This is certainly an ambitious goal. But the goals of referendums must be ambitious,” stated Green politician Benedikt Lux in an interview with the Berliner Zeitung.

Source: BaumEntscheid

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