In April 2020, Amazon committed $10 million to conserve, restore, and support sustainable forestry, wildlife and nature-based solutions across the Appalachian Mountains—funding two innovative projects in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy. Now the company is announcing the first Right Now Climate Fund project outside of the U.S. Amazon will commit €3.75 million ($4.07 million) towards The Nature Conservancy’s Urban Greening program in Germany, which uses nature-based solutions to help cities become more climate-change resilient. The program will collaborate with city officials and local community organizations to create and implement plans for:
- Reducing flood risk by improving rainwater retention through tree planting, revitalizing urban wetlands, and adapting existing green spaces
- Reducing extreme heat and pollution by leveraging unused public spaces to plant trees and improving urban water bodies
- Increasing urban biodiversity by introducing pollinator-friendly species, climate resilient plants, and urban grasslands
Urban greening model to be shared across European cities
The program starts in the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district of Berlin and uses a science-based, municipality-wide, and stakeholder-based approach to urban greening to ensure that projects are complementing existing local efforts. Two additional German cities will be chosen, in which the initial learnings from Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf will be applied. By the end of the five-year project, The Nature Conservancy also aims to create and share a guide to urban greening that other German and European municipalities can use.
"In addition to all our efforts in the fight against COVID-19, we must also maintain our efforts to protect the planet. The Nature Conservancy and its municipal partners will apply a science-based approach to developing a model that can be applied more broadly across German and European cities," said Ralf Kleber, vice president and country manager for Amazon Germany. "As the program progresses, we will measure the impacts to ensure that the actions result in tangible benefits to urban residents, such as more hectares of greened space, greater counts of wild bees and other pollinators, more cubic liters of storm water safely managed, and lower average surface temperatures."
Cities are in the front line in fight against climate change
In recent years, Berlin has repeatedly experienced extreme weather and people have been affected by intense heat waves and floods. The natural climate solutions in this urban greening program will help to reduce these impacts while at the same time increase biodiversity and citizen well-being.
"Our research shows that nature can offer cost-effective options for resilience in this changing environment," said Dr. Kerstin Pfliegner, Germany director of The Nature Conservancy. "We believe that cities play an important role to lead on climate action at the local level in the coming decades."