In 2016, Medellín, Colombia, started a “green corridor” program that involved planting millions of plants and trees, helping to beat the heat and bring animals back.
“The reduction in temperature, in some zones by more than 3 degreece Celsius (5.4F), was more bigger than we were expecting. We also saw the return of animals that had not been seen here for many years,” says Sérgio Orozco, Medellin’s environmental secretary.
Increasing urbanization in the city was leading to more air pollution and rising heat. An initial $16.3 million was invested into the green corridor project to plant over 2.5 million small plants and 880,000 trees by 2021. Alongside the new green corridors, 124 parks have been created as part of the project. A 2019 study estimated that just two of these parks alone could remove 40 tons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere. The project is gaining traction around the world thanks to its striking results in cooling the city. Not only has it reduced overall heat and improved air quality, but it has also brought back wildlife into the city. Medellín’s green corridor project is now being expanded to the Colombian cities of Bogotá and Barranquilla.