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Newly planted trees aim to help combat effects of climate change

2023 Earth Day: Group plants new trees in Camden in effort to combat climate change effects
2023 Earth Day: Group plants new trees in Camden in effort to combat climate change effects 02:06

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) --  As the Philadelphia region faces unseasonably hot weather Thursday and Friday, climate experts say this is a direct result of climate change. 

Hotter temperatures mean more stress to people's bodies, and scientists say that stress is felt the most in under-served communities. 

It's why dozens of people gathered along Dudley Road and Westfield Avenue in Camden Thursday morning to plant new trees in the neighborhood.

PowerCorps Camden, a group of young people who help tackle pressing environmental challenges in the area, was among several organizations that participated in the planting.

The group's program director, Darron Thompson, said it was important for his organization to be a part of the planting.

"To plant trees, wherever, assists Camden with flooding issues," Thompson said. "It brings more oxygen into the air, and it beautifies the area as well."

Earth Day celebration: 1,400 trees distributed in Philadelphia 00:27

Anthonique Murray, a member of PowerCorps Camden, helped dig a hole for one of the trees.

"I really love planting trees and flowers. That's the best time," Murray said. "I love to smell the flowers, and it's different types of flowers. Some of them don't have all the smells, but they're really cool, and I like to get my hands dirty!" 

University of Pennsylvania professor and climate expert Dr. Michael Mann said the new trees can absorb carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change and the new trees can help keep people cool.

"Especially when it comes to under-served communities, it's really critical that we provide ways of adapting to some of this increased heat that we're already seeing with climate change," Dr. Mann said. 

According to federal data, Camden has a total tree canopy of less than 3%, compared to more affluent areas like Cherry Hill, which has a 26% total tree canopy

ALSO SEE: Philadelphia area ranked 28th most polluted for ozone: state air quality report

"We should have programs, in fact, that help incentivize this," Dr. Mann said. "Especially in urban environments where people are already dealing with extreme heat stress from the effects of climate change." 

Murray's glad she's doing her part to help blunt the effects of climate change. 

"For me, I feel happy because it's not a lot of trees around the city," Murray said.

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