Cities with well-designed, planned and managed green infrastructures are more resilient, sustainable and equitable.. The climate emergency is evidence, and its consequences are becoming more and more evident: heat waves, drought, fires and floods are some of them.
“If we can’t fix it, We are on track to exceed a temperature rise of 3° above pre-industrial levels“, warns SEO/BirdLife. This is a violation of the Paris Agreement to keep the temperature below 2° and try to limit it to 1.5° to avoid the worst effects.
“Cities have a major responsibility for global health, as evidenced by the climate emergency, loss of biodiversity and the COVID-19 pandemic.: consumes most of the planet’s resources; be it energy, materials or food,” the NGO emphasizes.
They also responsible for two-thirds of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. “Given that we expect two-thirds of the world’s population to live in urban areas by 2050, according to UN projections, we clearly need to rethink our city model,” says SEO/BirdLife.
Cities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis, due to their characteristics and especially the absence of natural barriers to soften them, and are also where the majority of the population lives (in Spain, 80% live in Spain). municipalities with a population of more than 5,000), i.e. Taking mitigation and adaptation actions is a priority in them. Compulsory ‘naturalize’ urban environments.
Nature-based solutions (NBS) are approaches, actions or processes that use natural principles to solve different problems. environmental problemssuch as climate change adaptation, resource management, water management, food security or air quality and the environment. They are more efficient, economical tools with added value in terms of cost savings and local job creation.
Urban gardens, great allies
Urban trees can help cool the air between 2 and 8 degreesthus reducing the effect ofheat island” urban. Also, vegetation temperatures buffersIt helps to reduce energy consumption for cooling (up to 3%) or heating (between 20% and 50%) buildings.
Large trees are excellent filters for urban pollutants and fine particles.. They absorb polluting gases (such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, ozone and sulfur oxides) and trap and filter airborne fine particles such as dust, dirt or smoke on leaves and bark.
According to a study by the Madrid City Council, the capital’s trees capture 637 tons of pollutants a year, and urban green spaces in Barcelona absorb more than 300 tons of pollutants per year.
Mature trees regulate water flow and play an important role in flood prevention. and reducing the risk of natural disasters. For example, a mature tree can hold more than 15,000 liters of water per year.
On the other hand, many studies show that Living near and having access to urban green spaces can improve physical and mental health.
“These benefits became particularly apparent during quarantines resulting from the pandemic, when people became aware of the need for contact with the outside world, and especially green spaces,” SEO/BirdLife explains.
Inside school relatedMany studies have shown that having more nature in the garden improves academic performance: It is 5% higher in working memory and 6% higher in working memory, and the amount of nature around education centers positively affects the self-esteem of girls and boys.
In addition, more residential green spaces are associated with better attention and memory capacity and reduced hyperactive behavior in boys and girls aged 4 to 6 years.
Birds, indicators of environmental health
German scientists measured the importance of species diversity for prosperity in Europe and linked socio-economic data of more than 26,000 European citizens from 26 countries with data on species and nature diversity.
Result of the study ‘The importance of species diversity for human well-being in Europe’ carried out in 2021 by The German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research shows that: The wealth of bird species is positively associated with life satisfaction in Europeans.
Birds are an excellent indicator of the protection of ecosystems and the health of the environment.. In fact, the European Union considers the status of wild bird populations to be an index of the quality of life in Europe, as the European statistical office Eurostat includes the monitoring of bird populations among the most important indices to measure sustainability and social welfare.
The climate emergency and the loss of biodiversity are two of the main challenges facing humanity today.and on which the future of humanity and the planet depends.
According to the joint report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) published in 2019 and developed by the world’s top 50 experts Biodiversity and climate change are two interrelated crises that need to be addressed together. to maximize benefits and minimize trade-offs.
The report ‘The importance of species diversity for human well-being in Europe’ (in English): https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800920322084