Are Urban Green Spaces Important?

File 12-04-2016, 18 46 55

Rhogogaster Virdis

Anthropomorphise Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and its natural water springs become its heart, the River Stour its artery; Hoo Brook and drainage ditches its veins, the sluices its means of discarding unwanted  fluids, and trees and other vegetation its skin. See, not so different from ourselves really!
Many of the things that make Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve the vibrant resource that it is, are imported. The amount of water and sunlight it receives vary tremendously; many of the animals that live there are transient; they come to breed, eat, and I suspect for a bit of peace and quiet, and to take advantage of its general bounty when it is available. Of course, the marsh foxes stay year in year out to prey on anything on their food list that wanders through their territory, but even they occasionally holiday away from the marsh. The marsh badgers usually leave for the hills early summer, and return late autumn, and many birds fly away for the winter. The cormorants come to the marsh to get away from the blustery seaside winter conditions.

If we neglect our bodies and minds, then maybe we fall ill, go mad, suffer neurotic episodes, shorten our lifespan, feel depressed, or experience a heart attack. Some people might spend inordinate amounts of their spare time flat-out on the sofa, snacking on overpriced and unhealthy foods to keep their hands and jaws busy whilst living vicariously through their televisions and computers, and then retire to their beds. Fortunately, when our lives go critical, we have access to quite a large range of support services, offered by hard-working and caring professionals.

When the marsh shows signs of distress, a botany expert is despatched to diagnose the cause. Depending on the size and severity of the problem, practical conservation professionals are contracted to implement a solution or, if it is not too serious, volunteers carry out what needs to be done. Either way, Wilden Marsh has support systems in place too.

People connect with their NHS support agencies via a general practitioner and sometimes directly. If a person collapses, has an accident, or there is a civil disaster, emergency services will rush to the rescue. It seems that we don’t have to do much for ourselves these days, beyond getting out of bed, going to work, doing as we are told, and then going back to bed at the end of the evening. Does this seem vaguely familiar to you? It’s very familiar to me because I am stretched out on my recliner drinking tea, nibbling chocolate biscuits, and tapping away on my computer.

So, depending on how you view things, Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and Hoo Wood are overgrown wastelands, or vibrant habitats serving a wide range of fauna and flora, some of which are struggling.

If green spaces and nature reserves are to survive, we should be prepared to do practical things to ensure that this happens. Things like joining a Wildlife Trust and giving money or volunteering labour, or both, is a good idea. Local councils also have nature volunteering opportunities available. Urban green spaces are important! In the 1500s the population of the UK was around 3.75 million, and now it’s somewhere between 64 and 65 million. If we want to keep urban green spaces around our homes, we have to be prepared to do something about it. If we don’t, there are many organisation desperate to acquire them for residential and industrial development.

If an urban green area is seen as not wanted or an eyesore, it is a safe bet that it will be built upon. It is often a matter of use it or lose it!

The choice is ours!

As the Chinese philosopher, Laozi, wrote: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

10 Comments on “Are Urban Green Spaces Important?

  1. Very well said, Mike! You speak from the heart! 🙂
    More of us need to feel the responsibility that we truly have. You can’t feel that responsibility if all you have is profit and “taking” in your mind.
    I, for one, belong (here in the U.S.A.) to the Sierra Club. I am actively involved in it and i contribute to it (with donations) monthly. Lately, even though i am retired, i have contributed hundreds of dollars to the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, because he (Sanders) wants to end fossil fuels and do much more to protect the environment. The Republican Party, on the other hand, says that manmade environmental change is a myth; they won’t even acknowledge that there is an environmental problem! Some are even claiming it is a fabrication created by the Chinese government! Insanity!

    • Thanks Tom! I’m glad we are on a similar wavelength.

      Unfortunately, to survive, weak politicians feel that they must practice slight of hand, or more accurately slight of mind, to manipulate those they are supposed to serve.

      I don’t think that we will ever persuade everyone to live at one with nature. In the future, unless there is a universal calamity to prevent it, I think that we will be forced to inhabit other worlds. It might be then that we will be able to send people to different planets depending on what kind of life they prefer to lead, but will we ever be able to change human nature?

      As much as we think that we have free will, our minds are pretty much hard-wired. Is civilisation all about choosing a middle path? Since the dawn of the humanity, we have split people up according to their skills and abilities, beliefs, outlook, and their threat to others, and we are still doing this today. Is it a case of nothing really changes, apart from our clothes?

  2. Hello Mike,
    myself as a Steward, of special area,s,(Everywhere I hike, I keep clean) take a few Green bags, fill them, and hike back OUT.
    I see, the changes occurring in our environment.The Myth of the Republicans , well, Politics aside, Politicians are mostly corrupt, and will try to tell us stories, that do not sit well with this writer, Conservationists. I agree with all you say (From The Heart) also the last comment by TOM.
    Wetlands, Bogs, are natures natural filters, for our water, as Humans, we MUST build UP, not OUT.

    • Everything positive we can do for the environment is looking after nature and our futures. The future of those that come after us has to be up to them, Doug. I think it’s true, though, that whatever we sow now, other’s can reap later.

      Gibran said: “Are you a politician asking what your country can do for you or a zealous one asking what you can do for your country? If you are the first, then you are a parasite; if the second, then you are an oasis in a desert.”

  3. I hope that you find many more volunteers to help you with your work. The answer to the question at the top of the post is obvious to all except most of the people who have enough money to pay the taxes that would provide well managed spaces.

    • Thanks. I can tell that you are quite an expert with that hammer of yours, Tom, because you have knocked this particular nail fairly and squarely on the head. 😉

      We and every other living thing are products of this world we live in; suck the water from us and there is not much left, but we are capable of achieving great things. Nature has moulded us to progress using the resources it has made available within and around us, but how to use our resources properly has always been a subject of great debate, and this will always be the case.

      We are the dominant species, we have made sure of this, and we should use some of the power and influence we have accumulated on our human journey to put right some of the mistakes we have made along the way.

      Volunteers are special people who care enough to attempt to make a difference, no matter what sphere they are active in, and they work for love and concern to improve the environment we all exist in. However, we are very short of volunteers, but I think we are an increasing species.

      Whether or not our volunteering efforts make any difference in the end is not important in my view; it’s the act of trying to make a positive difference that sets people apart.

      I’m not having a dig at you or your comment here, Tom.

      • I was, when i first wrote a comment for this post of yours, thinking that the end is what it is and that what matters is that at least we are trying. So, yes, you are right! That action is love.
        As T.S.Eliot wrote:
        “For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.”

      • I certainly think that we need to take care of the environment in every way we can and since there is very little money available for the tasks that are needed, volunteers are vital.

  4. An excellent analogy! I hope that there will be adequate support systems for people and urban green spaces, as well as good education about looking after both. I consider urban green spaces to be terribly important little oases.

  5. Thanks Ratty! Something has been rattling my cage over the last week. I think I’m suffering from a bout of spring euphoria. It’s the shock seeing all these new green leaves and spring flowers sprouting all over the place.

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