Modern cities are full of biodiversity, you just need to know where to look .Urban ecology is a relatively new field of study that examines how isolated urban green infrastructure relates to one another to form an ecological understanding of our cities. This infrastructure includes green roofs, parks, water catchments, and private spaces like yards and balconies.
Cities can help cool their local area by encouraging green infrastructure, and given the heat wave the west coast is currently experience we need to invest in as much green infrastructure as possible.
The addition and maintenance of green infrastructure is now central to urban planning in most cities. This includes planting trees and bushes, naturalizing parks, restoring wetlands and promoting other forms of green infrastructure such as green roofs. Some cities, including Edmonton, have launched goat programs to control noxious weeds.
A complicating factor is that much of the urban greenspace is found in privately owned gardens. Depending on the city, gardens can make up between 16 and 40 per cent of the total urban land cover, and between35 and 86 per cent of the total greenspace. Governments have little influence over these areas, leaving it up to individual people to make the right decisions.
Short-term thinkers who put quarterly profits above all else consistently argue that caring for the environment destroys business. They are wrong. The evidence keeps growing that planet (and people) friendly policies encourage economic growth while also forcing companies to increase their efficiency. It’s a win-win for businesses and the planet.
An Italian team of economists have concluded that by taxing companies, and individual behaviours, that damage the environment create great success for the planet and profits.
Green taxes, or taxes levied on businesses and individuals in order to promote environmentally friendly practices, had the largest impact on multifactor productivity, though De Santis and her colleagues wrote that green taxes need to be paired with complementary redistributive policies, such subsidies and grants for companies transitioning to environmentally friendly practices, in order to avoid damaging productivity.
“What is clear is that you have to face this increasing environmental policy stringency, and as a firm, probably the best is if you try to create this win-win solution so it’s passed through an improvement in technology,” De Santis said.
Reagan-era economic thinking focuses on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the bellwether for how well society is doing. It’s a narrow view of the world which ignores everything except the movement of capital, yet many economists and politicians are stuck in this outdated way of thinking. In this context, and with the influential power economists have, it’s noteworthy that Cambridge economist is openly advocating to not use GDP and focus instead on making a sustainable society. We need to plan ahead for the future and build a better tomorrow instead of punishing future generations with an unsustainable economic system for short term wealth now.
“A focus on GDP without proper regard for environmental degradation or inequality has been a disaster for global ecosystems and undermined social cohesion,” said Prof Diane Coyle, who leads “Beyond GDP’ research at Cambridge’s Bennett Institute for Public Policy and is a key speaker at Tuesday’s public event.
“Statistics are the lens through which we see the world, but they have made nature invisible to policymakers. Twenty-first century progress cannot be measured using 20th-century statistics,” she said.
Can you tell the difference between a big leaf maple and a Japanese maple tree? If not, then you may suffer from plant blindness. Hopefully you can tell them apart when looking at them though. The concept of plant blindness is not so much being able to name every species as it is to appreciate the variety of species that exist. It’s also very easy to cure – just go look at plants.
One key to reducing plant blindness is increasing the frequency and variety of ways we see plants. This should start early – as Schussler, who is a professor of biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, puts it, “before students start saying they are bored with plants”. One citizen science project aiming to help with this is TreeVersity, which asks ordinary people to help classify images of plants from Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum.
Everyday interactions with plants is the best strategy, says Schussler. She lists talking about conservation of plants in local parks and gardening.
Canada Post is changing and the workers at the company want to see it grow to be more than just package delivery. They’ve looked at other postal services around the world for inspiration and see a very green, community-focussed future. A simple improvement is postal banking which is popular around the world yet doesn’t exist in Canada. The neatest ideas for the future of Canada Post is to turn their retail locations into green energy hubs and on-demand support for an ageing population.
Among the ideas proposed by the Delivering Community Power campaign: -Electric vehicle charging stations at post offices; -Converting the postal fleet to made-in-Canada electric vehicles; -Assistance to vulnerable people via check-ins on seniors and those with limited mobility; -Public financial services as a means of financial inclusion and green investment; and -Delivery of groceries and medicines.
Many of these ideas were presented by CUPW during their negotiations with Canada Post and will be presented during arbitration hearings.