We live in a time of intense global unrest and change. Society is living well beyond the carrying capacity of the planet, over 60% of ecosystems and their biodiversity are degrading, and extinction rates are as much as 1000 times their pre-human levels. We are also living in an increasingly urbanised and developed world. As of 2007, more than half of the world’s citizens live within cities. Cities affect biodiversity significantly, not just at the local level, but also through the extensive resources imported into cities. For example, even though cities cover just 2% of the world's landmass, they consume over 70% of the resources.
As populations become more urbanised there is generally less access to wild nature. Opportunities to interact with nature may all too often be limited to gardens, window boxes, balconies or urban parks. But, people need to have regular interaction with nature.
Recent research shows that children’s exposure to nature is essential for physical and emotional development. And, in order to care about the environment and how sustainably resources are produced, people need to experience nature regularly in order to develop an affinity with it. It is this, in turn that leads to environmental awareness and care of the Earth. As people have less access to nature in urban settings, there are two options available: either take people to nature or bring nature into the cities. For us, the only sensible option is to bring wild, native nature, to the cities.
Bringing and integrating nature within cities creates more sustainable and liveable urban environments, and can help create the sustainable behaviours needed to reverse the negative impacts seen on ecosystems outside of cities. We must begin by creating complex city spaces with green infrastructure that embraces nature and wildness. Cities should have designated areas within them that have space for biodiversity, food production, natural play and community events.