In recent decades, we have built a new framework of understanding regarding the ecological sphere represented by our cities. Now urban ecology programs are helping us to make that sphere healthier and more sustainable.
The new millennium has seen a major shift in thinking about our cities.
Formerly, our view of the urban environment was of a place apart from the wilderness – little islands scattered in a sea of Mother Nature. Today, though, we understand the impossibility of separating cities from the natural world. We’re all one, really.
If only Biggie and Tupac could have shared that attitude, I mean, you know?
Hip-hop gang wars aside, this represents a new and more useful way of envisioning the metropolitan environments in which we live. This new vision gives us the ability and the duty to institute urban ecology programs that will keep it as healthy as possible.
What Is Ecology IN, OF and FOR the City?
With this shift in mindset comes a related shift in how we should treat our city environments, with an eye toward making them as healthy as possible. Today, top thinkers have begun to see differences in ecology in, of and for our cities:
- Ecology in cities is a kind of separatist movement that sees any natural space within city borders as something apart from it
- Ecology of cities is a worldview that unites the entire city infrastructure with the natural world taking up space within it
- Ecology for cities is a movement that “encourages ecologists to engage with other specialists and urban dwellers to shape a more sustainable urban future”
With the latter two attitudes, much more than the former, we have the ability to conceptualize a whole new approach to urban ecology.
What Are Urban Ecology Programs?
The word “program” carries with it a weight and gravitas that makes many of us nervous.
So, you might be wondering, does that mean I have to, like, build a park or something?
While that would constitute a wonderful addition to your home city, urban ecology programs run the gamut from massive projects to tiny pollinator gardens in your side yard. Other urban ecology programs are geared toward:
- Popularizing Lights Out campaigns to help nocturnal migratory birds, insects and other nighttime dwellers
- Cultivating native mammal habitats
- Intituting initiatives to protect waterways and marine environments
- Fostering a healthy range of native trees and plants
Truly, the range of options is almost limitless. The only requirement: bettering the city and her inhabitants of all kinds, one small action at a time.
How Can You Help Create a Healthy, Holistic Urban Ecology?
With this new understanding as humans of agents for the ecology of a city, we should all envision ourselves as potential contributors to a healthier urban ecology.
It is no longer simply enough to live here; we need to ensure that our presence makes a positive contribution to the plants and wildlife that reside alongside us.
You can do that through the judicious application of urban ecology programs. Naturally you can’t institute every single program listed above in the next two weeks, but you can choose one or two approaches to put in place today.
Not sure where to start? Start with Ecogardens. We’re proud to help individuals and companies just like you make a difference, so let’s get started today.