With a growing population of 173.6 million (2013), there is an obvious need to push for the preservation of more green spaces in Nigeria, especially in our industrialised areas. The world’s most livable cities – New York and London to name a few – have made this a primary component of their urban planning agenda, to the benefit of present and future generations. Here is a breakdown of why our cities should jump on board and not get left behind:
- To boost the public’s emotional well-being: Several scientific studies back up the theory of human connection to nature, including E.O. Wilson’s 1984 publication, Biophilia. In a nutshell, it points to individuals natural inclination to green spaces and pet ownership as well as the happiness that results. Our cities need to benefit from this, lowering the impact of stressors like traffic jams and noise pollution experienced on a daily basis.
- To support public health and fitness advocacy: There is a prevalent adult obesity issue in Nigeria – a rate of 8.1%–22.2% according to a 2013 report. With this comes a wide range of illnesses including hypertension, diabetes and even cancer, all of which are challenging to cope with. While initiatives like the annual Access Bank Lagos City Marathon have helped to reverse this trend significantly, a lot more can be done with the availability of secure and free workout spaces for jogging, cycling and other activities.
- To cool environments naturally: Not only do trees provide natural shade, they reverse what is popularly known as the urban heating effect. This scientific phenomenon occurs when buildings absorb heat from the sun and reflect it into the atmosphere to the detriment of individuals living or working in surrounding spaces. Heat exhaustion, heat stroke and muscle spasms are a few examples of illnesses experienced as a result; hence, there is a need for the natural air conditioning parks to be provided.
- To maintain natural ecosystems: It is important to remember that we aren’t alone on this planet. A wide range of biodiversity exists in our natural ecosystem and the preservation of certain wetlands and forests goes a long way in ensuring their continued survival. Let future generations be able to interact with certain wildlife in their environment. Together, relevant stakeholders can slow down the process of extinction and protect Nature’s beautiful gifts through this much-needed initiative of green space preservation.
What are your thoughts on the increased provision of green spaces in Nigeria? Is it a cause worth pushing for despite the probable costs? Do share your thoughts b in the comments section below.