What’s Going On Here?
Believe it or not, the UK’s capital city, although a bit smoggy and polluted, has officially been crowned as the world’s first National Park City!
What Does This Mean?
London has become the first city to sign up to the International Charter for National Park Cities (NPC), an initiative set up by the National Park City Foundation (NPCF – so many acronyms right?!). It’s not quite the same as National Park status, but follows the same ethos – recognising the value of the local habitat, people, culture and landscape.
London launched a campaign in a bid for National Park status and it is hoped it will encourage more cities to campaign for the status and value the importance of nature within the urban environment. Specifically, the three aims of London’s status are:
- Enjoy London’s great outdoors more
- Make the city greener, healthier and wilder
- Promote London’s identity as a National Park City
Why Should We Care?
Because it shows how nature and wildlife need not be confined to the country and how important it is for creating a happy and healthy society! With more and more of us choosing to live in the city, London’s new status highlights how the urban environment need not be a concrete jungle.
London may be seen to be polluted, noisy and smelly, but it actually has a large network of 3,000 green spaces covering 18% of the city. The city is actually one of the greenest cities in the world, home to 8m trees and 15,000 species of wildlife!
London’s new status will help to encourage London to protect and create more wildlife and green spaces within the capital. It will also help to address problems such as air pollution, increase resilience to heatwaves and improve biodiversity – a positive for the planet as well as the local urban area!
- Celebrate London’s new status by attending one of the celebration festival events this week (20-28th July). There are events being hosted in Epping Forest, rooftop gardens, swimmings pools/ponds, as well as mini-opening ceremonies all around the city!
- Discover nature in your urban area – Newcastle and Glasgow look set to achieve National Park City Status in the near future and many other towns and cities have hidden pockets of nature and wildlife – seek them out (treating them with care and respect of course!)…it’s as good for you as it is for the planet! Check out this nice little compilation about urban habitats by RSPB – some top tips for discovering nature within your local urban jungle!
- Encourage nature within your local area – grow plants and flowers on your balcony or in your garden, don’t use pesticides and put out birdfeed…and keep control of your cat! Little changes will help local wildlife to flourish….