Essay Title

Nature and Me

As concrete jungles expand and urban landscapes flourish, the delicate relationship between nature and humanity is tested. Overdeveloped cities are a phenomenon witnessed across the globe, which has brought unprecedented changes to our natural environments. These cities are among the most significant global issues linked to the sustainable development goals (SDGs), including SDGs 11, 13, 14, and 15—these range from city sustainability to animal welfare and climate change. Although many view urban development as a sign of progress, it is, in reality, causing significant setbacks in our connection to nature and impacting our overall well-being.

 

The rapid and excessive over-development of cities is harmful to the environment. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an estimated 30 football fields of forests are lost every minute, mainly caused by urban development. Meanwhile, air and water quality deteriorates at an unprecedented speed. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 84% of the world’s population lives in urban areas where air quality in those areas exceeds the WHO recommendations. In contrast, WWF reports say urban runoff from roads and industrial areas contributes to water pollution. Indeed, these problems are interrelated as forests are a natural regulatory system that purifies water and air by absorbing pollutants, releasing fresh air, and regulating the water cycle. Poor air and water quality threaten biodiversity, worsening the natural environment. Once the delicate balance of ecosystems is disrupted, a vicious cycle of ecological degradation is set in motion.

 

As alarming as the abovementioned statistics may sound, they seem distant from our well-being, except they are not. Abundant research has identified a close connection between the environment and human well-being. These implications range from the more apparent consequences related to respiratory issues to the less obvious cardiovascular diseases and the often-neglected psychological impacts.

 

Awareness and actions are equally important to mitigate the problems caused by urbanization. First, city stakeholders must know that city development is not all positive. Experts in ecology and urban planning should take a more significant initiative in educating the public and suggesting sustainable approaches to city development to essential stakeholders. Second, the government should reserve funds to combat the adverse effects of urbanization, such as upgrading to more energy-efficient and pollution-proof systems while creating green spaces in densely populated areas. Most important is our thorough consideration of the development capacity that a city should bear.

 

In conclusion, a clear understanding of the pros and cons of urban development is critical. Although growth brings prosperity, it affects ecosystems and citizens in multiple ways—scientific approaches to developing cities while not damaging environments should be considered. Meanwhile, educating stakeholders remains the key to urban sustainability. With awareness, our concrete jungles can become an environmentally friendly homeland.

 

References

National Geographic. (n.d.). Urban Threats. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/urban-threats 

The World Bank. (n.d.). Urban Development. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/urbandevelopment/overview#3 

United Nations. (n.d.). The 17 Goals. https://sdgs.un.org/ 

World Health Organization. (2016). Ambient air pollution: A global assessment of exposure and burden of disease. https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241511353 

World Wildlife Fund. (n.d.). Deforestation and Forest Degradation. https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation 

Photo Reference

Photo by Chris G: https://www.pexels.com/photo/close-up-photo-of-mushrooms-1643403/

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