MAKE IT GROW – can green cities combat climate change?

Introducing MAKE IT GROW, a project about the importance of trees and green spaces  in cities, to become more aware of nature and choosing sustainable lifestyles to protect our planet.

Life in cities, often, is a created illusion that human beings can live independently from nature. The effects of seasons are overcome by air conditioning or heating, the effects and consequences of consumer choices are far removed. Supermarkets give the impression that everything is available at all times. Cities seem to outsource the impact of the lifestyles lived and make city and nature two parallel worlds. Despite access to acquiring knowledge, there is a fundamental lack of experiencing it.

Could first hand experiences be much more effective in shaping customs and habits than any available knowledge in books or online? If we felt the effects of climate change much stronger and immediately, would we realise that we are not independent from nature? Would our decisions, then, change for the better?

The City of Mendoza is situated right at the foot of the Andes, about 700 miles west from the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. It has gained international recognition for its excellent wines and attracts many tourists each year during the wine festival „La Vendimia“ – ranked as of one the most popular harvest festivals worldwide. The City of Mendoza is known for its breathtaking landscapes, the majestic mountain range, and the water canals running like rivers through the city, a relict of colonial and pre-colonial times. Not least, it is known for its wealth of trees, whose branches seem to embrace each street in a gesture as warm as the rays of the Argentinian sun. Nature is ever present in this city counting almost 2 million inhabitants. Green spaces in cities close the gap between nature and urban environments – citizens no longer live disconnected, but rather, alongside of nature.

Could this be a means to foster environmental awareness and more sustainable decision-making on part of individuals?  Could the City of Mendoza, with its particular layout and the value it places on nature, deeply entrenched in everyday life, possibly serve as a model for other cities worldwide? And, in which way could creating greener cities be central for combating climate change?

MAKE IT GROW is a series of articles exploring why cities matter in fighting climate change, explaining how green cities could possibly foster environmental awareness, and envisioning how that could lead to more sustainable choice-making.



Photo by Jonathan Stout on Unsplash

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