Did you know that London is made up of approximately 47% green spaces? This includes wild woods, formal parks, open spaces, heaths, rivers, lakes, ponds, and community gardens. There are roughly 750 square kilometres of green spaces within Greater London; the entire city encompasses 1,572 square kilometres.
Did you also know that London is home to 13,000 species of plants and animals? Of that number, 1,500 are flowering plants. There are also 125 species of fish that flourish in the River Thames. There are 300 species of birds as well, as well as deer, foxes, and insects.
That’s a lot of wildlife and a lot of green space. It ought to be protected and allowed to flourish. It’s incredible to think that in a city of nine million people, so much green space can be found. The city of London ought to do as much as possible to conserve the spaces available.
But London has also got a problem: the Assembly’s environment committee released a report in June 2017 that doesn’t bode well for the city. In it, the report states that roughly half of all London residents live more than 400 metres from a green space. This flies in the face of the London Plan, which states that all residents ought to be within 300 metres of a park or garden.
Why are green spaces so important? It’s a reasonable question, one that does have an answer.
Green spaces are known to contribute to the health and happiness of the people who live surrounded by it. For health, the introduction of green spaces help circulates oxygen, making the air easier to breathe. It also combats pollution.
Green spaces are also necessary because it gives people a place to exercise or just relax, which is good for everyone’s wellbeing. In fact, there have been several studies that prove that taking just a 20-minute walk outside every day can help improve short-term memory, relieve stress, improve concentration, and more. It can also help with creative thinking and may even contribute to reducing the chance of cancer in humans.
There are studies that have shown that people who live in cities such as London are prone to depression. One of the factors to this is thought to be the reduction of green spaces in metropolitan areas. This leaves people surrounded by concrete and manmade structures.
Nature is crucial to human happiness. It alone can improve mental well-being and lower stress. A short walk, a picnic, or a hike alone can be beneficial to everyone. The more green spaces a city has, the more chances a resident of that city has to take part in it.
Another benefit to saving green spaces is the community aspect. London has over four million gardens, many of which are tended to by residents who live in that borough. By having community gardens that can produce flowers, herbs, vegetables, and fruits, residents can come together and socialise.
With London housing so much wildlife and green spaces, it’s imperative that these spaces are protected. With passion and hard work, the city can retain these spaces, which will allow future generations to enjoy the greenery that residents love.