GREEN ENVIRONMENT: THE BEDROCK OF A SUSTAINABLE CITY

TPL ABDULKARIM-YUSUF SOLEDOTUN

T.BSc, MTPM, MURP, MNITP, RTP, CMILT, FIPMA, MACMAN

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Sustainable development is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (Our Common Future, 1987) The 1972 UN conference in Stockholm highlighted the concerns for preserving and enhancing the environment and its biodiversity to ensure human rights to a healthy and productive world. Sustainable development calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet.

Sustainable cities, urban sustainability, or eco-city (also ecocity) is a city designed with consideration for social, economic, environmental impact (commonly referred to as the triple bottom line), and resilient habitat for existing populations, without compromising the ability of future generations to experience the same. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 defines sustainable cities as those that are dedicated to achieving Green Sustainability, social sustainability and economic sustainability. They are committed to doing so by enabling opportunities for all through a design focused on inclusivity as well as maintaining a sustainable economic growth.

The focus also includes minimizing required inputs of energy, water, and food, and drastically reducing waste, output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane, and water pollution. Richard Register first coined the term ecocity in his 1987 book Ecocity Berkeley: Building Cities for a Healthy Future, where he offers innovative city planning solutions that would work anywhere.

For sustainable development to be achieved, it is crucial to harmonies three core elements: economic growth, social inclusion and environmental protection. These elements are interconnected and are all crucial for the well–being of individuals and societies.

The “green living” which is a major factor of sustainable development means embracing a way of life that helps preserve the environment by reducing, reusing, and recycling items. Going green concept is learning and practicing an environmentally-mindful lifestyle that contributes towards protecting the environment and preservation and conservation of the natural resources, habitats, and biodiversity.

The aim of green environment is to:

  • Reduce pollution.
  • Reduce resources consumption and eliminate wastes.
  • Conserve natural resources and forests.
  • Maintain the natural ecological balance on earth so that all living things can survive and thrive in their natural habitat.

RELEVANCE OF GREEN LIVING TO A SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

Contrary to many opinions that states that going green or other factors of sustainable development is majorly in favour of the environment, it is very important to note that it is equally beneficial to the inhabitants of the environment (Humans). Anything that affects the environment affects all humans and other living organisms, hence the need to make sure that the interest of the environment is taken into consideration in whatever developmental process is to occur. The three major areas of benefit of the green environment/ green living are;

Economic Benefits

A significant economic benefit of going green is that it helps lower costs and save money. Use of renewable energy helps reduce energy consumption which in turn is an advantage in conserving monetary resources used on electricity bills. An apparent benefit of going green at home is that it helps reduce water and power bills significantly. It is possible when we reduce water consumption for example if we run the washing machines full loads or add water-saving appliances in shower and washrooms.

Recycling is another way aspect of green environment and green living. Recyclable products last longer than other products which can save on money used for repair and maintenance. When we recycle products as well as create Do-it-Yourself (DIY) items, we not only reduce wastage, but we also become more creative which helps create new products consistently and thus reduce the cost of buying new products.

These processes are beneficial to households as units and to the nations and regions as a whole, resources are well utilized and cost of production will be reduced drastically.

Health Benefits

The second aspect in which sustainable development through green environment affect positively is the health benefits on humans and other living organisms. Going green reduces air pollutants which in turn affects the atmospheric and living condition of humans and other living organisms.

According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution causes around 2 million premature deaths every year globally. It’s therefore essential to strive for green living because it affects the living condition of as well as productivity and efficiency of humans.

One way to go green is through the purchase of eco-friendly household and cosmetic products. It reduces chemicals and toxins in the atmospheric condition, which in turn reduces air pollution and environmental toxins that could affect the body’s immune system that fights infections, and that could cause exposure to diseases and fatal illnesses.

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Environmental benefits

This is an important aspect in which sustainable/green living emphasizes on due to its direct effect on humans. When the environment is in a good condition then the inhabitants enjoy the benefits and vice versa. Going green through organic farming means responsible farming practices and land use. Organic farming reduces greenhouse gases emission and thus lowers air pollution.

Going green can help save the rainforests and thus preserve the animal habitat and ecosystem. The destruction of the ecosystem that offers nature goods and services for all living things means there may be loses on the many natures powerful products including those that could offer humankind health benefits. Green environment is a major agent in the purification of the atmosphere.

The importance of sustainable development through green living cannot be over emphasized as its effect goes beyond just the existing generation but also includes the coming generations. It I therefore of great necessity that we consume all resources in the most efficient way possible while putting the environment, our health and the coming generation into consideration. The symbiotic relationship between man and its environment increases the efficiency and effectiveness of man and the environment itself, therefore, for a city and its development to be sustainable, it is of high necessity to embrace the green living.

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