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Our City, An Eco-friendly Home to All?

Feb 2020
Author: Green Power

To most small animals, the urban environment is a dangerous desolate desert. Imagine an unfortunate butterfly straying into the concrete jungle; it is not likely to find a leaf for catching its breath nor nectar to eat, not to mention the bustling traffic that could shatter it at any second.

In the past decade, various greening works have been introduced by the government and large private housing estates. Expansion of greened areas is definitely a quick remedy for the survival of our little friends. Indeed, an authentic eco-friendly city could take a step forward than us.

More than mere green plants, for a peaceful habitat animals require a diverse natural environment. Taking solitary wasps like mud wasps as an example, these members of the Apoidea family look for nectar on their own, unlike gregarious bees that feed together. When brooding, the two lone wasps build their own honeycombs and hunt caterpillars for their larvae. At first glance, these busy creatures in urban parks should benefit from greening works. In fact, there is no increase in the number of their communities. The more intensive the management of greening works, the less plant litter is left, which, as most of us might not be aware, is their major material for nesting.

“Eco-friendliness”, in the fewest words, refers to how humans change their behaviour for wild animals. Plant litter left on public flowerbeds is an accessible nesting resource for solitary wasps, plus harmless to public hygiene. Slightly inclining the light angles of street lamps towards roads could minimise light disturbance to animals on the roadside. Applying anti-glare filters on street lamps could reduce threats to nocturnal animals, such as moths and fireflies. These are examples of cost-effective measures which pose no danger to humans for an eco-friendly environment. As research proves, the higher biodiversity in barren lands overgrown with a variety of "weeds" exceeds human-managed flowerbeds; so shouldn’t we consider rescheduling the scale of weeding and cutting in order to match the growing season, or simply let nature do the work in our stead?

Back to basics, achieving urban eco-friendliness takes no painstaking efforts. In households, growing native plants on windowsill, balconies or rooftops is easy. More importantly, neither killing nor expelling the insects, we could learn to be generous to harmless animals that take our home just for a temporary stay. The government could help, too, by greatly reducing the over zealous spraying for mosquitoes, which kills a great variety of wildlife.

A reinforced eco-diversity balances the established urban ecosystem, for instance, boosting control of pests by dragonflies, bats, swallows and more rather than pesticides. Also, turning "urban desert" into an eco-oasis provides shelter and food for migratory animals. There is no easier way out to halt the degradation of global eco-diversity than long-term planning of an eco-friendly city, besides, as the main consumers of the planet, isn’t this our moral obligation to the environment, anyway?

Image
A “bio-hostel” in an urban area is a temporary home set up with recycled wood and bamboo sticks for insects, reptiles and amphibians.

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