It’s a pretty well-known fact that the U.S. Census Bureau’s World POPClock is currentlyhovering just above 7 billion. After all, the media made a big fuss over it when the world hit this epic milestone at the end of October just last year, and for good reason too. 7 billion individuals means 14 billion carbon footprints. And ever since, reporters and environmentalists alike have raised questions as to the stability of our planet: how much is too much, and what does our increase in numbers mean for our environment?
|Urbanization Prospects, 1950-2050 (million)
While these were and still are legitimate concerns, in order to find the solutions that will make the greatest positive impact, we must focus on where our populations are having the greatest negative impact. Recent reports from the United Nations released in April 2012 estimated that in 2011, urban areas comprised approximately 3.6 billion people. This means that out of the entire landscape of the Earth, half of the world’s population can be found in our urban cities. And as the world’s population steadily continues to increase, it is expected that urban areas will be the ones to absorb the majority of this population growth, so that by 2050, nearly 70% of the world’s population will reside in urban communities. This gives us, as citizens of the city, an enormous amount of environmental responsibility.
So the solution then is obvious. We must commit ourselves to greening our world’s cities and maintaining sustainable urban developments. Many cities, including Chicago have programs that are doing just that.Since the inception of our Expressway Partnership Programin 1998, Chicago Gateway Green has planted 77,000 shrubs, 71,000 perennials, and 3,500 trees. This does more than just enhance the appearance of our city and expressways. Plants filter dust and soak up heat, trapping carbon dioxide. They provide habitats for native pollinators, like bees, to maintain ecosystems. They even improve our own habitats and livelihoods by beautifying the surrounding area and increasing property value to nearby residencies.
There are so many ways that you can make this city a better place to live. Don’t follow in the steps of your carbon footprint. Transform your community by either volunteering with or donating to one of our partnership programs. Together we can make a difference!