Story eleven –

The space given to nature by the current global crisis has inadvertently paved the way towards easing that other – eventually, much more pressing – global crisis: with minimal human intervention on a global scale, we are seeing biodiversity returning to our cities, allowing us to glimpse at a future carbon-neutral city.

However, as lockdown eases, and we begin to go back to work, I can’t help but notice the roads filling up with cars, the rise in noise, and the news – formal and informal – paying less attention to the drop in Co2 emissions and how nature has started to bounce back.

The fear, of course, is that in getting (economically) back on our feet, we’ll all go back to a short term fossil fuel-led growth model. It doesn’t have to be this way – as anyone who has read The Wilding by Isabella Tree knows. It chronicles her failing farm’s journey from standard model to a land that is now heaving with life. Rare species have returned, biodiversity has rocketed, and the project is now an outright success.

As Tree’s experience shows, we have a basic human need to be connected to nature. Equally, as that same experience shows, when pioneers set out to demonstrate how to make it happen, there is pushback. And yet, this is exactly what we need of – and for – our cities, and why the present crisis presents as the most extraordinary opportunity to get behind projects like Melbourne’s ‘Green the city’ and ‘wild city.’

We failed during the last (financial) crisis to take the bull by the horns. We now have a second chance. Are we prepared to take it, and make the necessary dramatic changes to how we develop our cities – for the much better? I hope so.

For more inspiration and musings, see these links:

Light Pollution Insect Apocalypse, The Guardian
Urban Forrests: Melbourne’s Plan to go Green


Words by Charlotte Boyens
Image by Hassell



About AfterCOVID

The historian Peter Hennessy recently observed that future historians will divide post-divide society into BC and AC – Before COVID and After COVID. It is in exactly this spirit that AfterCOVID seeks to celebrate how the world’s largest shared experience has given us the most extraordinary stories of what it means to live beautifully. Together, they are the clues to creating the future we all hope for.

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