National parks are landmarks in countries throughout the world, and there’s even a curated list of the most beautiful national parks on the planet. But what does it mean to be a national park city?
London has been bestowed the honor of becoming the world’s first national park city by Mayor Sadiq Khan in collaboration with the World Urban Parks and Salzburg Global Seminar to create the first International Charter for National Park Cities.
What is a National Park City?
The National Park Cities charter strives to enlist at least 25 cities by 2025. London is set to be followed by Newcastle and Glasgow, and each city that signs the charter will be joining a commitment to become greener, healthier and, ultimately, a better place to live.
As urbanization continues to rise and cities become more densely populated, the need for environmentally-conscious living becomes ever-apparent. The new initiative will help unite Londoners in a campaign to live more sustainably.
London’s new title was announced on July 22nd as part of the city-wide National Park City Festival. Although many may not suspect the urban sprawl to be an environmental powerhouse, London actually boasts a surprising amount of trees, fauna and wildlife.
The Environmental Impact of London
The UK capital city is home to hundreds of different species of birds, foxes, badgers, deer and more. There are an estimated 8 million trees planted throughout the city, covering approximately 21 percent of the total area.
According to the Greenspace Information for Greater London, roughly 47 percent of the city qualifies as “green,” and 60 percent of it is open, meaning there is plenty of space open for domestic gardens.
As more people begin to grow their own food at home and plant flowers, herbs and greenery, London will be able to cultivate a plant-based environment that still manages to thrive and preserve nature despite being one of the world’s most populated cities.
How to Get Involved
Residents of the United Kingdom and beyond can begin to make small changes in their lives that carry large environmental impacts. Reducing plastic and paper use, recycling and composting are three simple and effective ways to make the world a little bit greener and protect wildlife across the pond and beyond.