One of the many functions of SMGA volunteers is to explain why it is beneficial to the community to conserve natural areas alongside the places we develop. A complete response is a challenge because there are many advantages for many different interests and we are learning more about the advantages as time goes on. There are hard core economic, cost-benefit considerations as well as intangible but meaningful values from the beauty of natural landscapes.
Each individual will have his or her own perspective and prejudices. A preacher may cherish the place to be alone and connect with God’s creation while the adventure runner may crave a place to be deep in concentration with each foot fall along the stoney tread while watching the stopwatch. There is the person who relaxes on the back porch watching the sunset over the trees or the person who might never set foot near a trail but is nevertheless grateful to breathe clean air and drink clean water.
Asking why we should keep some natural landscapes close to the places we build is similar to asking why should we have street lights, or libraries, or protections for the river. We may not need natural areas nearby to stay alive. But to have a good life in a thriving city you have to go beyond just putting pipes, paving and power lines on the landscape and include green spaces as part of a city’s infrastructure. Below are two links noted under the heading of “one of many reasons to explain why” you might want to keep some natural areas intact and nearby.
First is a report on how a simple walk in a wild area can reduce “brain fatigue.” It references a study featured in the New York Times.
The second link is about decline bird populations. Their survival is challenged by plate glass, high rise buildings, cell towers and cats. But the real culprit? Habitat loss.
Two of the many reasons we are passionate about what we do at SMGA. As more come to our attention we will share them with you. [Thank you Lance for the lead on the bird story and Thank you Betsy for the Treehugger link…t.o.d]