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Good Governance

Innovative Ways to Create Smart Sustainable Cities, Part 1 of 2

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According to the United Nations, by 2050 nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas. With rapidly growing populations, many cities are seeking ways to become more sustainable, greener, and more eco-friendly. Sustainable cities carefully consider their environmental impact, diligently working to use resources efficiently, reduce water usage, maximize renewable energy, reduce and recycle waste, improve air quality, and provide ample green spaces, while simultaneously improving the quality of life for the city’s inhabitants. In addition, sustainable cities seek ways to be more resilient in the face of the devastating effects of climate change.

One of the fastest, most effective methods for increasing a city’s sustainability is to increase its green spaces by planting trees and plants wherever possible. Let’s see how some cities around the globe have incorporated more trees and plants in their urban areas. Singapore continuously works to increase its green spaces. Over the past few years, Singapore’s National Parks Board (NParks) has been planting 50,000 additional trees each year throughout the city, along roadsides, in parks and in gardens. As a result, Singapore currently contains approximately seven million trees. Singapore has also created many magnificent ecological areas in the city. In Lisbon, government and citizens work hand in hand to create a more beautiful, comfortable, and sustainable city. One of the strongest initiatives has been tree planting, and in January, 2020 thousands of citizens gathered to plant 20,000 new trees in Lisbon’s parks. Our next stop is Mexico City, Mexico. Via Verde has started planting vertical gardens on 1,000 pillars along a major highway. Each pillar is covered with thousands of local tropical plants rooted inside felt pouches, and automatically irrigated with recovered rainwater.

The consequences of climate change can be disastrous, threatening the future sustainability of cities. Supreme Master Ching Hai frequently reminds us of the fastest, most effective solutions to this problem. “First of all, we have to refresh a little bit ourselves about this solution to save the planet, that is the vegan diet, and the sustainable energy, and to plant more trees. These are doable, especially the vegan diet. Because the vegan diet, everyone can do it. It employs also the most sustainable way of life. And then we will have time to develop more techniques to halt the climate change.”

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