Bee-ing Green: Biodiversity in Cities

 
This dynamic duo is releasing a guide to pollination for Vancouverites.

This dynamic duo is releasing a guide to pollination for Vancouverites.

 

When we live in a city, it can sometimes feel like what happens to the space around us is out of our control. Many people who live in cities feel removed from the process where decisions are made about the way land is used and who gets to use it, and it’s hard to know how you can contribute to creating a greener, more sustainable city when you think you don’t have the power to do anything about it. Of course this isn’t true - as residents of a city, we have the power to vote people onto city councils who represent our views, to choose sustainable modes of transport to get around, to demand better waste disposal systems and reusable alternatives. But there’s something else we can do too - we can plant flowers. 

Biodiversity in cities

By planting flowers we encourage biodiversity. Biodiversity in cities is important in a fast-changing climate. In order for our ecosystems to thrive in a space that is already hostile to nature and wildlife due to roads, cars, building developments, and a high density of people, we need to encourage biodiversity in the city. By encouraging diversity of plant species, we can help to build more resilient ecosystems that can adapt to and help mitigate the effects of climate change. These ecosystems provide services to us - they absorb carbon, provide us with the air we breathe - and so it is only right that we serve them too. 

Increasing biodiversity through pollination

Our answer to increasing biodiversity in cities is through pollination. Pollinators are important for keeping plants and flowers alive and encouraging new plants to grow. Without them, many plants couldn’t survive, and neither could we. So who is it up to? Yes, we could ask our cities to plant more pollinator-friendly plants and flowers in our parks and public spaces, but we can also take it into our own hands. Once you start looking, you will see there are endless opportunities to increase pollination in the city - on windowsills, balconies, in gardens, on patios, on the sidewalk, in an unused space that has been lying empty for years. These all provide potential for bringing more green to our streets and creating pollinator habitats at the same time. The question is where to start - and that’s what we want to help you with. 

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A guide to pollination in Vancouver

We are creating an illustrated guide to pollination in Vancouver. This guide will provide information, resources, checklists, and ideas to help anyone, from an individual right up to a whole community, to take on a pollination project. The biggest barrier for many people is simply not knowing where to begin - this guide will take you through it all so you can get going. 

We want to encourage people to use whatever space they have, even if it’s just their windowsill, but we also want people to think big. Sidewalks and public spaces can be used to create pollinator friendly spaces, and we’ll tell you how you can do that too. The guide will show you what you need, who to contact, and how to see it through. All it takes is one person and one pot of flowers to make a difference. You can contribute to biodiversity in the city, and if you think that’s something you’d like to do - this guide is for you. 

If you are an individual, a community group or youth group, or an organisation who is interested in this project and using our guide to develop pollination projects of your own, please get in touch with us through the Climate Guides team at info@climateguides.ca - we want to hear from you! Look out for the finished guide in the coming months on the Climate Guides website and social media channels. 

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Hannah Byrne is originally from Dublin, Ireland and has been living in Vancouver since June 2018. She works as Senior Online Content Producer for an Irish youth information website. She is passionate about climate change and believes each and every one of us can make a difference by introducing small changes into our lives and talking about it with the people around us. byrnewithme.com.

Caroline Merner