miércoles, 30 de enero de 2013


By Gundhramns Hammer
January 30, 2013

Source: flickriver


Green cities. A very good objective to have in mind and pursue and we should all pich it in one way or another to achieve this goal.

Nowadays a lot of wildlife species are finding that surviving in cities is much easier. Cities are becoming centres of biodiversity and it is our responsibility to protect these species and do our best so we can live in harmony with them. We all have a lot to gain. 

There are a lot of nature lovers who enjoy supplementing the diet of wild birds  during the tough days of cold weather. Providing with food these birds help them survive through the Winter and have a better chance of reproducing when Spring comes. In Jaca at the foot of the Pyrenees (Huesca, Spain) there is a family who spends a few hundred euros monthly from October to March feeding the local avian fauna and keep record of each species that comes to the "Avian Restaurant". This year these naturalists caught in video a few Red Kites (Milvus milvus) diving to catch food in the garden (Video 1). It is a wonderful sight!! 

                             Video 1. Red Kites (Milvus milvus) diving for food in Jaca, Spain.

Food supplementation during cold weather spells or Winter is important considering that some species such as the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) (Video 2) are on the decline thoughout Europe.

  Video 2. House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) eating bread crums and maize in a garden in Jaca, Spain.

Moreover, their importance become more crucial since any urban species of animal or plant has a very important role to play: They are Bioindicators of the Environment´s health, in short they are "Sentinels of everyone´s health" (National Research Council, 1991).

Nature heals and soothes our psychology and can keep us healthy as well. Recent research has shown that people who live within 200 metres from a green park are healthier than others who are surrounded by concrete only, for contact with nature when taking a walk on a green trail helps them release and remove the stress of everyday life in societies in perpetual motion.  

This is not surprising when we consider that humans have lived in close contact with nature for thousands of years before getting cramped in concrete jungles.

Furthermore, medical investigations have shown that patients who have windows where they can see trees heal faster and use less analgesics than those who have windows facing brick walls (Ulrich, 1984). So there is still an echo of our natural past buried in our subconsciousness that given the chance finds its way to the surface to make our life more meaningful and psychologically rewarding. 

Unfortunately, modern man seems to have acquire a taste for synthetic foods, asphalt and cement. Instead of smelling lillies and fresh grass he prefers to fill up his lungs with car fumes and smoke of burt automovile tires in his cities. The result? He is not fully happy neither is he healthy. On the contrary he is besieged by countles ailments new and old.

It is been said that this transition from a natural environment to an artificial one like cities is perhaps at the root of all of his disorders and maladies.

So, why no take the time to enjoy and marvel at the birds or any species of animal or plant that are found in gardens and parks to reestablish the ancient connection we all carry deep within ourselves? 

Good thoughts and wonderful natural views work wonders on us if we let them permeate our hearts.

So, why not be gentle and loving to those species that come to live with us in our unnatural concrete jungles and help us reconnect with Mother Nature? 

The following documentary (Video 3) takes us to London, one of the greenest cities in Europe.

                                                  Video 3. The unnatural history of London.

If we study the parish records in the British Isles during the last two millenia we will realise that a lot of people have been quite busy destroying wildlife and collecting rewards handed out by the government to get rid of some species that were considered vermin or dangerous, thus there are no more wolves on these islands. 

But at the same time there were always people who fought hard to defend the animals´ rights. In the end we have a British society that has learnt to tilt the balance towards the positive side, for the benefit of wildlife, be it urban or otherwise.  

They still have a lot of work to do, especially those people who shoot birds just for the pleasure of blasting them in the air with their shot guns and thus killing them or those who are into fox chasing. These are things that have no place in a world we brag about so very often by calling ourselves "human" or being "humane"

Nevertheless, British people as a general rule are fond of wildlife and are nature lovers and this is a good way to go indeed. 

In the long run we all must strive to reconcile with Mother Nature if we want to survive as a species. Thus, biophilic and green cities are a new fashion with a lot of sense.  

Furthermore, if every city had its own space to achieve true self-sufficiency, be really green, it would be much better indeed. A goal that makes even more sense.


Many thanks to Mrs. Milagros S. Trullen for her willingness to record bird videos at her garden in Jaca (Spain), her "Avian Restaurant", for different species of birds during the current Winter 2012-2013. 


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