- BBC World, @bbc_ciencia
It is common to hear complaints about the London weather: gray, cold, rainy.
But the British capital, often associated with images of industrial smokestacks and moss-covered bricks, has other attractions: It is, in fact, one of the greenest cities in the world.
With its 3,000 parks and 13,000 species of wildlife, London offers a haven of nature around almost every corner.
For this reason, and although it may seem like an extravagant idea, there is a project that seeks to have this city recognized as a national park.
«The challenge is to communicate to people the idea that a city, an urban space, can also be a national park,» Daniel Raven-Ellison, explorer, geography teacher and promoter of the campaign, explained to BBC Mundo. Greater London National Park.
So far and since its launch four months ago, the initiative has obtained the support of 60 organizations related to conservation, education and the environment.
But according to Raven-Ellison, while it sounds like a radical good idea to a lot of people, still not many really believe they can make it happen.
The concept of a national park is generally associated with «somewhere remote and rural,» says Raven-Ellison, but in fact there may be more wilderness in the city than in the countryside, where agriculture and ranching have long displaced life. wild.
For this reason, the project wants Natural parksthe body that manages natural parks, declare London the first national park city in the world.
«There are many reasons to do it, but just a national park offers a lens, a collective way of seeing the city, it is an idea of what we can expect from a place,» Raven-Ellison told BBC Mundo.
live and enjoy
According to the definition of National ParksNational parks «are protected areas for their beautiful countryside, their wildlife and their cultural heritage», qualities that are present in London, according to those who support the campaign.
And the idea that must be spread, says Raven-Ellison, is that the city is not only «a place to live and work but also to enjoy».
Although there are still many people to convince, this enthusiastic disseminator is optimistic. According to him, in less than 25 years London could become the national park he has imagined, a place where the development and well-being of its inhabitants is closely related to the care of nature.
«I want teachers, parents, politicians, designers, builders to start thinking differently in the way they plan, design, create, feel and experience the city.»
For now, the campaign is seeking signatures for its petition and offers surprising facts about London’s habitat: «within the city limits there are 3,000 parks, 142 local nature reserves, 36 sites of special scientific interest, 4 World Heritage sites declared by UNESCO, two national nature reserves and 3.8 million private gardens».
In addition, 60% of the city that extends over 1,500 km2 is made up of green spaces and water, such as rivers, canals or lakes.
But first you have to convince the 8.3 million inhabitants -speaking 300 languages- who inhabit this great ecosystem, which, by the way, also includes all the cats and dogs that walk through its squares and, of course, lots of foxes, rats and mice.