Deforestation & Urbanization

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Increased deforestation and rapid urbanization are two connected phenomena that poses threat on the environmental resources. Describe the top three causes of rapid urbanization then explain in your views how can we reduce deforestation to restore the ecological balance. Give examples from different cities or regions to support your argument

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13 thoughts on “Deforestation & Urbanization

  1. Reasons for Urbanization
    Technology: I believe that technology is one of the main causes because it has made life so much easier. People move to cities because they want to take advantage of the technological advances that come from living in a city. Living and working on a farm is much more difficult than a city because technology allows people to work jobs that do not require manual labor, which will wear your body down. Being so close together allows people to share their ideas more efficiently.
    Resources: Things are so much more available in the city than they are in rural areas the high density of cities means that you can get everything that you want and need in close proximity to wear you live. Which is a massive advantage over someone who lives in the country and has to drive into town to get the things that they need or work hard to produce them themselves.
    Social Dynamics: Living close to one another creates opportunities for social interactions that would never happen if people still lived in the country. There are a lot more sources of entertainment in the city. It is also a lot easier to hang out with your friends when you live close together. The whole experience of being in a large city is eye-opening, and has a completely different experience.

    I believe that there are several things that we can do to try and restore the balance or at least to improve the ration of deforestation and urbanization. I believe that the most important thing is that we get a large group of people involved at many different social and political levels. Change will not happen unless there is support from political powers. I do not think that there is one solution to the deforestation problem, but that there are a few different thing that can be very effective if they are combined together. The first action should be looking to seize vacant and underutilized and return it back to its natural ecosystem. Vacant pieces of rural land are not the only places that revitalization efforts can take place, there are areas within the urban context of every city that have the potential to be revitalized and contribute to reforestation. Not only will incorporating nature into cities offer the ecological benefits it will also a wide variety of social benefits, and if people are able to visit nature, it will help them to gain an appreciation for nature. Hopefully the new-found appreciation will cause people to see how important forests are to the world, and that they would be more likely support revitalization projects in the future. I also think that we need to pick certain areas that have become mature forests and protect them from being destroyed.
    It is unrealistic to think that we will be able to preserve every existing forest, revitalize every acre of forest land that has been turned into an agricultural land, and convert the vacant and underutilized spaces with in cities into green networks. But I think it is reasonable to say that we need to do some of all of things, and that if they all work together they can start to make a real change.
    Oslo, Norway is a great example of a city that has decided time and energy into protecting the forests that are on the periphery of the city. The Oslo Fajord is a large natural resource for the people of the region have come to love, and so they are motivated to take care of it and maintain it.
    Vitoria-Gastezi, Spain is known for the green belts that run through the city, not only do they infuse the city with nature but they also provide a space where citizens can go and participate in natural recreation.

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  2. Deforestation and urbanization are two completely different phenomena that are connected by humanity. These phenomena are changing the world for the worst, because of the way that our society is handling them. Population growth, the rural to urban migration, and employment options are three big contributing factors to the rapid urbanization growth rate. When thinking about what an average human being can do to help, simply living out the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are important to keep in mind. If everyone on the planet began to do this, then we would begin to see a dramatic change in the climate. With the continued growth in numbers of humans, more space and furnishings are needed to accommodate, which results in many forests being ridden of all their trees. With deforestation occurring, this gives the sun less dark surface to deflate the rays that it possesses, making the earth warmer. This is an effect and leading factor of climate change. Secondly many people that had previously lived in more urban areas, are moving to the cities. This is happening because there is an increase in job opportunity and luxuries, such as a cities transportation network and being in close proximity to all the action that a city can provide.

    Deforestation and urbanization are two connected phenomena that don’t have to be. Just because of the fact that we are seeing trends of population growth and cities are continuing to grow, doesn’t mean that we have to clear all of the forests and woodland for space and use. We can continue to take measures in reducing deforestation by making it an opportunity to plant new trees that will thrive in urban areas. I believe that it is our duty as landscape architects to keep it a mission to implement as many trees into the urban core as we can. Another way to help reduce deforestation would be to do the act of partial logging, which only logging part of the trees that may be in a specific place and then replanting the trees that were logged in this area. In the midwest, many cities are very vehicular friendly. This will lead to a city that has a sprawled form and makes it to where there has to be more land cleared for subdivisions. Transportation options need to be one of the focal topics of discussion. In Roger Keil’s writing, “From Global Cities to Globalized Urbanization,” he talks about the idea of restructuring urban space, the transformation of the urban social fabric, and a formation of a global urban hierarchy. The formation of a global urban hierarchy means “creating a formation of a worldwide urban hierarchy in and through which transnational corporations coordinate their production and investment activities (Keil, P. 74).” The contested restructuring of urban space helps to, “lead to new, often speculative, real estate booms (Keil, P. 74) and the mix of social classes. Lastly, the transformation of the urban social fabric is important because it is important to create spaces within an urban core that all social classes can enjoy and not feel out of place. Using these three techniques with cities such as Kansas City may help to address the sprawl and spread that is happening within the urban fabric.

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  3. There are many reasons explaining how rapid urbanization has happened over the past decades. Some of the top causes are:
    1. Population Growth
    2. Rural Urban Transformation
    3. Employment Demand
    First, we all know that population growth is happening. It is like a ratio math problem we learned about in 5th grade. When there are more people, there will be an increase in the amount of people created as time passes. Unfortunately, though, the pace at which the population is growing is too fast and causing serious environment damages.
    The second cause is rural urban transformation. People originally wanted to move away from the cities because of the gross conditions and lack of space. But now, people living in the suburbs are realizing the difficulty of access to daily necessities such as transportation, the grocery store, socializing environments, and even education for their children. In result, “the world’s population has grown from 2 percent to nearly 50 percent of all people living in an urban area. In 1975 only four megacities existed; in 2000 there were 18” (Torrey, 2017). And today there are approximately 46 and its still growing! (Science Museum, 2018).
    The third and final reason described in this post is the expansion of employment demand. As all of the other factors are taking place and people are moving back into the cities, of course living expenses go up. It is the simple and logical idea of supply and demand. Because of this, people need jobs and not just any job, a good paying one. “It has long been accepted that urbanization attracts people to towns and cities because those are the places where jobs can be found. The pull of the city results from the expansion of the urban labor markets” (Gottman, 1978).

    So, what are the effects of these three-rapid urbanization causes? The answer is complex, but in short, there are many environmental consequences. For example, because there is a higher concentration of people within the cities, there is an increase in air pollution as well as water runoff since there is less green space and trees to absorb and cleanse the air and water. Also, because of the speed at which the cities are growing, we cannot build more or remodel the infrastructure we have today which is mostly from the industrialization time period. That means people are living in either insufficient, poor spaces or expensive, high-end living contributing to the social gaps within cities. Lastly, with more people, comes more consumption. As stated before, people are moving to the cities for jobs so that they can make money to live comfortably (Prugh, 2016). As population increases, so does the amount at which those people consume because resources are readily available. In result of more consumption creates more waste which our earth cannot accommodate or break down fast enough generating, yet another pollution issue.
    The problem with all of these effects from rapid urbanization is that they are affecting the strong, diverse, and indispensable forests around the world. Almost all of our products we use are made from the forested ecosystem and its trees. In Singapore, for example, in 1812 82% of the country was covered in evergreen forest. Then in 1950, rapid urbanization began. In total, Singapore has lost 90% of its forest, less than 5% of its original mangroves have disappeared, and 39% of all native coast-land plants are extinct (Mah, 2014). These numbers may sound fictitious, but the destruction of forests is happening all over the world.

    So how do we solve it? The issue is, we cannot stop gaining resources from our forests. As stated before, we get nearly all of our built products from the trees. A few solutions to solving deforestation is through close management, implementation of forest certification and legality verification and promoting sustainable forest communities by conserving forests. This strategy was implement in Africa’s Congo Basin Rainforest and has been considered successful as “total deforestation averaged between 1-2% during the 1990s-2010 period, compared to about 3-4% for Latin American during the two decades” (Yale University, 2014). “In 1999 the Yaounde Declaration, where [the six countries of the Congo Basin] promised to cooperate to conserve the forests of the Congo Basin. In the last 10 years…more than 10% of the forest is now covered by two massive conservation areas. And at a second summit in 2005, the Democratic Republic of the Congo committed to protecting another 150,000sq km” (WWW, 2011).
    Another solution is to start restoration projects to continue to use the forests but conserve and manage them at all times. Essentially, this is like reusing land so that it has multi-functional capabilities and can be used repetitively. This method is currently happening in Krui, Indonesia. Many people within the country were taking advantage of the forests, cutting to make profit and doing so without any licenses. To combat this, “In 1998, a decree issued by the Indonesian government enabled communities in Krui to register for concession rights over the area of state for land planted with their agroforests…the decree has been instrumental in stopping outsiders’ attempts to appropriate these agroforests” (Kusters et. all, 2007). Taking a step further, this method to help the deforestation not only conserved the forests but protected the National park as these forests were buffers around the National Park and has prevented encroachment as roads or tracks cannot disturb the forests.

    Overall, there is, inevitably a close tie between rapid urbanization and deforestation. There are many places in the world which are combating the damages in order to rebuilt and conserve the existing forest ecosystem but there is still a lot of work to be done. As John Muir said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” As a city, region, country, and nation everyone needs to do their part in strategizing how forests are used for a resource. As a population, we need to remember that what we do to another forest in another country eventually affects us as well as surrounding countries too.

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  4. Gottmann, Jean. “Urbanization and Employment: Towards a General Theory.” The
    Town Planning Review49, no. 3 (1978): 393-401. Accessed October 12, 2018.
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/40103340.
    Kusters, Koen et al. 2007. “Towards Solutions for State vs. Local Community
    Conflicts Over Forestland: The Impact of Formal Recognition of User Rights
    in Krui, Sumatra, Indonesia.” Human Ecology 35(4):427-438.
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-006-9103-4.
    Mah, E.M. 2014. “Deforestation in Singapore.” Accessed October 12, 2018.

    Prugh, Tom. 2016. Rural-Urban Migration, Lifestyles, and Deforestation. In: State
    of the World. Washington D.C.: Islan Press.
    Science Museum. 2018. “How Many Mega Cities Are on Earth Now?” Accessed
    October 12, 2018. https://ideastations.org/science-matters/question-your-
    world/how-many-mega-cities-are-earth-now.
    WWF. 2011. “Conserving the Congo Basin’s Forests.” Accessed October 12, 2018.
    http://wwf.panda.org/?199982/Conserving-the-Congo-Basins-forests.
    Yale University. “Conservation Initiatives in the Congo Basin | Global Forest Atlas.”
    Accessed October 12, 2018.
    https://globalforestatlas.yale.edu/congo/conservation-initiatives.

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  5. Urbanization is the increase in population in urban areas, mainly due to the shift of people from rural to urban areas in search of opportunities and increased standard of living. Some causes of urbanization are outlined below:

    1. Transformation and growth of economy, and change in lifestyle: Industrialization has been a cause for the onset of urbanization in many cities. Due to industrialization, agrarian economies transform into non-agricultural, industrial ones, causing changes in work typologies and habits, an increase in employment opportunities, and an alteration in lifestyle of the residents. American cities such as New York and Philadelphia grew immensely in the late 19th century due to industrial factories being located in or near the cities. New York expanded to over 7 times of its population between 1850 and 1900, and Philadelphia increased its inhabitants from 100,000 to over 1.2 million people in this part of the century (Rees 2016). Such transformations cause the inhabitants to flock to the places with job opportunities and better lifestyle (compact living, enhanced communication facilities, and varied recreational opportunities), causing urbanization.

    2. Rural-to-urban migration due to difference of opportunities and resources: Migration is one of the main causes of urban growth of cities. People migrate from rural areas to urban areas in search of better employment opportunities, educational resources, and an enhanced standard of life with ease of access to transportation, infrastructure and civic facilities. In Nepal, internal migration is the main cause of urban growth of the capital Kathmandu, due to which the population is increasing in a rapid rate (4% per year) (“Managing Nepal’s Urban Transition” n.d.). A majority of the city dwellers are not indigenous inhabitants, but immigrants in search of educational and employment opportunities.

    3. Fertility and natural increase in population: According to Barbara Boyle Torrey (2004), another major cause of urbanization is the fertility of the urban population. Although the fertility rates of urban people tends to be less than rural people, it still contributes considerably to urban growth (Torrey 2004). Increasing birth rates, and declining death rates of the urban population due to medical advancements increases the urban population and causes urban growth.

    Urbanization and deforestation are linked phenomena. According to Tom Prugh (2016), urbanization is a cause for deforestation because cities usually expand to areas with natural habitats. Urbanization also inclines people towards meat products and processed food, which is only obtainable at the cost of forest areas being used extensively for agriculture, fodder or grazing of animals (Prugh 2016). A major part of our lifestyle is based on forest-based products such as lumber, paper, and food products, hence deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate. According to the video, ‘Deforestation Effects on Climate,’ the current deforestation rate is 36 football fields per minute (Christie Todd n.d.). This accelerated rate of forest clearance causes various adverse effects on the climate, ecological habitat, and can cause natural disasters.

    Strategies to reduce deforestation vary in scale, from individual efforts to regional planning efforts and large-scale policy implementation. Since increase in income causes the use of more meat products, which require forests to be cleared, decreasing the consumption of such products can be an individual-scale strategy catered towards decreasing deforestation. Similarly, planting trees, and employing the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle in the use of forest-based products are other strategies that can reducing deforestation.

    As Prugh (2016) outlines, conservation of forests in some parts of the world requires the clearance of forests in other parts to import goods and sustain the population. A more local-regional scale solution is eco-forestry, which recognizes that the human use of forests is inevitable, and allows strategic choice of trees for harvesting, while maintaining the rest of the forest intact (Madaan 2016). Awareness programs, implementation of policies and regulations, and localized reforestation and community forestry initiatives help reduce deforestation. These initiatives have sometimes taken the form of movements, such as the ‘Chipko’ movement in India, where women of a Rajasthan community hugged the trees to stop the contractors from felling them (“The Chipko Movement” n.d.). A planning approach that has been mentioned by Prugh (2016) is density building, and discontinuing expansion to surrounding natural land.

    Belfast, Ireland brought together governments, organizations and citizens to plant over 200,000 trees since 1998 (World Resources Institute n.d.). Guyana achieved nearly zero deforestation while developing socio-economically. Costa Rica gains income through ecotourism based on its forests (“Report Finds Successful Efforts to Reduce Deforestation” n.d.). Brazil implemented strict laws and regulations to combat deforestation, and also put incentives in place to discourage the illegal cutting of trees. These approaches, coupled with an extensive monitoring system, and the sharing of responsibilities between the government and the civic society successfully decreased deforestation of the Amazon rainforests by a substantial amount (“Tasso Azevedo: Hopeful Lessons from the Battle to Save Rainforests” n.d.). Deforestation is a pressing problem, which is difficult to combat. However, with such coordinated efforts in different scales of implementation, deforestation can be reduced.

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  6. Rapid expansion and urbanization require land and resources that we take from the natural environment. Our society has not taken full responsibility for these actions and so our planted is suffering and affecting all aspects of life. While there are many social, cultural, and political reasons for urbanization, there are three main forces that have driven it to its current scale: Population growth, resource availability, and economic opportunity. Each of these factors is intertwined in the massive expansion of cities and has caused a need to consider our actions on a larger scale than just one city one country.
    The urban population has been rapidly increasing in the last century. Suburban sprawl has been a considerable issue because of the massive amount of land required to accommodate the needs of new families and communities. Now, people are starting to migrate back into the urban cities, which still requires a large amount of land, resources, and planning to accommodate such a large influx. The creation of larger metropolitan areas melds the suburban and urban environments into one cohesive system that has little set little space aside for nature to coexist. Cities focus on the need to accommodate for the population rather than planning for improved resource and land use.
    The availability of resources also contributes to the rapid expansion of the urban environment. For as long as humans have been around, we have used the land and its many resources to improve our lives. Now that we are operating at a global scale, we do not consider where the resources are coming from or how much is left for use. These limited resources are readily available and are not heavily restricted, allowing anyone that needs them to use them as they wish. Corporations and countries take advantage of this to increase their financial gain and do not consider how the use of these resources affects the earth.
    Economic opportunity in cities has grown extensively. Ever since the industrial revolution, countries have been exploiting the use of resources to create more capital and generate a consumer based society. Many people who are migrating back into the cities do so because it is less expensive than living in the suburbs. The economy has become a greater concern than the earth itself and the environment we live in. Keil describes the formation of global hierarchy and how global urbanization is “a key spatial infrastructure for the accelerated and intensified globalization of capital, including financial capital…” (pg. 74). We do not see nature and its benefits as a resource we can coexist with rather than consume. To change the way we are destroying natural environments life forests, we need to change our perspective on how we live and how natural resources are used to supplement our lives.
    Portland has become a well-known green city because of its vast use of green infrastructure. The city uses trees and other vegetation to provide ecological benefits to those living in the dense environment. Leadership and education are important to make a greater impact on the issue of deforestation. Portland and its government have shown that they understand the need to save trees and integrate them into our urban environments to coexist with nature.
    Belfast, Ireland is also making great strides in reforestation. An organization called Forest of Belfast aims to plant trees all throughout the city, including parks, streets, river banks, and many other places. In the last three years, they have helped hundreds of organizations to plant 90,000 trees.
    Washington D.C. is also a great example of integrating trees into the urban fabric. Their efforts to better quality of life goes back to 1872 when the governor ordered the planting of 60,000 street trees. Today, there are nearly 2 million trees within the city which remove and store massive amounts of carbon and improve energy usage throughout the city.
    Cities and communities are beginning to create a better life in cities using trees, but we have a long way towards preventing the total destruction of forests across the world. Only through awareness and organization against this issue, whether its through government policy or within a local community, will we be able to counter this issue and bring back balance to the environment.

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  7. Rapid development of cities today has created hubs of activity, social interaction, and economic production. However, cities have begun to urbanize at a scale that has never been seen before, especially in countries like Africa and Southeast Asia in the Global South, where planning practices and regulations are unable to mitigate the rapid growth in scale. This rural to urban migration is a culmination of different factors that pull people in rural, less developed areas to more urban centers. While there are many factors that are influencing the increase of this phenomenon, the top three causes are economic opportunities, population increase, and social benefits and services. Firstly, shifts towards cities can be evidenced by changing job markets and opportunities that are prominent in more urban centers. Agricultural jobs are becoming less common due to the rise of technology, so the job market is moving towards commercialization and industrialization which is also more concentrated in cities than rural areas, and entices migration when unemployment befalls more and more families. Secondly, the rapid urbanization of cities is partly to accommodate for increases in population in the surrounding communities. While external migration to the city will account for more residents in the cities, natural population growth as plays a very large role in compressing on the resources that cities offer (housing, jobs, food), and force expansion in density and outward as sprawling suburbs. Like the rapid growth and urbanization of Cairo, the rise of slums and dense population growth will only continue to lead to further growth to accommodate for natural growth. Lastly, cities not only offers concrete infrastructure and amenities that entice migration like jobs and housing, but also social benefits that pull residents towards the cities. Urban areas offer more education, more (and sometimes better) housing and access to healthcare. Also, many will be pushed to migrate to cities for safety from fleeing from conflict or other harmful events. While rapid urbanization is not necessarily negative, it needs to be mitigated and planned to allow for preservation of the natural environment.

    Deforestation is an unintended, but very prominent effect of rapid urbanization that is leading to permanent effects on native ecosystems. To restore the ecological balance, we need to take steps to mitigate deforestation by committing to laws and regulations, encouraging green business production, and replanting degraded forest systems. The promotion of laws and regulations to promote environmental sustainability has risen to prominence in the last 20 years to manage harmful human activities. International efforts like the UN 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Deals are both examples at united pushes for greater regulation. A specific example of successful regulatory measures was created by Brazil in a joint effort with Norway to reduce deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest. At both the state and federal levels, the country expanded protected areas and reserves, and promoted indigenous control of the forest through official endorsement to stop illegal encroachment. In addition, enforcement of logging laws showed the government’s commitment to environmental protection and led to 67% drop in the rate of deforestation (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2011). Secondly, incorporating more green practices into industrial and commercial production would also continue to promote environmental preservation. Primarily focusing on reducing resources like plastics, paper, and wood will be beneficial and limit the need for constant consumption of natural resources. An example of a green business is the Chicago paper company GPA, which uses “calcium carbonate and limestone-derived mineral powders to make the paper”, instead of cutting down trees and using paper (Knufken, 2009). Lastly, focusing on replanting/ reforesting already degraded areas will help to restore the areas to their previous state and undo previously harmful acts. While this process is a long process and involves many participants (local/regional governments, communities, etc), it’s long-term restorative benefits will be important for the future of the community. An example of a large-scale reforestation effort is again in Brazil, where the group Conservation International plans to plant 73 million trees and restore 70,000 acres that have been cleared as pastureland (Townsend, 2017). Not only will this measure restore the previously forest land, but also help to reabsorb carbon emissions and promote other environmental services that reforestation can offer. Overall, these methods to combat deforestation will ultimately be a necessary measure to take as the world continues to become more urbanized.

    “Brazil’s Success in Reducing Deforestation.” Union of Concerned Scientists. February 01, 2011. Accessed October 14, 2018. https://www.ucsusa.org/global-warming/solutions/stop-deforestation/brazils-reduction-deforestation.html#.W8NP2GhKjIU.

    Knufken, Drea. “25 Most Promising Green Businesses.” Business Pundit. January 22, 2009. Accessed October 14, 2018. http://www.businesspundit.com/25-most-promising-green-businesses/.

    Townsend, John Converse. “The Largest Ever Tropical Reforestation Is Planting 73 Million Trees.” Fast Company. November 03, 2017. Accessed October 14, 2018. https://www.fastcompany.com/40481305/the-largest-ever-tropical-reforestation-is-planting-73-million-trees.

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  8. Rapid urbanization has many explanations but the three I will be touching on today are growth in economy, suburban to urban migration, and resource availability. All three are aspects that make cities attractive and people want to live where there is opportunity, convenience, and fun.
    Economy: As a society we were once a factory driven country, but now we are an innovative hub and cities host many of these companies. Since urban areas host many job opportunities, people want to be where those opportunities are. Therefore, we see an increase of people and buildings in urbanized places.
    Urban Migration: As our society has advanced, the cities are now seen as clean and full of opportunities. At one time they were dirty and it is where the poor lived. Therefore, the rich didn’t want to interact with them. Now cities are the melting pots and place where an individual can keep advancing.

    Resource availability: Humans want to be near where the resources are because they are needed to survive. The issues is, over consumption of resources. We do not thing about the effects and how ling it may take to find or grow new resources. Therefore, we see a decline in the resources we had and have to quickly find a new one to replace the old one we depleted.

    I believe that it is vital to protect the forests that we have and rebuild the ones we have depleted. We do not realize how much of a connection we have to forests. They are where many of our resources first came from before technology advanced, but we still find many of our resources in forests today. Such as; metals, wood, food, etc. These sources are precious and many people do not have any regard for them. In cities where forests are not prominent, I believe we should plant more trees in the existing parks and use the vacant lots in cities and turn them into parklets. I believe that Manhattan, Kansas is an example of an urban forest. Manhattan may not be considered a traditional urbanized city, but in 1863 when Kansas State University was founded the landscape wasn’t near the landscape today. Manhattan barely had any trees and today the town is covered with trees and that makes the town feel and in my opinion look better. A city that is a successful urban forest is Singapore. They are using the concept of urban forestry to protect the soil, absorb rainwater, enhance biodiversity, and more. Singapore is called the ‘Garden city of Asia’ and they use this phrase as a marketing strategy to attract investors (McCafferty, 2017). Even if Singapore is using this concept to attract visitors and investors, they are still enhancing their ecosystems and the lives of those who live there. It is important to better the ecosystems around us and if that means we can reap some of the benefits, than so be it.

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  9. 3 causes of urbanization

    The top cause of rapid urbanization is definitely the overall population increase the world is experiencing. With more people joining earth, cities must adapt to accommodate the influx of residents.
    In this day and age, industrialization has made rural life less valuable. Machines can efficiently accomplish more than people. Most jobs are only available in big cities. Therefore, many people move to urban areas looking for work.
    A third cause of urbanization is social or political factors. Sometimes, people move to the city to escape harsh conditions or oppression in rural areas. This also causes an influx of people.

    With all of this urbanization happening with no end in sight, it can be easy to give up hope. However, there are ways to reduce deforestation without discouraging rapid urbanization. The first way is to encourage vegetarianism. People who live in rural areas tend to eat more starches and vegetables. Residents of cities who have more money tend to eat a lot more meat. Economic prosperity and meat consumption go hand in hand. Since meat consumption and wealth are connected, developing countries like China and Brazil place value on their citizens access to animal products. According to Tom Prugh, meat consumption is less desirable in general because, “it is far more efficient for humans to consume plant calories directly (via vegetarian diets) than to require livestock to consume plants and then to consume the meat in the livestock, because this second step entails serious additional energy losses” (Prugh 264). He goes on to say that, in Europe, “the amount of food produced relative to total plant production- the efficiency of production- is 78 percent for cereal grains but only 20 percent for poultry, 18 percent for pork, and 2 percent for beef” (Prugh 264). The inefficiency of poultry, pork and beef means that more land is needed to produce these products. Basically, it takes more land to produce meat than vegetables. To produce all this meat, forest land must be cleared for grazing livestock. Encouraging city dwellers to eat less meat and animal products will greatly cut down the need for deforestation for animal agriculture purposes.

    Additionally, cities are growing quickly, causing their borders to cut into natural forests. This negatively affects the environment when “expansion destroys wildlife habitat and threatens biodiversity (especially in “hotspots” that are particularly rich in species)” (Prugh 265). Furthermore, expanding urban fabrics can take up farmland which perpetuates the need to cut down forest for agriculture. To remedy this, urban areas should look critically at where they are expanding. Many times, urbanization could develop vertically, rather than horizontally. This is especially true in western United States where natural ecosystems are destroyed for urban sprawl. Most of all, people must not adopt a victim mentality. The fact that much of the world’s forest is lost is tragic, but we can plant more trees. Everyday people can participate in regenerating forests through innovative ideas like urban forests and more trees within the city. People can also make sure to take better care of wild places like national and state parks that often have untouched forest.

    Sources:

    Prugh, T. (2016). Rural-Urban Migration, Lifestyle, and Deforestation. In The World Watch Institute (Ed.), Can a City Be Sustainable? (pp. 263–272). Islan Press.

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  10. Urbanization |
    The processes that make an area more urban are incremental and something that has quite simply been trending in recent generations. It’s the result of a bombarding of commercialized agendas, mental fortifications and the promise of a brighter future. Growing up in a small agricultural town in the rural area of southern Minnesota all the above were and still are the reasons I wanted to move to a large metropolis to live my life. I felt that it was a creative outlet, generative for career opportunities and offered the greatest breath of extracurriculars and recreational activities. Along with this vein, the buzzwords that brought me to aspire to live in a densely populated city are their social benefits and services, employment opportunities, and the modernization and changes in modes of living. It was not so much choosing the lesser of two perceived evils but rather the idea that fortune favors the bold. I could stay in a city and region I was comfortable with and make a living at a relatively moderate pass and be blissful and happy or enter an unknown territory and explore and discover a continually changing and adaptive environment. This dichotomy of mindsets is ultimately what forces people to cities.

    I believe there are two major causes of urbanization each influencing the other compiling in a negative way. I want to note that there is a natural increase that is caused by a severe decrease in the global death rates offset by birthrates that remain high though they are slowing to the point of no trackable increase at the global scale. First, the rural to urban migration that happened occurs at a massive scale in a relatively short period of time. This is due to ‘push’ factors such as population and the lack of readily available services in rural areas. It’s difficult to think that the lack of something as simple as health care and opportunities for education necessary for a life forces rural population to move to more urbanized areas. Second, which is a continuation of the first is the ‘pulling’ of people in rural areas to the city. This is due to a cultural misconception that those who live in cities are afforded a higher standard of living and that urban lifestyles are somehow more conducive to those standards than that of a rural living environment. This hope of a brighter future coupled with an assumption that more profitable workplace opportunities will be made available is the mental draw. Which is often wrong and, in most cases, far worse than that which they came from. Even though the sheer volume of the casual and informal workplace is much high in urban areas, most often they are overqualified for these types of positions. Which is very low wage and filled with either by impoverished communities or middle-class youth. In closing, urbanization is our current perception of the natural evolutional step of human civilization.

    Deforestation |
    There are numerous ways we can incrementally reduce deforestation and restore the ecological balance, most of which are the predecessors to paradigm shifts in global lifestyle choices. There is a lack of education on the topic of deforestation and the plethora of other factors influencing it. The problem is that the general population is blatantly naive to the concept of their acts having a rippling effect and causes impacts at a global scale. Flashing numbers of species that go extinct often elicit a like or share on social media platforms or if you are lucky a comment filled with a slurry of emoticons. A good start point to changing goals for the future is our inherent brashness to the impacts we force upon those who share the planet with us. Other more obvious ways to revert the effects of deforestation in order to reestablish an equilibrium are the use of renewable wood resources, reducing consumption, less reliance on paper, promote forest-friendly policies, investing in sustainable companies or forestry certified products. All of these are centered on the local changes to habits by individuals locally that overtime will lessen the demand and inevitably the need to keep cutting down our forests.

    Another way is by eating less meat either by choosing one meal a day to not eat mass-produced meat or picking a day to skip meat altogether. This is a major lifestyle change for most Americas and is often more easily received by other places in the world where more vegetarian and vegan diets are a part of the culture. The United States has begun to acknowledge and represent these communities and the production of farm to table operations and sustainable organic based sources of meat production. The unfortunate part it is that the use of these products that fall under this category combined pale in comparison to the implications agricultural fields and mass farming have on forests. Some of the crops include palm oil, soybeans, and coffee production. These are farmed in heavily forested areas, that are cleared and burned which releases the carbon dioxide that was collected over their lifetime from the atmosphere. Then the farmland is used until it dries up of nutrition and the process is repeated in another plot of land. This mass clearing increases surfaces erosion making it even more difficult to reestablish later. It also leaches the water from the area, the dry cracked soil then increases the flooding potential and runoff in excess. These extremes are irreversible impacts on the environment. We are at a pivotal point in our species history considered the anthropogenic, in which humans’ actions are having a direct impact on nature.

    Lastly, I want to reiterate the words of the late Dr. Suess that seem to echo endlessly into the future becoming more apparent than ever, “I am the Lorax who speaks for the trees, which you seem to be chopping as fast as you please. But I’m also in charge of the brown Bar-ba-loots, who played in the shade in their Bar-ba-loot suits and happily lived eating truffula fruits. Now, thanks to your hacking my trees to the ground, there’s not enough truffula fruit to go ’round!”

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  11. BY: KATE LARKIN.

    Rapid urbanization is caused by people wanting access to more opportunities. Urban environments provide jobs, education, and people feel as if they have more access to resources that many small communities can not provide. People feel as if they have the world at their fingertips in a city. Urbanization is decreasing productivity in small towns and negatively impacting the environment in and surrounding cities. According to Tom Prugh, two top influences on deforestation are peoples increased use of resources and the built environment expanding into nature to contain the capacity of people. People who move to the urban environment develop an unsustainable lifestyle that primarily consumes excess meat and processed foods, this requires more space for agriculture and clearance of forests. I believe, that people are too driven by money, resources and lack empathy towards the environment. The issue of deforestation does not seem to phase many people, while causing many negative impacts to the environment.
    Although, deforestation effecting global warming and causing environmental issues. This is concerning and influencing people to make a difference in our practices. My views on this issue is that we need to work more to protect the resources we have and limit our level of consumption. This phenomenon can be observed through Brazil’s protection of the Amazon Rainforest and how the implemented laws against logging and encroachment (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2011). Brazil’s government supports these efforts and I believe the United States government needs to work more towards supporting the environmental movement and enforcing laws reduce our resource use.
    We can begin to restore natural systems and ecosystems by replanting trees and being selective about the trees we remove for production and monetary purposes. Selective logging is being proposed in Indonesia to allow for them to preserve the natural forest, while still gaining economic value from the resources that are accessible to them (Gaveau, 2011). Selective logging allows for people to cut trees, but it involves to process of carefully selecting them and leaving trees to help protect the soil from becoming too dry causing soil erosion, absorb water to reduce run-off and maintain habitats for native plant and animal species. An example of forest restoration can be seen in the Caribbean and Latin America, where by 2020, approximately 50 acres will be restored with the help of surrounding communities and NGOs (Forest Restoration & Reforestation). As for planting trees in neighborhood, Dallas, TX is working to plant 1000 trees within their built environment to reduce heat island effects caused within the city. It was stated that before this project tree canopies only covered approximately 29% of the area (Poon, 2018). I think this practice needs to be introduced more in different urban environments to reduce the negative impacts of the built environment and allow people to be more exposed to nature.
    Studies show that connection to nature has health benefits and promotes stewardship in the community to want to protect nature. All the strategies previously listen and solutions in the future, begin with education. People need to understand the implications of their actions and be knowledgeable enough to make a change. They can begin by using the three R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle) to limit resource use and waste. Businesses can also work to incorporate green practices into their structure by recycling, implementing renewable energy, such as solar energy, recycling, reducing pasting use and generated waste (Pilon, 2018). ¬¬
    Our lifestyles have had many negative impacts on the environment and there are ways that we can improve the environment. People tend to think their actions don’t affect anything, but every little bit helps and without everyone a change will not be made.

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