Greening Tower Hamlets

Birds swarm at a waterhole in Africa

Birds swarm at a waterhole in Africa

to enjoy biodiversity was the theme of today’s conference in the Ecology Pavilion in Mile End Park. I thought I replied to put myself on the list but can’t find any evidence of it, but got in nonetheless. 

There were exhibition tables from companies supplying green services, including rooftop gardens, bike stands with attached garden stand. housing professionals.

Apparently councils are now forced by law to take care of biodiversity and integrate as much greenery to encourage environmental health as possible.

Yet when I attend planning applications there never is any mention of green energy used for the building, about allowing for green space. All I ever hear at council meetings is that all available brown spaces should be built up.

Yet the council is aware, that around 2070, most of the Isle of Dogs will be flooded by rising seawater levels but still plans a new shopping complex complete with skyscrapers and a new shopping boulevard. No time as the present I suppose, we mustn’t be scaremongers and forward upward is the motto.

I heard some very interesting suggestions like putting plants on flat roofs and sheds, incidentally the Barclay’s Bank skyscraper has a roof garden that is keenly maintained by the employees.

So it is a good idea to allow plants to grow on top of the sheds, I should not have complained about the moss growth on our bike shed then. This new drive for green thinking everywhere clashed with the educated attitude that all shrubs and plants need to be neatly arranged, cut into balls or other shapes with no signs of weeds, when its the weeds that encourage the local wildlife that we so much learned to appreciate.

There is a case for sowing flower seeds instead of having shrubs that require regular pruning, and do nothing for the wildlife, as they are too dense to allow nesting in them and provide a good hiding place for muggers.

A confluence of natural and made environments

I greeted reports with enthusiasm suggesting that short cut grass areas on estates could be left to grow longer and sow flower seeds on them too. People with gardens are asked to provide little ponds.

What upset me the most is that a Peabody representative reported that he had to cut down all trees in a housing estate because residents complained about the birds singing.

I feel more effort is required to green those short-cut-grass areas that are so boring but clean. Children can enjoy play areas with longer grass areas, see nature take its course when plants grow and wave in the wind. Each time the lawn in front of my dwelling grows long and luscious and those daisies grow plentiful the big mower comes and cuts it.

A new fashion is food growing on estate allotments, new trees being fruit bearing instead of just green leaf.

From a general point of view I feel that any population that relies on centralised food production and supply is very weak because should this food supply be destroyed then most people will starve. Therefore I welcome the introduction of localised food growing.

Summer field

It will be educational for people to know how food grows, we were given the example of children who didn’t know that tomatoes grow out of the ground on stalks as they thought they derive from super markets.


Amazon Rainforest

I am glad that the council now by law has to develop a relationship to nature and that building each and every available square inch with housing is damaging for the planet.  I hope I’ll see a change to planning applications soon to include provision for gardening, whether its vertical rooftop or ground, but gardening that is as natural as possible.

Einstein said that once bees go humanity has only got 4 years to live because bees pollinate the plants. We need nature more than it needs us.

The only disappointment during the conference was one person saying that my question about the building up of brown sites seems to be political, whereby I replied, its not political its environmental, it goes across all parties.  I shall keep an eye on planning permissions for houses and ask some questions. Each and every one of you should do the same in their inner city areas.

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