Stockholm’s Mayor is a True Leader for the People

GR:  Reduced air pollution, less noise, increased health, clear skies, and more jobs. All cities could follow Karin. Is there any movement stirring in your city? Read the interview and get ideas for your home town. Oh, for another benefit, there’s saving the planet and all its wonderful plants and animals from the greed of oily politicians and their owners.

“Karin Wanngård, the mayor of Stockholm, rides an electric bike to work each morning — at least when it is not snowing too heavily.

“She also wears second-hand clothing — a trendy move in Stockholm, she says — and eats less meat than she used to. It is all part of her contribution to meeting an ambitious goal she set for her city: eliminating all use of coal, oil and other fossil fuels by 2040.

Karin Wanngård, the mayor of Stockholm, with a bicycle she rides to work most mornings. Credit: Liselotte van der Meijs/REUTERS

“Leadership is really important when you want to make things happen,” said the 41-year-old, who has run Sweden’s capital city since 2014. “You can always have politicians making nice speeches but when it comes to action you need to have leadership.”

“Around the world, cities are increasingly at the forefront of action to curb climate change. Some, like Stockholm, have set ambitious emissions reduction goals, while others have pushed ahead with climate policies despite national policy reversals, such as under President Donald Trump in the United States.

“Increasingly, many of the cities leading on climate change — Paris, Washington, Sydney, Cape Town — are run by women.

Stockholm, Sweden. Credit: vapi photographie/flickr

“In two years, the number of women leading large cities that are at the forefront of climate action has risen from four to 16, according to the C40 Cities network of more than 80 cities committed to addressing climate change, which is organising a conference for women leaders in New York this month.” Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation (Continue reading:  Stockholm’s Mayor is Taking on Climate Change | Climate Central).

Stockholm, Sweden waterfront. Credit: Jordi Escuer/flickr

Urban population growth and demand for food could spark global unrest, study shows

A population explosion in urban center around the world is expected to fuel an unprecedented demand for food that – if not met — could trigger economic. . . . (From:

GR:  Joe Bish of the Population Media Center commented on the LA Times article:
“The following article was published by the L.A. Times late last week, and reports out on a new report titled “Growing Food for Growing Cities: Transforming Food Systems in an Urbanizing World.” This lengthy study was issued by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and weighs in at around 100 pages. The report continually cites population growth as a major factor in pressuring food supply chains. For example: “Explosive population growth, both rural and urban, will require 50 to 60 percent increases in global food production by 2050 in order to meet projected demand,” says the introduction. Overall, the word population is mentioned 67 times. Unsurprisingly, but nonetheless regrettably, the report fails to offer a shred of advice to policy makers regarding family planning information and services or universal, unrestricted access to modern contraception. The report’s priority recommendation is for the US government to “Pass legislation committing the United States to a long-term global food and nutrition security strategy.” This would have been a perfect spot to share and emphasize best-practice interventions on family planning. The key question about the failure to do so may be whether it was a failure of the report’s author — or the failure of population advocates and communicators to effectively and widely engage professional experts outside our silo?”

Urban Nature: How to Foster Biodiversity in World’s Cities

by Richard Conniff: Yale Environment 360. As the world becomes more urbanized, researchers and city managers from Baltimore to Britain are recognizing the importance of providing urban habitat that can support biodiversity. It just may be the start of an urban wildlife movement. Source:

What’s a “biophilic city”? Let Timothy Beatley explain | Citiscope

By Christopher Swope, Cityscope:  “This week’s Citiscope innovation feature story looks at the ways Singapore fosters connections to nature in a dense urban environment. This is a subject Timothy Beatley knows a lot about. Beatley is the founder of the Biophilic Cities Network, a global group of cities that each in its own way is working at making nature a bigger part of the urban experience.

“Beatley is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. He’s also written or co-authored more than 15 books on cities and sustainability including Biophilic Cities. His most recent book came out last July. It’s called Blue Urbanism, and it explores the connections between cities and the sea.”


How Singapore makes biodiversity an important part of urban life | Citiscope

Inside a city that works hard at keeping the jungle in “urban jungle.”

by  Grace Chua:  Cityscope

“SINGAPORE — When it comes to discovering plant and animal species, this densely packed  metropolis of more than 5 million people is full of surprises.

“A year ago, a slender woody tree known as Alangium ridleyi, which was believed to have been lost to development, was discovered hiding in plain sight in the middle of Singapore’s heavily visited Botanic Gardens. (A dry spell triggered the tree to put out its small and delicate yellow flowers.)

“Then in May, researchers found a species of shrub brand-new to science called Hanguana neglecta, a shin-high spray of blade-like leaves. It was spotted right beside a footpath in a nature reserve.”  Source:

Singapore’s commitment to biodiversity is outstanding.


Is there an optimal urbanization strategy?

Urban Sprawl in Mexico City

Urban Sprawl in Mexico City

GR: Those 1960’s suggestions that we cluster humans in tall buildings have never been truly encouraged.  In many places, urban growth has not been planned.  But even where it is, the land is not safe.  U. S. residential developers favor the cheapest and quickest method for building houses.  They preserve bits of nature only when forced. Thus, construction, the most nature-destructive human activity of all continues without improvement.

University of Washington Conservation Magazine:  With more than half the world now living in urban areas, and that percentage growing steadily, that means the concrete and steel will have to stretch out into areas that are currently forest and farm and grass.

A study published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning simulated the urbanization process in the Piedmont region of North Carolina out to 2032. The question the authors posed was, essentially, what land will suffer in favor of the ever-growing city?

Under a “status quo” scenario where no new land use policies are implemented, developed area would increase by 229 percent from 1996 through 2032. Such a growth in city area would mean a 21 percent loss of farmland and a 14 percent loss of forest. They did find that with other policies that prioritize certain types of land and resources above others, “priority resources” could be spared while still allowing for the growth of urban areas likely to be needed” (read more.)