MR: global urbanisation good for some but bad for nature
A UN Report[i] to be issued tomorrow (July 10), the day before World Population Day, will note that by 2050 about two-thirds of all humans will live in urban areas. Most of the anticipated urban growth by 2050 will occur in Asia and Africa. Already, more than half the global population lives in cities.
As the world becomes increasingly urbanised, many people may be economically better off as cities offer a range of services such as health care, education, electricity, public transport and sanitation not always available in rural areas. Nevertheless, as city-dwellers become increasingly removed from nature, they may be less inclined to preserve it, according to Sustainable Population Australia (SPA).
Three years ago, naturalist Sir David Attenborough expressed such a concern, saying urbanised people were growing out of touch with the natural world “of which we are, in fact, a part.”
SPA national president, Jenny Goldie, says it’s not just alienation from nature that is the problem; urban expansion encroaches on other species habitats causing their fragmentation, degradation or even total loss.
The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage (DEH) claims that the biggest threat to koalas is habitat loss[ii]. According to the DEH, much of the koala’s habitat in Queensland overlaps with areas where significant clearing has occurred, and continues to occur, for urban, industrial and rural development.
The DEH also notes that ‘in South East Queensland, the human population is increasing by more than 1000 people a week. This rapid population growth and increased need for houses is placing considerable pressure on the limited remaining koala habitat’.
“It’s not just koalas affected by human population growth, we are seeing the normal range of the Southern Cassowary between Cooktown and Townsville severely impacted by urban development in the coastal lowlands and Atherton Tablelands,” says Ms Goldie.
“Conservation efforts should protect habitats of endangered species, but many countries in Africa and Asia where the greatest population and urban growth will occur, are too poor to protect such areas.
Further information: Jenny Goldie 0401 921 453
[i] The 2014 revision of World Urbanization Prospects[ii] https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/koalas/koala-threats.html