A few days ago, while visiting relatives, you observed in amazement how vegetables like tomatoes, courgettis, cucumbers, beans … grew on their terrace, instead vow flowers!
You liked it very much and you started with your ‘why’ … carefully observing all these ‘news!’ not in your plate to be eaten but growing on a plant!
And perhaps, something you had seen in the countryside but here, on a roof terrace, rather than flowers, it was weird!
I started answering your questions talking about biodiversity, ecosystems, resilience , sustainability and new ‘why’ have arrived !
Perfectly right little one!
And so, before telling you one of our stories, about vegetables gardens in the cities, today I want to give you a small glossary.
And what is a glossary?
It is a collection of less common words as they are limited to a specific discipline. Each word is accompanied by an explanation of the meaning or other observations.
I have chosen 8 of them that you hear and you will hear when we talk about nature, about nutrition, about solutions to find for the future of the world, about climate changes.
Here is my ‘glossary’ for you:
All living beings that are in an ecosystem. Bio diversity keeps the terrestrial environment in balance, so it is essential to preserve it. It means, for example, that, on earth, there must be room for everyone: plants, animals, human beings.. they must live in harmony. No one must exploit the other or destroy it. The bio diversity means the variety of living organisms in their different forms.
There are many ecosystems: sea, mountain, countryside, forests….it is the set of living organisms in a specific area that interact in a given environment forming a self-sufficient system in dynamic equilibrium also with the sun, the soil, the atmosphere. So, a urban ecosystem is any environmental system found in a city or densely populated area, meaning cities and surrounding where many people live in an ‘artificial land’ (houses, roads, factories…. ).
URBAN HEAT ISLAND:
You too will have observed that when we go to the countryside, for example at the uncle’s house, it is often a bit colder than at home, and your mom makes you wear a sweatshirt.
So, the ‘urban heat island’ is an urban area warmer than the surrounding countryside areas, due to human actions for example cars, motorbikes and pavement like streets and roads that absorb and retain heat.
It is the ability to respond to a stressful situation, resisting damage and recovering quickly. For this, man must take prompt measures and otherwise some ecosystems will disappear. For example, if you cut too many trees in the forest, the ground collapse, many animals no longer know where to go.
It should be the conditions where the whole population has enough nutritious foods, at affordable prices, to eat. So even a vegetable garden on the terrace can be a little help for a family.
It is a process that occurs when the ground is covered with waterproof material such as asphalt and concrete (streets, buildings, roads … ).
Are you seeing much grass around in Kathmandu?
‘Soil sealing’ is one of the main causes of soil degradation. New material should be searched and used for new housing, business locations, and road infrastructures… for social and economic activities of the population because the effects of ‘soil sealing’ are increasing energy costs, heat related illness, air pollution, risk of flooding, contribute to global warming.
And it is difficult to give up certain habits.
It is the characteristic of human activities that do not compromise the environment; for example, we must not use a lot of plastic unnecessarily! They are sustainable those activities which guarantee human beings to satisfy their needs without damaging our planet…. leading to the deforestation , climate warming, desertification ….
Sustainability is respecting the earth, not exploiting it without control.
It seems a ridiculous and impossible thing!
‘Have you imagined salad growing on a wall?’, asked the father.
And the child laughing: ‘NOOOOOO’ ah ah !!
Instead in recent years, they have invented structures in which plants are grown on multiple levels, even on the facades of houses !
‘You take out your hand out of the window and pick a cucumber !’
Here are some of the words you hear and will hear often now.
I hope some things are a little clearer for you .. (and perhaps for some adults too!)
And now, you understand why the aunt’s garden is a very beautiful idea.
‘Yes’, said the child, ‘a little difficult for me this glossary but very useful, dad. And now I’m waiting for one of your stories.’
‘Sure’, answered the dad, ‘it will come! Meanwhile, keep this glossary in mind !’
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