New Leaf New York: From Pharma to Farm


Biophilia
July 29, 2008, 2:29 pm
Filed under: Metrocropolis | Tags: , , ,

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)’s Rachel Sohmer discusses the idea of biophilia — a concept that E.O. Wilson has described as humans’ intrinsic emotional desire to connect with nature.  Living in New York, a city of stone and steel, it’s sometimes easy to forget that nature is still easily accessible and, in fact, extremely important to our well-being. Sometimes you’re on edge, stressed out, or simply feeling “off” without knowing exactly why; I think it has something to do with not getting your recommended daily dose of trees, grass and little birdies chirping.

Biophilia ensures that our day is brightened by even the modest potted plant on our windowsill. Biophilia is why we’re relieved to escape to Bryant Park or Madison Square Park on our lunch breaks, if only for ten or fifteen measly minutes, to catch a break from our flickering plastic-and-silicon work stations.  Biophilia is (well, among other things) what keeps the Hampton Jitney in business, summer after summer.

In fact, I bet biophilia is even one reason why some people eventually leave the city for parts upstate.  But I think it’s possible to fulfill your innate need for that green connection if you stay right here.

Sohmer also mentions Via Verde, a “biophilic” project going up in the South Bronx (which really seems to have its finger on the pulse in terms of local food, urban agriculture and sustainability) that will be mixed-use and include affordable housing units and a green roof.

Building yourself a green roof is great, but there are some big “ifs” — if you own a building or part of a building with a roof, if you’re allowed to mess with things up there, and if you have the money and resources to outfit the roof with all the things needed for a sustainable, green plot.  And if I could do that, I certainly would.

Until then, I’ve got the surprisingly spacious Fort Greene Park just a hop, skip and jump away, and there’s always my personal favorite city/nature mashup, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Biophilia: greening our cities (literally!) [NRDC Switchboard]

Scientist at Work: E.O. Wilson: Taking a Cue From Ants on Evolution of Humans [New York Times]

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I live in a not-so-nice area of town, but one of the reasons I’m reluctant to move is that my apartment is surrounded by gorgeous ancient hickory trees that outdate the buildings. Which is a real luxury in my neck of the woods, where suburban sprawl means razing the old live oaks to make room for 2-month old cabbage palms.

Comment by notaclevername




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