Preserving Green Spaces in Your Town

One of the things I love the most about where I live is all the trees. We have lots of wooded trails and natural areas. It feels peaceful, natural, and spread out. I hope you have places like this where you live, too. And if you do, you may have to fight to protect them.

Green spaces are usually the first thing to go when an area needs to add anything. It can be anything: a new medical facility, a new commercial or industrial zone, more houses. Roads can also eat away at the natural areas of a city or town. And who wants to protest a new hospital?

If the place where you live needs to expand, where else can they build? There will typically be a town hall or a vote regarding these issues, so you can attend and make your voice heard. Watch the news or read your local paper to find out when these events will be happening. Here are some tips:

First of all, remember this: there are going to be times where new facilities aren’t needed. There are old areas that could be revamped, sometimes for cheaper than new construction. Sometimes old vacant buildings can be demolished.Then the new space won’t take up anything different than was already there. Get to know your area and see if what they are proposing is actually necessary. The town might not need another office park when two have lots of vacancies. Your city or town may want to lure new businesses in with the idea of a shiny new facility but environmentally it may not be best practice.

Secondly, sometimes things will have to be built and they will only be able to take up residence where a green space was. It happens. Towns get bigger and residents’ needs will change. However, you can petition that a portion of the land be a park or mixed-use area that includes trees, a nature trail, or recreational fields. This way, you are acknowledging that progress is necessary but so are green spaces.

Third, let your voice be heard! Get the word out if you know of a green space where you live is being threatened. Let other people in your town know what is going on. Get them involved, too. If New York City could set aside all that land for Central Park, you may be able to preserve the natural areas most important to where you live, too. Work with sympathetic lawmakers to create legislation to keep your town green. And if they won’t cooperate with you, find someone who does and campaign to get them elected the next time the position is open.

Get involved in keeping your neighborhood green and natural. Your neighbors, your children, the animals who call those places home—they’ll all be grateful to you.