'Sinking' London and other global cities are faced with the threat of flooding

‘Sinking’ London and other global cities are faced with the threat of flooding

As global pollution and environmental problems continue to worsen, alarming events are beginning to unfold. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has recently pointed out that a significant number of global cities are faced with the threat of flooding. And, with sea levels continuing to rise, cities like London, Shanghai, Houston and Jakarta, are becoming more and more exposed to environmental hazards, storms and floods. A charity report by Christian Aid points a finger at city planning, saying that some places, like Shanghai, are being brought down by the sheer weight of their massive building projects, and with the impact of the global climate change in mind, this isn’t doing anyone any favours.

The current situation, of course, should not be assumed to be the result of a single oversight, but rather a symptom of thousands upon thousands of smaller issues, which have previously gone unnoticed.

From Bangkok’s skyscrapers through to Houston’s obsessive oil drilling operations, to Jakarta’s groundwater extraction extravaganza, we’re looking at a variety of problems which could’ve been avoided, had the population been better informed and more responsible. And while these problems are mostly affecting the biggest cities around the globe, if we refuse to take responsibility for the situation, if we fail to adopt a firmer eco-friendly stance, we are the ones to blame here. A corporation, or a government, can only work towards a given project if there are people who want to see the project done and if they’ve got support for it. Sure, for now, we’ve got the option of simply moving away from these “problematic” areas and going on with our lives, pretending that it’s no longer our responsibility, saying that we are not contributing to the problem. But, if left unchecked, the situation will only continue to worsen.

At the end of the day, we only have one planet to call our home. And, should things go completely wrong in the future, we can’t just “move planet” like we can flee from a polluted city or country. We’ll have nowhere else to go, and even worse – our children will have nowhere else to go. It is up to each and every single one of us to take a stance on the matter and work towards a brighter future. Only together can we really hope to make a difference!

Our beloved London is also under threat, but mostly for geological reasons. Scientists say that “Scotland is slowly rebounding after having been weighed down by glaciers during the last ice age”, which results in southern England getting pushed downwards, in a see-saw effect, placing it under threat of flooding. And as our capital is becoming a prime target for Mother Nature’s fury, we’ve got nothing left to do but act. We’ve all got a choice to make – we either start changing our ways for the better, or we idly sit by and hopelessly observe the unfolding of these events. I, for one, have made my choice on the matter long ago, and hopefully, my content can help you choose the right thing as well.

What you can do right now

Throughout my blog and YouTube channel, you can find a wealth of information about living life in an eco-friendly manner, about taking care of yourself and your family and about minimising the negative impacts that you can have on the environment. If you haven’t already, I’d like to urge you to begin gradually implementing some of my tips into your daily routine, bit by bit. But go at it slowly and steadily. The situation is getting scarier by the day, but this is a marathon, not a race. There’s no need to push and overexert yourself beyond the limits of reason. If you want to truly make an impact, you need to be calm, composed, and confident. The only way to produce real results is by convincing the population at large to adopt a better, eco-minded approach. And the best way to achieve that is to lead by example. Make your own life – a model for others to follow. Show those around you what a safe, happy and productive member of society you are. Demonstrate with your actions, behaviour and knowledge, that eco-friendly living isn’t a “fad”, “trend” or “cult”. Eco-living is nowhere as restricting, pale or boring as a lot of the widely pushed campaigns make it out to be. Don’t be the annoying know-it-all, who shoves a list of 100 “don’t” commandments in the faces of your friends and family but, be patient, calm and understanding. There are countless ways to contribute to improving our situation, and you can play a variety of roles in it.

I recently had a discussion with a good friend of mine on the subject, and her work is the perfect example of the above. She’s a fellow eco-minded enthusiast, who has taken up the mission of saving and preserving Firs Farm – one of London’s natural parks.

Before she began her work in 2013, the Firs Farm Wetlands was a simple public space which didn’t’ see much use (or appreciation for that matter). The park was used as a Saturday football playfield and not much else. All of this changed when Enfield council ran a flood investigation on the area, discovering the Moore Brook – the forgotten river which runs underneath the park. A team was quickly assembled, volunteers stepped forward, and the work on restoring the park began. The group, known as the Friends of Firs Farm, worked on removing the litter, planning and building woodland paths, vegetation replanting and tree adoption. Today, the park stands as a commemoration of their selfless efforts and a testament to the determination of Londoners.

The Friends of First Farm group was started in 2013, by my friend – Toni Guiver with the support of Gail Nielen and Geraldine Cosh. In record time, they managed to locate and inspire a large number of members of the local community. After posting over 1200 letters, they set about working with the council, drawing in more and more support, until finally getting recognised by the local authority as a formal Friends group in 2014.

Thanks to their efforts, the Firs Farm Wetlands went from an unused public space to a combined wetland and storage area, doubling up as a gorgeous natural park. Now storing up to 30 000 m3 of flood water, the park is safeguarding over 100 properties, along with the A10 Great Cambridge road against flooding.

Today, Firs Farms hosts a number of festivals and events during the warmer seasons, attractive to visitors of all ages. With its cycleway, outdoor classrooms, dipping platform, stepping stones, open bird hides, boardwalks and multitude of intertwining footpaths, the park is now one of the locals’ most prized treasures. The work on the project, however, is far from over. There’s always more improvements to be made, pollution to be removed and awareness to be raised!

For more information on Toni and her group, the park, or their project as a whole, you can visit their website – http://www.firsfarmn21.org

If you live in North London, or if you ever find yourself in the area, I’d urge you to pay Firs Farms a visit, along with your family. You’re guaranteed to have a blast!

The natural impact

The restoration of Firs Farms and its local pond has had a significant impact on the surface water flooding and has helped in diffusing a large portion of the surrounding urban pollution. And even though her effort is merely helping us stave off the global problems that we’re all faced with, she has more than done her part in protecting our world. If we are to avert the dangers of global pollution and climate changes, we should all strive to restore and preserve the natural areas that urbanisation is yet to overtake.

For how long have you been interested in environmental issues and green living? Have you taken part in any eco-minded initiatives yet? What do you think we, as citizens of London, can do to best protect our city? Give me your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!

And, as always – if you’ve got any questions that you’d like to ask me personally, don’t hesitate to drop me an e-mail!

Till next time stay green and clean!

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