The Crucial Change: Unused Land to Beautiful Parks and Gardens

June 29, 2011
By Marlo Seskin BRONZE, Dobbs Ferry, New York
Marlo Seskin BRONZE, Dobbs Ferry, New York
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"The conservation of natural resources is the fundamental problem. Unless we solve that problem it will avail us little to solve all others." Theodore Roosevelt’s address to the Deep Waterway Convention, Memphis, Tennessee, October 4, 1907 (“Teddy Roosevelt’s conservation”). Mark Covington was one of the few that took these words into his own hands. Instead of sitting around his home after losing his job, he decided to use his time to create the Georgia Street Community Collective. Mark, who lived in a struggling neighborhood, wanted to restore the blocks back to the way they were before. Although many people, who attempted these actions previously, did not believe that Mark was going to go through with it, he proved them wrong. As they realized how he dedicated his time to clean up vacant lots and plant bountiful gardens, more and more people began to join in his great accomplishments and thus taking part in the restoration. His contributions to the neighborhood not only made the community a nicer looking place, but helped the disadvantaged people of Detroit, and the environment as well (“Mark Covington’s Achievements”).

By turning unused land and vacant buildings into recreational parks and gardens, it is visibly evident that the community and environment will reap the benefits. These days everyone needs a little exercise. By creating parks, people will have a chance to utilize an area that may have been a run-down building, but now a place to exercise, play and enjoy. That will give people a chance to have those opportunities that they may not have had before. With new parks and gardens available to the public, no one will have an excuse to stay indoors and watch television. To make it even better, it will make the community not only beautiful, but happy as well. By everyone getting outside and exercising, endorphins will be released throughout their body causing people to have a more positive mood. As we create buildings all across the United Sates, many trees are chopped down. With so many trees cut down each year, this can only lead to devastating effects on our eco-system. Mother Nature and animals all over are paying the price for our construction which is in effect a destruction to the environment as a whole. If we do not put a stop to it now, we can annihilate everything on the planet, with only the humans left to blame for this mass destruction. Through creating parks and gardens, tree by tree and plant by plant, we can help in making our earth a happier and more sustainable environment.

While creating parks and gardens helps the environment, it can help everyone in the community at the same time. Currently, many people are becoming obese. Creating recreational parks helps put an end to this wave of unhealthiness. Almost 34 % of adults are obese—more than double the percentage thirty years ago. The share of obese children tripled during that time, to 17 %. Dr. William H. Dietz, the Director of the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, said, “I don’t think we have in place the kind of policy or environmental changes needed to reverse thisepidemicic just yet” (Belluck A20). The environmental changes he is referring to is the creation of something that ultimately motivates children and adults to become active. Building parks is just the answer and in doing so it can help in the reversal of theepidemicic of obesity. In addition, when people exercise, growth hormones are released and this amplifies the supply of blood and oxygen flowing to the brain, causing the release of positive mood-enhancing endorphins (Bailey). Exercise can only lead to good things, but if there is not an opportunity to take advantage of it, one can only conclude this is not fair.

Health experts realized that heavy children who are exposed to environments of unhealthy foods and inactivity are moving into the top weight categories because their situation has not improved (Belluck A20). If parks are built in places where once there was none seen for miles, this would give children and even adults the opportunity to start a healthy life. Also, constructing vegetable gardens will help teach kids the importance of healthy eating habits; which in turns leads to a healthy lifestyle. People might say that the land should be used for commercial uses instead. However, if parks and gardens can benefit mankind and the environment at the same time, then they can bring out the lands’ full potential rather than a gym or a restaurant in its place. Although it costs between $15,000 and $20,000 to demolish a building and clear the space, the sacrifices are necessary in order to make a change in our world lifestyle (Weintraub). Overall, the question to ask is, which one is more worthwhile, the precious future of our generation, or a vacant building?

Even though having all of these buildings around us is great, they are not so great for the environment. With more than 50 % of our tree cover disappearing due to human activity, we have to start conserving land and trees, or else we are going to change our world forever, and not in the good way (Putatunda). As we chop trees down, we are destroying our earth’s natural processes. By removing trees from forests, it disrupts the process where they block the sun’s rays during the day and hold in heat at night, which causes more extreme temperatures swings that can be detrimental to plants and animals. Also, they play a crucial part in absorbing the greenhouse gases that fuel global warming. With fewer trees, that can only mean larger amounts of greenhouses gases being emitted into earth’s atmosphere, which speeds up the process of global warming (“Deforestation”). If parks and gardens are created on empty pieces of land rather than buildings, they can start to correct what we have done, and put it in reverse so that we do not ruin the future of our planet.

Since trees are disappearing at these fast paces, many animals are starting to feel the effects of it. The extinction rate of today may be 1,000 to 10,000 times the biological normal of 1-10 species extinctions per year (Butler). When trees are cut down to meet our needs, this takes away from the animals needs. Animals that live in the forest are deprived of the space, forest fruits, tree holes and other resources they need to have in order to even exist because of humans. As an example, deforestation is a leading cause as to why almost a third of parrot species worldwide are endangered (Spilsbury). Without trees, it is not likely that animals will have any chance of surviving. We are taking away their homes, but the only difference between us and the animals is that they don’t have the voice and the power to make us stop this crisis. We need to speak up for the absence of the animals’ voices, because if we don’t stop this madness of mass extinction now, there is no telling which animals are going to be left for the future generations to see.

Our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, understood the importance of conserving our land, because it can affect the future in so many detrimental ways. His conservation act helped in setting aside 230,000,000 acres of land used for national parks in order to protect the wilderness (“Teddy Roosevelt’s Conservation”). If unused land or vacant buildings is not used for parks and gardens, we are not only hurting ourselves, but the animals and the environment around us. This is the key to unlocking and reversing theepidemicic of obesity and stopping the extermination of animal species and the environment, but if we do not follow through with it, these life-changing issues will never be able to be resolved.

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